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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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Unread 10-22-2011, 07:53 AM   #1
Fiddy/Fiddy
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Thumbs up Howdy Joe: Meet and Greet with Mr. Kamado Joe

I finally got to meet Mr. Kamado Joe, Here's my initial impression of this cooker:

- It is by far the thickest ceramic Kamado I have seen to date. *You can really tell by the weight I the lid. *All though easy to open, you can definitely tell the lid is pretty heavy.*

- The counterbalance hinge is very well constructed and the springs handle well considering the KJ appears to have a lid that feels nearly twice as heavy as their competitors.

- The 304 stainless grid is one of the most ridged grids I have seen outside of a weber Genesis. * It is the best OEM grate I have seen on a Kamado. *I prefer CI and this would not likely sway my purchasing decision.*

- the Firebox is huge. *Much bigger than the Eggs box. *This appears to come with a trade off. *The ash box has a lower capacity than the Egg. *You would need to clean out the KJ more often. *Not a big deal. *Every design has it's trade offs.

- The included ash tool is better than what I imagined. *The Internet pics make it appear a bit flimsy. *It's actually is quite ridged and well built.*

- The CI Charcoal grate is much thicker than the one on the Egg. *The finish seems less likely to rust.*

- The is enough clearance between the fire ring and the rim to allow any BGE accessory to fit easily. (Minus the plate setter, not a great loss, I don't like the plate setter)

- the brown ceramic takes some getting use too. Thank god it will turn black with use over time.

- The KJ does ceramic is very ruff inside. *It does not have the Eggs smoother finish. *I also noticed some brown chalking on my fingers after running my finger across the ceramic interior. *This may be common with all new ceramic. *This is not something I experienced with the Egg. *This is being just plain picky. *I can't imagine this effecting the performance of the grill and the the grease will smooth out the wall over time.*

- It was. Ice to see all stainless hardware. *This really makes me think the grill will hold up well over the years.*

- The thermometer is massive. *It was way bigger than I ever imagined. *It's actually overkill. *It seems too big for the 18 Inch grill. *A kid in a plane flying over head could see what temp you were smoking at on a clear day. * The size of the thermometer is never really been a issue for me. *As long as I can read it I am good to go. *If my 98 year-old neighbor want to give it a spin, he'll be right as day with the size of this therm. **

- Pricing, very impressive. *The KJ is much cheaper than the Egg in Canada for what is essentially a similar product.

lrg Egg: $1099 -$999 - $1299 with Cart
KJ 18: $799 Stand alone or $999 with Cart

XL Egg: $1599 - $1499
Big Joe: Estimated: (Not out yet) $1299 - $1199.00

- Local dealer support: The local dealer can ship any required parts to their store. *This is good to hear if a new firebox or grate is required.*

Overall: The Joe pretty impressive *cooker and superior to the Egg in almost every regard. * The Egg's Smoother ceramic finish is the only place where I felt the Egg has a slight edge on the Joe. *

Well, let's hear what the other brethren think. * *

*
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Last edited by Fiddy/Fiddy; 10-22-2011 at 10:35 AM..
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Unread 10-22-2011, 08:29 AM   #2
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Does the smoothness of the ceramic finish have any impact on the way it cooks?

Thank you for your report. I'll be in your shoes in a few months.
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Unread 10-22-2011, 09:09 AM   #3
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Nice review Fiddy. I am looking at getting the CI grill next week. One thing I was not absolutely thrilled with from the first gen KJ was the cart and wheels. It's not a big deal unless you have to move it often, which I do when I do block parties or head out to a competition. The initial collars were short where the base goes together and the wheels needed to be bigger, to me. Again not that big of a deal.

The new KJ's should all be coming with an ash screen on the draft door, did the one you saw have it yet? The wood on the KJ was most impressive to me, and still is after over a year and a half of using it. I have several videos up on both the KJ website and my own Youtube page of the KJ in action, if you haven't checked any of them out yet.
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Unread 10-22-2011, 09:18 AM   #4
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Hey Fiddy, Have you done a review for Primo?
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Unread 10-22-2011, 10:24 AM   #5
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothsmoke View Post
Does the smoothness of the ceramic finish have any impact on the way it cooks?



Thank you for your report. I'll be in your shoes in a few months.
Doubt it. All ceramic seems to chalk a bit. The Egg appear to be sanded smooth inside to the dust might be finer and harder to see. The dealer demo was hot and Hamburgers so nothing exciting enough to mention for their cooking demo. It would have been more fun if they did a pizza or a brisket smoke. It's a small appliance shop, so that might be asking a lot.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothsmoke View Post
Hey Fiddy, Have you done a review for Primo?
I wrote a review for the Primo on the Primo review board. There's no display units in my town. I have a 300 KM drive to Calgary to take a peak. My local dealers are special order only. Sadly, there's no dealer love for Primo in Oil town.
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Unread 10-22-2011, 11:19 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Fiddy/Fiddy View Post
Doubt it. All ceramic seems to chalk a bit. The Egg appear to be sanded smooth inside to the dust might be finer and harder to see. The dealer demo was hot and Hamburgers so nothing exciting enough to mention for their cooking demo. It would have been more fun if they did a pizza or a brisket smoke. It's a small appliance shop, so that might be asking a lot.



I wrote a review for the Primo on the Primo review board. There's no display units in my town. I have a 300 KM drive to Calgary to take a peak. My local dealers are special order only. Sadly, there's no dealer love for Primo in Oil town.
Do you have a link to the review? Sorry to hear that your dealers wont order one for display. That's just silly. How the fark do they expect you to buy such an expensive item without seeing it live.
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Unread 10-22-2011, 12:41 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothsmoke View Post
Do you have a link to the review? Sorry to hear that your dealers wont order one for display. That's just silly. How the fark do they expect you to buy such an expensive item without seeing it live.
It's a members only board so you can't view the link when unless you join there board.

The local Edmonton BBQ store use to carry the Primo and display it. They claim they only were selling 4 a year so they pulled the plug. The real truth is their staff are hardcore eggheads and they politely ran down the Primo to sell more Eggs.

Primo should get a display unit into their other dealer and provide better training to sell the product.

The local KJ dealer is a small high end Mom and Pop Appliance store that had been around for 40 years.

it's pretty much down to the Primo and the KJ Big Joe. The Big Joe can fit all of the eggs accesories. The Primo shape is it's best selling point. The hinge design on the Primo is also counterbalanced like the KJ.

The Dome on the new Big Joe is going to be the largest on any ceramic grill on the market. There's enough room in their for the the laziest reality TV watching cookie eating couch patato Turkey money could buy. If Tiny Time had a Big Joe, he'd never go hungry again. The Big has more cooking volume than the XL Egg.
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Unread 10-22-2011, 10:46 PM   #8
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I'm a member of the Primo board as well. I was looking for your post but they must have removed it. Couldnt find it at all. Kamado Joe sounds like a great quality product. I was not even considering them, but now that has changed.
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Unread 10-23-2011, 06:11 AM   #9
Fiddy/Fiddy
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Smoothsmoke View Post
I'm a member of the Primo board as well. I was looking for your post but they must have removed it. Couldnt find it at all. Kamado Joe sounds like a great quality product. I was not even considering them, but now that has changed.
Hi Smoothsmoke,

Both Primo and KJ offer compelling alternative to going green. *I think you'd be perfectly happy with either unit.

Here's my personal comparison of the Big Joe and Oval XL

- The Primo is more flexible out of the box. *The Oval XL is the only Ceramic cooker on the market that features OEM standard reversible grates that allow you to cook with the grate at the felt line.
- You need to purchase the heat deflector kit to get the stainless steel spider required to Level off the Big Joe cooking grate with the felt line
- The Primo is made in the USA and the KJ in China
- It is much easier to set-up the Primo for indirect/direct mixed cooks. *The half racks and cast iron fire box diver and dual d-plate deflectors make it very easy to do a wide variety of versatile arrangements for the Oval XL
- Using accessories meant for the XL BGE from the ceramic grill store (Woo 2, Angle Brackets, Charcoal ring, you actually have more options for changing the arrangement of the coals of the in the KJ. *There is a lot more fidgeting around involved with some of the ceramic grill store toys) The Primo is much easier to set-up for multiple indirect. The D-Plates are easier to deal with than half moon stones with less hot zones.
- The Oval XL half moon racks are really nice for multiple layers of cooking. *The space between the bars are is smaller than the BGE XL half moon. Primo half moon racks also combine together better the he BGE Half moon giving you a much longer second row of cooking for Ribs. It's in that second tear of cooking that the Oval shape really shines. *They also combine very neatly with the lower racks for tremendous flexibility when setting you grid heights.
- The KJ raised cooking grid is okay. *You would be better off purchasing the half moon racks from BGE and the adjustable rig from the ceramic grill store. *We'll have to wait and see if KJ comes out with their son accessories to take advantage the height in the Big Joe Dome
- The Primo has a shorter fire box than the KJ allowing you to sear steaks at a lower dome temp of 450F KJ searing like the Egg is done at 600 F.
- The Primo Oval XL has a wider grid space by an 1 1/2 over the Big Joe. *The advantage of the oval shape is not as big of an advantage when comparing it to a grill as massive as the BIg Joe
- The Big Joe is 60 pounds heavier than the *Oval XL. *You might need. 3rd person to lift it into a table
- (According to the dealer: Someone who owns a KJ and Primo may need to verify this fact) The thicker ceramic on the KJ provides more insulation when the temp outside drops below zero. *Better insulation against cold weather. *Heat retention during the summer months will be the same for BGE, Primo and the KJ. (Either way, it won't affect the taste of your food, just cooking times during the winter)
- The Big Joe has more grill space by 52 square inches). Only matters if you host a lot of parties. *(This won't effect most cooks unless you're cooking a 50 pound turkey to feed a homeless shelter)*
- The dome height on the Big Joe is slightly higher than the Oval XL and the BGE XL (Great for 50 pound turkeys but you may need to experiment with height for Pizza cooking to figure out the sweet spot) The Big Joe is bleeping massive*
- The body of the Big Joe is 2 inches wider than the XL egg. *Your going to need a slightly wider table for a Big Joe
- The XL Oval shape is great for making a table that can squeeze into a tighter space than the XL Egg and Big Joe
- The 304 stainless grid is easier to care for than the stock Porcelain coated grid that comes with the Oval XL. *You have to use more caution when cleaning the Porcelain Grids on the Oval.*
- Primo makes their own cast iron cooking grates and grill for the Oval that fit like a glove
- You need to purchase the BGE XL CI or The 24 inch Craycort CI grates for the the Big Joe. *
- Your stuck with BGE Half moon racks for the Big Joe unless KJ decides to release their own half moon racks. *The spaces are too wide on the BGE half moon rack and they will allow thinner items to fall through without care.
- Half moon rack are better when you're performing grilling and indirect task at the same time and you don't want a rack over the direct side. *I hope KJ releases their own half moon racks to fill this in this void.
- The Oval XL and Big Joe both use a counterbalanced hinge for easy lifting
- The Stainless steal springs, hardware and powder coated hinge parts are better than the Oval XL's Hardware. (Granted you can purchase SS hardware at Home Depot or buy a good cover for the winter if your worried)
- The OEM gaskets on the Big Joe are superior to the OEM gaskets for the Primo. *The KJ has a second gasket and flush and a heavier hinge for keeping a better seal for High temp cooks. (Caveman Steak or New York Style Pizza) *(You can over come this by replacing the Primo OEM gaskets with Contonics or Rutland Gaskets I you gaskets fail)
- *With the exception of the plate setter, any BGE XL accessories will fit a Big Joe (10x the accessory options for the Big Joe)
- it will probably take a few months for BBQ guru and other Automatic Temp controllers to release a fan adaptors for the Big Joe. *
- You can use the BGE XL wok accessories in the Big joe, you would have to know how to weld something together to make you own wok adapter for the Primo Oval. *The real only set back I can think of for the Oval shape.*
- The KJ comes in two colors
- The Primo Grate has more holes and is less likey to clog. (Make sure to clean the KJ grate after each cook). I am actually puzzled why KJ did not use 304 stainless grate instead similar to the one BBQ guru makes for the Large Egg.

It's pretty hard to compare these grills. *It comes down to some real nitpicking and anal observations for a classic Sienfeld episode. "George buys a Ceramic grill" *Not the tasty kind of grilling)*

If your going to smoke a lot of ribs and really long or odd shaped items, the Primo Oval shape can't be beat. *It's also much easier to set-up for direct/indirect cooking. D-Plates way easie to work with vs half moon stones. My friend has an older XL Egg and a Woo2 and he has dropped his half moon stone in the coals more times than I can count. He has broken two half moon stones in five years.

The KJ has a better OEM fit and finish over*the Primo. *It's 20% bigger than the Oval XL. *Warranty coverage is identical for both units.* (You can always purchase 40 bucks worth of SS hardware to upgrade the Primo from Home depot)

The Big Joe will list for $100 more in the US without the cart and Shelfs vs the Oval XL. *There are more Primo dealers in the US offering discount prices and bargains for the Oval XL over the KJ. *That should change with time. *(Not every state has a KJ dealer yet)

With some personal ingenuity, you can remove some of the design trade-offs for each grill has over the other. *They are both excellent cookers. *Neither machine will disappoint you. Both will provide you with years of enjoyment.*

I would suggest making a list of your personal expectations for a Ceramic cooker.

Match up advantages of each machine under your list of exceptions. * The Grill that has the most advantages matching your expectations is the one you should buy. *I don't think it gets too much simpler than that.
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Last edited by Fiddy/Fiddy; 10-23-2011 at 09:45 AM..
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