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SmokeWare Stainless Steel Vented Chimney Cap Review

The 10 Second Review:

This high grade stainless steel vented chimney cap by SmokeWare won't rust, break, or fall off. It provides superior vent control compared to the original equipment and doesn't need to be re-adjusted after opening the lid. The smokestack also prevents rain from entering your egg or kamado; allowing you to cook in even the worst weather.

Put simply, this is one of the first and most important upgrades for the Big Green Egg. Even better news is that it also fits the Primo brand kamado grill.

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One of the only complaints about the stock BGE grill is the chimney vent. The cast iron daisy wheel that comes from the manufacturer tends to be temperamental and move around when the lid is opened. In addition it allowed rain to enter the top of the egg which prevented use in foul weather as well as forcing you to remember to close it after use.

The SmokeWare Stainless Steel Vented Chimney Cap solves all of these problems. It is such a superior vent that it begs the question why the folks over at Big Green Egg haven’t taken notice and adopted the design.

First things first, installing the chimney on the Egg is a breeze, just remove the old cap and use the included High-Temperature Silicon Tab and Nomex felt to secure the new one to your egg. This product will also fit on some models of Primo Kamados as well, but your must specify your grill so the manufacturer includes the proper gasket.

Having an all weather grill is something that is important to me. I don’t let something as trivial as rain or snow to stop me from smoking delicious meats year round. This was probably one of the only design flaws of the BGE series of BBQs. The cast iron daisy wheel and porcelain cap allowed rain to enter the top and put out the grill. Imagine setting up an all night smoke only to awake in the morning to discover it rained and put out your fire? Tragic, right? Well, not anymore. The SmokeWare Cap is designed to allow venting while protecting from the elements. Brilliant.

Being high quality stainless steel you can be sure that it will not rust or break for many many years. I personally also think it is a good looking contrast to the green. It is super easy to clean and is even dishwasher friendly, although I have never had to do anything but wipe it down. The construction and design of the cap is top notch and consists of two pieces that fit snugly together allowing you to fully remove the top cap to run the egg at full blast.

Since the vent holds it position when you open and close the lid it is for more convenient for setting your temperature for long smokes. The original vent had a horrible tendency to slid and move every time I opened and closed the lid. Now, I am not condoning excessive lid opening, but it was a huge pain having to reset the daisy wheel every time I wanted to take a peak.

This accessory really is an ‘upgrade’ that should have been included in the first place. Fortunately Smoke Ware made this aftermarket chimney that solves the problem.

BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2 Temperature Control Kit

The 10 Second Review:

"Temperature control so precise, it’s like having a personal valet watching your EGG!"

That's what the folks at the official Big Green Egg website say and I have to agree. This is a must have accessory if you are trying to make fast and simple adjustment to temperature on your big green egg. It is also an official product for your egg so you can rest assured it is high quality and fits perfectly,

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BBQ Competitions have become a global phenomenon in the past decade. There are even events dedicated to only cooking on Big Green Egg grills and if you ever happen to find yourself at one you will notice that EVERY SINGLE one of the competitors are using a BBQ Guru DigiQ to keep precise temperature control for their award winning results.

Even if you don’t compete and only use your egg in your back yard you can take advantage of this big green egg temperature control kit. The system can hold the exact temperature that you are looking for and even has features such as gradually lowering the cooking temperature at the end to prevent overcooking.

Smoking on your green egg is as simple as setting a temperature and opening a beer. The digital display and intuitive design makes the DX2 simple and straight forward to use, right out of the box you really don’t need to read the instructions to operate it.

Like all big green egg products it is built with endurance in mind. The control box is a rugged powder-coated machined aluminum that sports a high intensity red LED display that is easy to read in any weather or time of day. The full-time adaptive control system displays Fahrenheit or Celsius from 32°F/0°C to 475°F/246°C range with an amazing +/- 2° accuracy, while the 10 cubic foot per minute pit viper fan controls the air flow to ensure near-instant temperature changes!

Both the 6 inch food and pit probes are heavy duty and can withstand temperatures of 500F and some of the other features include lid open detector, low and slow ramp down mode, adjustable audible alarm, real time blower status, and worldwide power compatibility from 12v for portable use and 100-240VAC for home use in any country.

No matter if you are a professional pit-master or a backyard griller you should really look into the BBQ Guru DigiQ DX2 Kit.

Kamado Grill Cookbook, The: Foolproof Techniques for Smoking & Grilling Review

The 10 Second Review:

After reading through Fred Thompson's "Kamado Grill Cookbook", it is very clear that this man is not just an avid grillmaster, but he is a kamado grill ninja! Included in the book is all the information you need to be a pro using your kamado presenting in an organized and clear manner. Regardless of the brand you own this could be considered the instruction manual.

Beyond the instuctional and basic grilling information, the book has 193 recipes that do an brilliant job of highlighting the flexibility of a kamado grill.

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All in all if you do not currently own any cookbooks for kamado recipes or you are a new owner of a egg grill then this should be considered as the first book you purchase. Let’s take a look at the Kamadoo Grill Cookbook chapter by chapter.

Chapter 1: Kamado Basics
The first chapter of the book covers the basics of using your grill. The author takes into consideration the different models of kamado grills so no matter the brand you own this chapter will be able to show you thing such as what type of fuel to use, wood selection, lighting your grill, maintaining temperature, manipulating temperature and basic cooking styles.

Chapter 2: Smoking in Kamado
Smoking meats is one of the oldest styles of cooking, however smoking in a kamado could possibly be the most effective way of imparting that delicious smokey flavor into foods. The Kamado Grill Cookbook does a wonderful job of highlighting the different types of food you can smoke. Smoking meats is just the beginning, smoked vegetabales, sauces and even desserts are great ways to explore the wonderful world of smoke!

Chapter 3: Grilling in the Kamado
From grilling burgers and steaks to full animals and masterfully flavored racks of ribs; Fred Thompson has you covered in this chapter. His masterfully crafted recipes and step by step instructions will make anyone look like a pro.

Chapter 4: Roasting in the Kamado
One of the areas that Kamados excel far beyond traditional bbq’s is with roasting. The heavy ceramic (or insulated metal depending upon the brand) traps heat in and holds even temperature while using a much smaller amount of fuel. Anything you can roast in your oven you will be pleasantly surprised to find out you can roast in your grill.

Chapter 5: Steaming & Braising in the Kamado
Steaming in a grill? That’s right, there is a whole chapter dedicated to recipes that are steamed and braised on your egg shaped grill.

Chapter 6: Baking in the Kamado
One of the things that has been growing in popularity in the BBQ scene is desserts, but don’t think this chapter is all about cakes and muffins. You will also find a great collection of breads, pizzas and other baked wonders that you can cook on your kamado.

Chapter 7: Rubs, Marinades, and Injections: The Building Blocks of Flavor
It’s not really a secret that real flavor in grilled meat is the seasonings that are added to the animal. This chapter if packed full of a great collection of rubs, marinades and injection solutions that covers a broad spectrum of meats and flavors.

Chapter 8: Sauces: The Final Flavor
Some of the great BBQ champions will tell you “It’s all in the sauce”. Well if that’s the case then it’s all in this chapter. Sauces from scratch made with exotic ingredients, simple to whip up sauces made from stuff you already have in the door of your fridge, and everything in-between can be found in this chapter.

Big Green Egg Pizza Stone

The 10 Second Review:

The Pros:
The big green egg pizza stone is a heavy duty earthenware pizza stone that can take years of abuse and produce perfect pizza's every time!
The Cons:
There really isn't any downside to the big green egg pizza stone.

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If you like pizza (and who doesn’t?) then one of the first accessories you will need for your big green egg or other brand of kamado grill will be a big green egg pizza stone. I will tell you what: If you have never had a pizza cooked on a kamado grill then you have never experienced how truly awesome pizza can be.

The pizza stone is made with a super high temperature eathernware material that can take high heats for extended periods of time without cracking. Just for our tests we put the stone in for 2 hours at 600 degrees and the stone was unharmed.

Using the big green egg pizza stone is pretty straight forward, place the stone in the kamado and place your pizza on the stone. Cleaning up from normal use is no hassle, however for our tests we put a block of cheese on the pizza stone and thoroughly burnt it to a crisp. The result? It took about 5 minutes to clean, which still isn’t too bad.

Kamado Joe Classic Joe 18 Inch Ceramic Grill

The 10 Second Review:

By far, the biggest competitor to the Big Green Egg is the "Kamado Joe" ceramic cooker. It is one of the earliest competitors in the market and has a large following similar to the BGE.

The Classic Joe 18" Ceramic grill should not be looked at as an off-brand grill. With a nice bundle of accessories standard with the grill, countless additional accessories and ceramic construction that is actually thicker than the big green egg some owners would argue it is the best kamado available.

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“Some people would argue that the Big Green Egg brand is the most popular due to the fact they have been around the longest, and I am starting to lean towards that line of thought after seeing the Classic Joe 18″ Ceramic Grill.”

The heavy duty ceramic of the Kamado Joe is actually thicker than that of the Egg grills and the attention to detail of the craftsmanship and functionality of the grill easily matches that of the Eggs. Coupled with the huge selection of accessories and it is easy to see why there is heated debate on which is the better cooker.

Let’s dig a bit deeper into the features and functions…

One of the first thing you will notice when you get your Kamado Joe Classic Joe is the sheer weight of the grill. Weighing in at a beefy 188lbs it boasts heavy duty ceramic ceramic construction that will hold temperature flawlessly and last a lifetime. Here is a breakdown of the high quality parts:

  • Heavy duty, super-thick high temperature ceramic vessel
  • Cast iron dual disc top vent to allow for accurate temperature control
  • Main hinge made from powderdered coated galvanized iron
  • Sturdy 304 grade strainless steel draft door allows additional temp control
  • Exclusive slide out ash drawer and ash tool to easily empty ashes
  • High density polyethylene folding side shelves with 4 pins on each shelf for hanging all your grilling tools
  • Steel cart with locking caster wheels that allow for easy moving and positioning of the grill and stability when wheels are locked.

The next thing you will notice is that the Kamado Joe grill comes with everything you need to utilize your grill! Where as other brands only give you the basics, with the Classic Joe you get a full set of accessories to get you started. Beyond the included accessories there is also a plethora of other goodies you can get for your Kamado Joe grill.

Included in the standard package is:

  • cart with locking wheels, built in thermometer
  • folding poly shelves
  • the impressively flexible “divide and conquer” cooking system with a multi position rack, halved grill grates
  • and ceramic heat deflectors
  • the patented sliding ash drawer
  • grill gripper
  • ash tool

If you look at what you get for your money with a Kamado Joe Classic Joe 18″ Ceramic Grill I think it is hard not to agree that the Big Green Egg may not be the “top-of-the-line” any more. After reviewing the Joe I would have to recommend anyone who is looking to buy a Kamado grill should seriously consider the Classic Joe.

Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker Review

The 10 Second Review:

The Positive:
While not as indestructible and polished as the Big Green Egg, the Char-Griller Kooker is still a very well built and solid kamado style grill that performs just as well as the Green Eggs for a fraction of the price. Plus they have different colors!
The Cons:
The reduced cost of the grill means that some of the minor construction is not as beautiful as a Big Green Egg and the big green egg community (snobs) will snub you for not having a true Green Egg.

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“While there will always be people with brand loyalty in every type of product market I don’t think I have ever seen a group of people so obsessed with a product as the self-proclaimed “Egg Heads”. The followers of the Big Green Egg grill would rather microwave a brisket than grill on something other than a green egg.” -Anonymous BBQ Competition Judge

Ok, maybe that’s taking it a bit far; but you get the point. People will always tell you that you need to pay the big bucks for the “top brand”, however I often find that it is more of a vanity issue than actual assessment of functionality and economic reasoning. As such is the case with the Char-Grill Akorn.

The first thing to be said about the Char-Griller Kamado is the cost! With a price tag that is 70% less than the same size Big Green Egg it is hard NOT to notice this grill. For some people this sets off alarms of a cheap quality knock off; but in this case that couldn’t be father from the truth.

The construction of the Akorn BBQ and Smoker is of very high quality and rivals that of other top of the line kamados. You can expect many years of use from this grill with just a little maintenance.

From a cooking perspective the Akorn performs just as well as a Big Green Egg and maintains all of the same features.

All in all, the Char-Griller Akorn Kamado Kooker Charcoal Barbecue Grill and Smoker is a fantastic grill and in my opinion is the most bang for your buck. If you can get over being looked down upon by people who own a ‘real’ Big Green Egg, then you can save enough money to buy a side of beef to put on your new Char-Griller!

Broil King Keg 5000 Barbecue Grill Review

The 10 Second Review:

The latest in Broil King's line of Kamado grills; the Keg 5000 BBQ is of double-walled steel construction with a high quality insulated core. It boasts a ton of features that other kamado's are missing such as a tailgate adapter and integrated bottle openers. The heavy duty cast iron grates and dampers are of high quality and can be expected to last several years. The price and value of the Broil King Keg is comparable with top of the line ceramic kamado grills such as the Big Green Egg. The real question comes down to your preference of ceramic or steel.

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The Broil King Keg 5000 is the latest in Broil King’s line of Kamado style grills and they have put a lot of thought and care into the redesign. They have added many neat features and accessories that have not been addressed with their previous models; or ANY kamado grill. From the pull out ash tray and ability to add wood without moving the grate, to the tailgate bumper adapter (sold separately); you will be quite impressed with the features of the Keg 5000.

Double-walled steel with high-grade insulation

The construction of the Broil King 5000 is a high tech double-walled steel sandwiched around high quality insulation. This differs from the traditional ceramic material of other kamado style grills. One of the perks of steel instead of ceramic is that it is much lighter and impervious to cracks.

480 sq in. of Cooking Surface & Deluxe Accu-Temp Thermometer

There is 480 square inches of TOTAL COOKING AREA. This can be a bit misleading as this is actually a 280 sq in cast iron cooking grate along with another 200 square inch chrome grate that stacks as seen in the pictures above. You can cook with both at the same time but you will be limited on vertical space on one of the grates.

That being said the heavy duty cast iron grate is of very high quality and once ‘seasoned’ correctly it will provide years of non-stick cooking.

The accu-temp thermometer is a trademark design from Broil King. In a day where most grill manufacturers outsource parts like thermometers, Broil King really stands out with their high quality custom thermometer. It offers reliable temperature readings year after year.

Design & Other Features

Starting with the heavy duty cast iron upper damper on the top, all the way down the porcelain coated keg cooking chamber painted with a high quality metallic epoxy to the durable steel stand with large wheels; the Broil King Keg 5000 was crafted with care and thought.

Two handles on the front, with bottle openers ensure that your obligatory beer is at hand while you are tending your grill. The heavy duty resin handles allow you to maneuver the grill when needed. Couple that with the large wheels and optional tailgate adapter and you have yourself the ultimate tailgate grill!

The lid latches and locks closed with ease ensuring that you have a great seal that keeps the heat in while the hinge allows for easy opening with a single hand. The resin side shelves are removable and have integrated hooks to hold all of your grilling tools.

The removable steel ash tray has a chrome damper and is super convenient for removing ashes or even adding coal to your kamado without having to remove the grate.

To recap…

The Broil King Keg 5000 BBQ Grill quite possibly could be setting the bar for non-ceramic kamado style cookers. With it’s competitive price, incredible features and accessories and solid construction; it is certainly in the top ranks of charcoal grills.

Primo Grills and Smokers All-in-One Round Kamado Grill Review

The 10 Second Review:

One of the only ceramic kamado style cookers made in the USA; The Primo 773 All-In-One is a masterfully crafted grill with a slightly lower price than the Big Green Eggs. 280 square inches of porcelain coated grates allow for plenty of cooking space. The wheeled cart makes moving the grill a breeze. The Primo kamado comes 95% assembled with a 20 year warranty, it is pretty much idiot proof to get started grilling.

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The Primo Round All-In-One Kamado style cooker is the middle child in the USA made Primo Grill family. This version is round and not oval like it’s siblings: the smaller Oval Jr. and the massive XL Oval. All of the grill are made from the same high quality ceramic.

The grill boasts an easy-clean, porcelain coated cooking grid with 280 square inches of area. Additional extenders can be purchased separately to double the available cooking area if necessary. Like most kamados; the Primo Round has a separate ceramic firebox and a felt lined top gasket to lock in moisture.

The Primo Round Kamado, like all the primo grills, has a stay-cool cyprus handle and precision easy-read thermometer. Add to that an adjustable cast iron chimney vent and a stainless steel adjustable vent door at the bottom of the grill and you can lock in any temperature and hold it there with ease.

One mentionable feature of the Primo Round 773 model is that it has 3 heat safe feet on the bottom that allow for more custom cart and placement options.

The weight of the Primo grill line is comparable with the big green eggs…HEAVY. There is really no way around that when you are making grills out of solid ceramic. In fact, some people gauge the quality of a kamado by its weight. While this is not necessarily a viable way of comparing grills you should always stay away from a ceramic grill that is too light.

Grill Dome Infinity Series Ceramic Kamado Charcoal Smoker Grill Review

The 10 Second Review:

The Infinity Series from "Grill Dome" is a great mid-range ceramic kamado grill. Beyond the basic features the only real noticeable upgrade is the super easy to open hinge that makes opening the grill ones handed a breeze for even a child.

There is nothing fundamentally wrong with the Grill Dome Kamado, its just that they did not go above any beyond with the features of this grill and while that may sound like a negative to some people, other love this grill because of it's sleek, no frills design.

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The Grill Dome Infinity Series is a beautiful grill, it’s smooth and sleek finish (available in multiple colors) gives it an almost futuristic look while it’s solid build commands respect. What the Infinity lacks in futuristic features it makes up for in construction; the super-thick ceramic walls and parts are heavy and high quality to ensure even cooking and years of use.

As mentioned there really are not many frills on this grill. This may bother some people who have used other more feature rich model but, it is the exact reason that most people buy this grill. There really is zero learning curve using the Grill Dome Kamado and coupled with the incredibly light hinge this grill is perfect for someone who is just starting out with a Kamado or even someone who is physically unable to open the heavier lids on other models.

There are a limited amount of accessories made by the Grill Dome company, however many of the accessories for other kamado grills work just fine with this grill.

One of the other reason people choose the Inifinity Series is the color selection; I know it sounds crazy but not everyone wants a giant green egg in their custom outdoor kitchen!

The pricing of the Grill Dome Infinity is really it’s biggest downfall. It is priced in the range of the highest-end grill available and the availability is limited. Being hard-to-find makes them almost have a sort of exclusivity to them making them even more desirable to some people.

All in all the Infinity Grill by Grill Dome is a well constructed and beautiful grill, but lacks the features and accessories to command it’s high price. Now, if you come across a great deal on one of these cookers, by all means don’t be scared to jump on it.

Vision Grills Pro Kamado BBQ Review

The 10 Second Review:

The Vision Grills CF1F1 Kamado is a professional grade ceramic dome grill that carries a lifetime warranty on all ceramic parts. While the cost of this grill is slightly less than that of a BGE (Big Green Egg), the craftsmanship, accessories, and warranty make it a serious competitor for the Egg.

Boasting 596 square inches of grilling space and the ability to adjust cooking temperatures from 200 to 700+ degrees Fahrenheit in minutes, the Vision Pro Kamado is able to operate in any weather from -30 degrees to 100+ degrees.

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When investing the money in buying a top of the line grill, one of the most important aspects to keep in mind is how long your new grill will last. After spending $200 on a mid-level grill every other year, many people come to the realization that they could have saved money in the long run by purchasing a high end grill instead.

The Vision Grill CF1F1 Pro Kamado BBQ not only has the craftsmanship and material to last for a lifetime, it is backed by a lifetime warranty on all ceramic parts of the grill and a generous 5 year warranty on all other parts. While I have not personally had to contact their customer support I have spoken directly with people who have reported having parts shipped next-day air to them!

Beyond the incredible warranty and customer service, the Vision grill company has been making professional grade grills for over a decade and this culinary wonder is no exception. The Vision Grills Pro Kamado C Series is their top of the line grill.

Made from heavy duty ceramic with 596 square inches of grilling space, the CF1F1 BBQ grill has also had some ingenious features added to it such as a removable ash drawer and improved dual venting design that allows you to create zones and rapidly change the temperature of the grill to switch quickly from smoking, to searing, to baking. The fire starter port is also a great feature that allows you to easily light the grill with your electric coal starter with little fuss.

The Vision Kamado Pro has some really nice addons with it right out of the box such as a 2 locking caster stainless steel cart that makes moving a breeze, 2 solid drop down side shelves and a stainless steel flip 2-tier cooking grate.

Cooking on the Vision BBQ grill is quite like cooking with any other high-end kamado…IT’S GREAT! With the price coming in a tad lower than a comparable Egg and including a cart and other accessories, this may be the biggest competitor for the Big Green Egg yet.

UPDATE: We have received reports that people are finding much lower prices at their local harware stores and grill distributors than online for this specific make of grill. As always, make sure that the place you are purchasing your grill is an authorized dealer and the manufacturer’s warranty applies.