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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Old 11-09-2012, 07:50 AM   #31
Foxfire
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Quote:
Originally Posted by R2Egg2Q View Post
In your area you shouldn't have to drive too far to find those floor models. If you head over to the KJ dealer in Santa Clara you're only a few blocks away from Eggs By The Bay (a Brethren Egg dealer). I believe you have a Primo dealer in S.J. and I'm sure a Lowes to see the Akorn & maybe Cypress.
Hey, thanks! I haven't done the Googling yet, that's a super helpful head-start.

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Originally Posted by GreenDrake View Post
I have cooked on the Kamado Joe BigJoe, and that divided firebox is MONEY for fuel consumption and direct/indirect options. We had no problems ramping it and bringing it back down. What a monster. I will be saving up for one of those as well. You know, because they need friends out there in the Meat Manger. Three Traegers, a UDS and the KJ need more buddies to play with.
Barely awake and not even half a cup of coffee in me and this made me chuckle, thanks.
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Old 11-09-2012, 07:55 AM   #32
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We have one BGE dealer in my local area. But there are a number of them within a few hours of drive. I called around and found the best price and then called my local dealer and he matched it. I'm don't know if that will work everywhere but I think it saved me about $100.00
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:17 AM   #33
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If you're interested in the Egg but the price is an issue, see about getting an demo from an Eggfest... It will have been used once... at the Eggfest... and will be about $200 cheaper than it would be otherwise. You could even sign up to cook and then your egg would be brand new! Did one Eggfest and it was a blast. Probably have to wait until next season, though.

You're in a win-win situation. Enjoy your new cooker.

Whatever you get, I'd suggest this...
You might use it only once or twice but it will be worth it.
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Old 11-09-2012, 08:30 AM   #34
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In my search, I looked at everything out there a couple years ago, and went with the BGE-XL. I wanted something with the footprint of the XL, and while I thought the KJ was an excellent cooker, they didn't have the Big Joe back then.

I really liked the Primo XL, but I got a better price on the BGE XL. From a cooker standpoint, I would have been happy with the Primo as well. Also at the time, local dealer support was much greater for BGE. Whether or not that's changed locally, I really don't know.

I did have to replace my gasket on the XL pretty soon after I got it. I have the Rutland mod now, and have had no problems with it in the last year and half since I installed it.

As pricey as the BGE is, I've never regretted it. That said, with the arrival of the Big Joe, I'm not so sure I wouldn't go that route today if I had a do over. I really like the extra height in the Big Joe lid over the XL lid.

Any of those 3(primo, BGE, KJ) would do very well as cookers. Kinda narrows it down to price/local dealer support imo.
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Old 11-09-2012, 09:57 AM   #35
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With all of the gasket talk, I have had my KJ over 600 SEVERAL times, I'm guessing at least 20-25 for pizzas, steaks, cleaning, etc. and my gasket is still in great shape.

The guys that started KJ were two "egg-heads" that wanted to make a produced that they felt improved on BGE's short comings and cost less. I think they did a great job achieving that goal. They definitely nailed the gasket.

My wife gets tired of me saying how much I like that cooker. I would have really liked a BigJoe, but the classic does great for us.
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Old 11-09-2012, 10:26 AM   #36
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Jeez... I was originally only thinking about the 18" but now you guys are tempting me with all this praise of the BigJoe. Why oh why did I start this thread?!?
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Old 11-09-2012, 12:17 PM   #37
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I get this question a lot. Best answer I can offer is divide the cookers into two groups: ceramic kamados and steel kamados. I don't think it's fair to compare ceramic and steel kamados together as each has a different set of maintenance demands.

Then for each group, compare initial cost, warranty and dealer support, as most of these cookers are going to need some type of repair over their life time. If it's cheap going in, chances are it going to require more warranty or repairs during ownership. If the dealer, distributor or home office is not local, then you need to consider the hassle and added cost to ship or freight repair parts. It's expensive to ship or freight ceramics.

Chances are parts exposed to weather are going to have the shortest warranty, thus the added burden to maintain. So, a cheap kamado that includes a cart may not be so cheap five years from now when the welds on the cart have rusted through.

Also, with ceramic kamados, if you not comfortable with the quality of the ceramics, don't let it slide. Good chance, you'll be replacing ceramic parts. The ceramics may be covered under warranty but the cost to ship replacement parts may surprise you.

All the kamado style cookers need some type of honey-do repairs during ownership. Before a purchase, one should weigh initial cost to buy, additional cost during ownership to maintain, how handy you are to do repairs and how available replacement parts are. Once you get these answers, it not hard to find a viable kamado by surfing the forums, especially this forum.

Thanks to all for your support of ceramic grill store, it's greatly appreciated.

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Old 11-09-2012, 12:23 PM   #38
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Don't know about the KJ but my Egg dealer told me that if the firebox or fire ring cracked, he would replace it from stock... No shipping charge. Don't hear much about fireboxes cracking now that they cut an expansion groove in the firebox at the factory.
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Old 11-09-2012, 03:01 PM   #39
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Tom, thanks for your expert weigh-in. I'm quick becoming a big fan of Ceramic Grill Store!
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Old 11-11-2012, 01:23 AM   #40
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I have a Vision Classic grill from Costco and am quite happy with it. I took a few cooks to learn how to best control the temps, but since then I've been able to go overnight with no adjustments. Last weekend, I smoked some home made sausage at 205f for 3 hours wtih no problem. What sold me on it was what I got for the money. It included the side tables, two levels of grill space, and a heavy duty cover. The only change I've made to it was to add a KJ heat deflector.
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Old 11-11-2012, 07:13 AM   #41
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I have a Vision Classic grill from Costco and am quite happy with it. I took a few cooks to learn how to best control the temps, but since then I've been able to go overnight with no adjustments. Last weekend, I smoked some home made sausage at 205f for 3 hours wtih no problem. What sold me on it was what I got for the money. It included the side tables, two levels of grill space, and a heavy duty cover. The only change I've made to it was to add a KJ heat deflector.
I've never seen a Vision on the floor at Costco. Do they only get displayed seasonally? I presume you could order via the website year round.
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Old 11-11-2012, 09:03 AM   #42
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Lars View Post
I have a Vision Classic grill from Costco and am quite happy with it. I took a few cooks to learn how to best control the temps, but since then I've been able to go overnight with no adjustments. Last weekend, I smoked some home made sausage at 205f for 3 hours wtih no problem. What sold me on it was what I got for the money. It included the side tables, two levels of grill space, and a heavy duty cover. The only change I've made to it was to add a KJ heat deflector.

I love my Vision from Costco. For the money it was a great deal. I smoke something at least once a week and grill a couple of times a week. It has changed the way I think about BBQ.
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Old 11-11-2012, 03:43 PM   #43
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Had the opportunity to stop at a local Ace Hardware (Palo Alto) where they had one Classic Joe out on the floor. Seeing it in person I was impressed. The ceramics did seem thick and had the rough surface I've read about. The lid was heavier than I expected but the unit didn't at all feel unstable in the steel cart included.

The side tables don't seem overly heavy-duty but they do click into the upright position solidly and seem fine for holding the usual serving tray / thermometer base / beer. The arms of the side tables are each secured to the kamado body with four small bolts - two on the front arm, two on the back - which are capped with what look to be stainless acorn cap nuts, which was nice to see up close and rest assured that if you someday move up to a table or BBQ island you could remove the side tables and just re-cap the bolts. (KJ also sells these units without the tables and cart in case that's your plan from the get-go).

The top vent was very impressive. It's heavy and well designed so it can be completely closed (no rain cap needed) or you can swing the whole daisywheel vent aside to expose almost the whole vent for maximum exhaust. The felt gaskets were naturally peeled up in some spaces due to being a display model, but the felt was thick and looked like quality. There are gaskets on the lid and cooker and I wouldn't be worried about sandwiching a braided therm cord between them the way I do every time I close one of my kettles. The bottom vent was sticking so I didn't mess with it much, but I think it's an older display model that didn't have the 2012 upgrade with a screen that also slides open for ash removal. The stainless cooking grate seemed very sturdy and has one hinged section for adding coals or smoking wood and worked smoothly. It might be a tad narrow for the largest wood chunks I've pulled out of bags but not really a big concern. The overall cooking space seemed fine for my purposes but I'd be interested to see a BigJoe in person for comparison's sake.

The last observation was how very attractive a cooker it was! The pictures made me think the black unit wasn't very pretty but the ceramics are shiny, not matte, and the bamboo side tables and lid handle are stained a very rich dark brown that really dresses up the look of the whole thing. I had been thinking the red option was a no-brainer based on Internet photos but up close the black was a head-turner for sure.

First time I can remember being excited to do my taxes in a while...
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Last edited by Foxfire; 11-11-2012 at 03:46 PM.. Reason: Ima gReaT tyPur
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Old 11-12-2012, 01:19 PM   #44
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I received a medium BGE as a gift about 8 years ago. It's still going strong. In late 2010 I wanted a larger ceramic. I teetered back and forth between the BGE XL and Primo XL. In the end the dividable firebox of the Primo XL won out.

I use the Primo for smoking or large quantity grilling and the BGE Med for grilling.

There's something to be said for running 19 hours at 225 on 1/2 a firebox of lump
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Old 11-12-2012, 04:18 PM   #45
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I gave my BGE XL to my son and he is enjoying it now.
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