Kamado Grills have become one of the most popular types of grills on the market due to their immense versatility and ability to produce great-tasting barbecue food using various cooking methods.
If you’re considering investing in a Kamado Grill yourself, you need to understand a bit more about how exactly these ovoid grills work and how to get the most out of one. For grilling beginners, a Kamado grill can be an intimidating grill to start with; however, with a little knowledge about how they operate and the best model to choose, you’ll soon learn the best way to smoke, grill, bake, and roast.
What is a Kamado Grill?
The Kamado is a unique ovoid design with thick ceramic walls. Its name comes from the Japanese word to describe a traditional charcoal or wood-fired grilling appliance.
The thick walls of a Kamado allow for excellent insulation, which means the grill not only stays hot for hours on end but also burns less fuel than other types of grill. It also takes a very short time to heat up. The Kamado has become renowned for its versatility and ability to cook using several different methods: grilling, smoking, baking, and roasting – you name it, the Kamado can do it all.
Which Type of Kamado Should I Buy?
There are a number of Kamado grills on the market today; not all Kamados are the same, however. When purchasing a Kamado, you should be aware of its construction and ensure you buy one that uses only high-quality materials.
Whether you choose one with other added features such as a wooden grill table is up to your personal preference. When purchasing a Kamado, some things you want to look out for are quality ceramics, including a segmented firebox if possible, variable height set up, and heat deflector stones. These are what allow for Kamado’s signature two zone cooking.
Fire Up the Grill: Some Things to Consider
First off, consider the type of charcoal you are using. To ensure you have the most authentic barbecue flavor for your food, it is recommended that you use only hardwood virgin lump charcoal. Any other type of charcoal may taint your food flavor due to some of the common additives, so it is unsuitable for use with your Kamado. Additionally, charcoal briquettes can also produce a large amount of ash which hinders the crucial airflow through the Kamado.
Some Kamados come complete with a charcoal basket; others do not. If yours does, you should make use of it as it does have a number of benefits. Firstly, a charcoal basket serves to divide and create two separate cooking zones giving your cooking a greater versatility. Secondly, it promotes better airflow through the Kamado by separating the charcoal from the sides of the firebox.
When it comes to lighting methods, it is recommended that you use a firelighter that is not petroleum-based. This is because this will negatively affect the final flavor of your food. To light up, simply place your firelighter in between your charcoals, light it, and leave the vent and Kamado lid open. Once the firelighter has extinguished, close the lid of your Kamado and open the dual disc cap to ensure maximum airflow. From here, keep a close eye on the temperature gauge until it reaches the right temperature to start cooking. An alternative to firelighters, if you prefer, is an electric firestarter.
Now that you’re all lit up, you’ll want to monitor that temperature gauge closely. Here are some things to consider when controlling the temperature of your Kamado for optimum cooking.
With both vents of your Kamado grill open, you are heating at a rapid rate. Once you have reached the desired temperature, you can then start to close the vents. Use the bottom vent to control large temperature changes and the top vent to fine-tune to the exact temperature you are looking for, depending on your desired cooking style.
Remember to only ever adjust the top or the bottom vent independently during the cooking process, never both at the same time. You can also open and close the vents halfway or even a quarter for more precise control.
Types of Cooking
Let’s look more in-depth at how to set up and maintain your Kamado for some of the most popular types of cooking:
Grilling uses the direct heat method of cooking. Place your food directly over the hot grill grates as you would using a traditional outdoor grill. For this method, you should be looking at a temperature of around 320-360°F for optimum results.
Cook meat, fish, or veg on one side, flip over and cook the other. Although this is a traditional cooking method, as seen on a standard grill, the Kamado grills and cooks your food more evenly to its ability to circulate the heat through the unit.
Smoking is one of the most popular ways to cook on a Kamado. Since its effective thick ceramic walls create fantastic insulation, it can retain heat for very long periods and is therefore very well suited to this cooking method.
Smoking uses the indirect method of cooking over long periods to produce mouthwatering barbecue flavors. To set your Kamado up to smoke, aim for a temperature of around 225-260°F. Put some wood chips alongside your chunks of charcoal and leave your meat to slowly infuse with the delicate flavors.
To use your Kamado for baking, maintain a temperature between 285-390°F. Use a pizza stone placed on top of the heat deflector stones to cook doughs, bread, and pastries with ease.
Another excellent use for the Kamado, use this method to cook large meat joints such as beer can chicken. Similar to the smoking method discussed above, add wood chunks to your charcoal. Maintain a temperature of between 350-430°F and cook with the lid closed for the most tender results.
Enjoy a Huge Variety of BBQ Dishes With a Kamado Grill
Kamados are one of the most versatile outdoor grills on the market today. Perfect your grilling, roasting, and smoking, and impress your friends and family by setting up your Kamado for success.
Ensure you carefully monitor the temperature gauge and use the vents for precision temperature control—experiment with different wood chips, from applewood to hickory, to try varying depths of smoky flavor.