The Skinny:
  • Extra-thick ceramic efficiently absorbs and radiates heat for any type of cooking
  • 304-grade stainless steel components provide the best in outdoor longevity
  • Loaded with premium features for convenience and ease of use
  • More grilling space than other kamados of similar size or price
  • Stainless steel latch and felt gasket ensure heat and smoke stay inside the grill

Simply put, the BBQGuys Kamado offers more — more premium features, more room to grill, and certainly more bang for your buck.

BBQGuys set out to make the best kamado under $1,000, which was no easy undertaking considering the competition. But after years of testing and refining (no, seriously; we sent the first shipment back because it didn’t meet our standards), we’re confident our homegrown kamado grill is worthy of that title. Extra-thick ceramic construction was non-negotiable; using commercial-grade stainless steel in the components put us over the top. Sealing heat and smoke inside the grill is another top priority in this product category, so we adjusted the gasket and latch until the lid was as tight as possible. And if there was any doubt left, we piled on every premium feature a kamado this size can carry.

Now, just because we designed this kamado doesn’t mean it’s free from the same scrutiny we apply to every product. Our experts of 20-plus years put the BBQGuys 21-inch kamado through several rounds of rigorous testing to measure its quality, performance, and features. We compiled their findings below to show you why the BBQGuys Kamado is not only a great Big Green Egg alternative, but also the best kamado for the money hands-down.

Quality:

Extra-thick ceramic and commercial-grade stainless steel combine to create a kamado as trustworthy as its warranty.

Having been in the outdoor living business since 1998, we understand the value of a long-lasting grill. That’s why we built this kamado from supremely durable materials proven to thrive in the elements. The ceramic grill body itself is 1¼ inches thick, resulting in better heat and moisture retention than the 1-inch thick ceramic many manufacturers use. We chose 304-grade stainless steel, the gold standard for longevity in the outdoors, for virtually every other component: the 6mm grill grates, grate hinge, latch, vent, vent cap, and cart. That leaves only the charcoal grate, which we made from durable cast iron to withstand the high heat of direct contact with the coals, and the weather-resistant bamboo side shelves that nicely complement the black ceramic.

Even after selecting the best materials, we wanted to be sure the BBQGuys Kamado could stand up to the most extreme stress tests. So, we brought the kamado to searing temperatures and gave it a few good whacks with a hammer. The only damage we detected was a small piece of paint and ceramic, perhaps 1 inch in diameter, that chipped off about 1/16 of an inch deep into the grill body. That reinforced our supreme confidence in its thickness and durability — so much so that we offer a lifetime warranty on both the ceramic and stainless steel components. The cast iron, meanwhile, is warranted for 5 years, while the thermometer and wooden shelves carry 1 year of coverage.

Oh, and that spiral pattern in the ceramic? It just looks cool. We understand the value of that, too.

Performance:

With a nearly airtight seal and easy-to-control vents, you can dial in precise temperatures over a generous amount of cooking space.

Once again, we tested our design under the most extreme conditions; in this case, that meant filling the grill with charcoal through the top vent and letting the fire roll. Our original model didn’t hold up well: the gasket glue couldn’t handle the scorching heat, and the gasket ultimately detached. We responded by upgrading to the sturdy felt gasket with heat-proof glue, which fared much better when tested in the same way. Not only did the gasket remain intact, but it also permitted minimal smoke to escape. In short, the seal is as close to airtight as we could get it without defying physics.

In terms of actually dialing in specific temperatures, the markings on the top and bottom vents removed most of the guesswork on our end (as expected). Heat levels remained consistent across all 346 square inches of grilling space, which is an area roughly 30% larger than what most other kamados in this price range offer. That’s enough room for 15 burgers at once, all bathed in exactly the right amount of heat.

Features:

We couldn’t find a kamado decked out with premium features for less than $1,000, so we made one ourselves.

While we take great pride in crafting a durable kamado that cooks with the best of them, we know that’s not worth all that much unless it’s easy and fun to use. That led us to go heavy on quality-of-life features to bring you a seamless grilling experience. Let’s start with the spring-assisted hood — we couldn’t figure out a way to make ceramic lighter, so we figured we’d give you a hand when lifting the lid. Similarly, the stainless steel lid latch is outfitted with a spring-loaded release for easy opening, while the grill grate is hinged for quick access to the coal bed.

We designed the ventilation system to be just as convenient, with pre-marked airflow settings on both the top and bottom sliding vents. The top portion includes a cap that prevents rain from trickling into the grill should a storm catch you by surprise, plus 2 tabs for simpler adjustment of the vent itself. The bottom vent, meanwhile, features a secondary slider with wider openings to speed along ash cleanup. No matter where the vents are set, you can track temperatures from the built-in, bezeled thermometer readily visible on the lid. And we’d be remiss if we didn’t mention the side shelves: they offer extra prep space beside the grill, come with tool hooks so you don’t have to dig through drawers, and can be tucked away if you’re grilling in a tight space.

Then there’s the cart itself, which is exceedingly durable thanks to its 304-grade stainless steel construction. The 4 support arms are felt-lined to be soft on the grill while still firmly holding it in place, and 2 of the 4 swivel casters have built-in locks to secure the kamado once you’ve moved it to the desired location. (Wherever that may be, a BBQGuys Series grill mat can protect the surface from oil and embers.) Cart assembly is quick and easy — the only tool you need is a screwdriver, which we included along with a kamado grill cover, ash scraper, and grate lifter. It’s all part of our promise to give you more for your money.