Pellet Grills vs. Kamado Joe Ceramic: Which Is Better?


Outdoor cooking is more than a tradition for many families. It is a way of life that goes beyond the beautiful evenings that summer offers.

You’ll find grills in use throughout the year when the weather cooperates or high-quality equipment is available to use.

Pellet and ceramic grills are two of the most popular year-round options for grilling enthusiasts. Both options provide temperatures that reach 600°F or more, delivering high-temperature benefits while offering a low and slow opportunity.

Kamado Joe offers the Pellet Joe®, which is a combination ceramic and pellet grill. This review does not include this hybrid product.

What Are the Benefits of Ceramic Grills?

If you love cooking on a grill, you’re probably using one made of metal right now. Although these options are affordable, durable, and flexible, you’ll find that a Kamado Joe ceramic design delivers several benefits to consider.

Ceramic Grill BenefitsWhat You Receive with This Ceramic Grill Benefit
Moisture RetentionA grill requires airflow mastery to burn the fuel that produces heat and smoke. A ceramic design doesn’t need as much, ensuring that the food cooks evenly while reducing moisture loss throughout the entire process. Your items stay moist while retaining their natural flavors.
More EfficientMetal loses heat through radiation, which means even the best smokers aren’t as efficient as a ceramic grill. You’ll find that a Kamado Joe has thicker walls that maintain your temperature profile well, allowing you to cook without using as much energy.
Less MaintenanceCeramic grills are quick to clean. When you have metal components to manage, you must be careful to avoid burning yourself while maintaining the unit. Less grease needs to be removed, and the lump charcoal produces fewer ash piles to remove.
Less Exterior HeatCeramic absorbs heat well, ensuring the grill’s exterior remains cool even while you’re making something. You won’t need to worry about accidentally touching the lid or walls while working since the temperatures won’t cause a burn.
Less WasteCharcoal keeps burning in metal grills. Pellets have less waste since you can stop the hopper from feeding the firebox. With a Kamado Joe, all you need to do is close the draft doors at the top and bottom to control the combustion process. The remaining product is reusable.

Although a Kamado Joe provides numerous benefits, the cost profile of this grill type must be considered. It is more expensive than a standard metal charcoal design, but it is cost-competitive with today’s best pellet grills.

What Are the Benefits of Pellet Grills?

If you like the idea of adding smoky flavors to your food, a pellet grill is the solution you need. You can add different wood types to the pellet box or mix them to create unique combinations. That work loses some of the food’s natural flavor, but you receive enhancements that a Kamado Joe struggles to offer.

Here are some of the other benefits to consider when looking at a pellet grill over a ceramic style.

Pellet Grill BenefitsWhat You Receive with This Pellet Grill Benefit
Incredible FlavorsPellet grills deliver numerous options to enhance your favorite foods, ranging from cherry to mesquite to hickory. You can even mix them to try different combinations, such as applewood and cedar.
Even HeatingAlthough portable pellet grills can sometimes struggle with creating an even heating surface, the larger models are impressively consistent. You’ll get the temperatures you want with the added smoke benefit.
Less FlaringCharcoal, even in a ceramic grill, can generate flaring when the material has an unexpected air pocket. Pellets use compressed wood to create an even burning experience that lowers the risk of having flames developed where they’re unwanted.
Simple to UseA pellet grill is one of the easiest designs to use today. You can pre-program some models to complete an entire 14-hour smoking cycle by itself. When the grill runs out of fuel, it sends a signal to the hopper to give it some more.
Wide Temperature RangeIf you want to smoke your food for six hours and then finish it off at a high temperature, a pellet grill lets you do that. All you need to do is change a few settings. You can make similar thermostat adjustments with a Kamado Joe, but you won’t get as many flavor enhancements.

When comparing a pellet grill to a Kamado Joe, the primary difference is in the cooking style. Do you want something fast and efficient, or prefer a design that encourages more experimentation while using traditional techniques?

Once you answer that question, you’ll know whether a pellet grill or a ceramic Kamado Joe is the best solution for your current and future needs.


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