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Kamado Grills vs Charcoal Grills

Kamado grills are often referred to as “ceramic grills or ceramic smokers”. Learn the benefits of a kamado and how they compare to conventional charcoal grills.

Kamado Grills
Charcoal Grills
Taste Ceramic grills give a true charcoal flavor by using natural lump charcoal that is made from charred hardwoods like oak, hickory and maple. Excellent for grilling and especially for smoking meats. Charcoal grills add a charcoal smoked flavor to the grilled food and even more so if used in a smoker. Briquettes contain additives like borax, starch, and sawdust from waste lumber. "Ready to Light" briquettes can leave an after taste to food.
Ease of Use Ceramic grills are less convenient than gas grills and the desired temperature is achieved by adjusting the air flow. Includes an easy-to-read thermometer. Charcoal grills are less convenient than gas and requires a little guesswork to achieve the desired temperature.
Start Up Time 15 minutes and you’re ready to cook 20 – 30 minute start up time required
Temperature Range Consistent temperatures as low as 225°F and as high as 750°+ F can be achieved easily. Low temperatures can be retained for 12 hours or longer for smoking. Low temperatures can be achieved. Depending on the amount of briquette charcoal, you can achieve temperatures near 700°F. Average high temperatures hover around 500°F for most models.
Heat Sources Natural Lump Charcoal Briquette Charcoal
Fuel Cost $1.50 – $1.75 per use depending on the brand. $3.00 – $3.50 per use depending on the brand.
Assembly 15-30 minute assembly time. 15-30 minute assembly time.
Maintenance Annually check the tightness of the band screws that hold the base and lid and connect to the hinge. Replace felt gaskets as needed; generally every 2-3 years. Charcoal grills are typically a very simple design, so there is not a lot to maintain other than replacing the cooking grate if it begins to chip or rust.
Cleaning Natural lump charcoal produces one-third the ash of traditional briquettes, however an ash tool is usually provided to easily remove it. Brush or scrape the cooking grate before cooking. Briquette charcoal produces a lot of ash residue. If you grill often, consider a model with an ash catcher can. Brush or scrape the cooking grate before cooking and occasionally clean the outside.
Space Kamado grills work well in a limited outdoor space. They can also be inserted in a grill table for an additional working surface and storage. A small area is needed and they are a good choice for limited outdoor space like an apartment balcony. Check your rental agreement for restrictions.
Price Ranges Kamado grills range in price from $600 – $1,000. If you add a grill table plan to spend $250 – $750 more. Tailgating style grills can cost as low as $29.00. Standard models will run $75 – $150 and up to $4000 for deluxe models.
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