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Ceramic Smokers item created by bmudd14474, Jun 17, 2010
Pros - American made, lifetime grill, highest quality
Cons - On the high end of price (but worth it)
Simply the best. The Bentley of all grills and it's the only ceramic grill made in the USA. The 400XL will smoke two 20 pound turkeys.
Pros - Large, durable, easy to use and clean, spacious, versatile
Cons - Heavy, Lid issues
I won my Primo Oval XL from a drawing in a smoking/grilling class at Antique Brick Outdoors in Little Rock, AR. At the time I owned a BGE XL, which I promptly sold to my neighbor. I like the Primo it is American made and so much larger and more versatile. I has been perfect. I am a single dad since my wife passed away over 9 years ago and I took over the cooking duty for my three young children. I have use my Primo 99% of the time over my oven. I use it year around in this ever-changing Arkansas weather, hot/cold/wet/dry, and it never lets me down. Every Thanksgiving now for 9 years we have the family over for Thanksgiving, and I cook the turkey on my Primo. It is always juicy and perfect, using only injection and smoke. The Primo has never let me down. When my firebox cracked and It was replaced immediately, no charge. I have had some trouble with looseness and alignment on the lid, but as stated before, adjust your bolts and if you have any trouble just call Primo for great service.
Pros - very versitile with the fire box divider, holds steady temps
Cons - price
I've had my XL for a few months now and have grilled steaks, chicken, and pork chops; and smoked chickens, turkeys, salmon, ribs, ABTs and pork shoulders. The grill gets up to temp easily in 20-30 minutes, and once at temp, I let it hold steady for another 10 just to make sure the smoke goes from white to thin blue smoke to avoid that acrid taste from the white smoke. The XL works as advertised and makes great food.
The fire box divider works great when doing smaller cooks and helps conserve charcoal. The dome temperature probe was spot on from the factory when I did the boiling water calibration check. I did follow the instructions and checked all the bolts when I set it up and again after a few cooks. Serveral were loose both times and a few turns of the wrench tightened them right up. Primo now as How To videos on their website - they call it Primo University - that help you get to know your cooker, get started, show you maintenance things to check, and of course offer great cooking tips. They also have thier own dedicated forum and Derald from the factory answers questions in the "Ask Primo" section.
For the smoking, I added a Flame Boss 200 system to keep the temps spot on and be able to monitor it while I'm away from the house - it's like setting the oven temp and having a meat probe that you can monitor on your phone.
The ONLY downside I see is cost, but that is a common issue across all quality cermic cookers.
Pros - Amazing ability and versatility
Cons - Construction and metal parts are beyond cheap
Want a review, ask the fire department! I am beyond "peed" off. I bought a Premo Oval XL 2 weeks ago, had 4 great meals. tonight, I used the book and used the temp settings for searing a steak. I am sitting (No Joke) with my 85 year old grandmother and my mother letting it heat to grill some steaks. The temp hit about 400F-425. Then, I opened the lid and the entire ring of felt that
lines the edge of the grill or what ever it is melted off. All of us were like, um..that is not normal.
I closed the lid and closed the air intake to put out the fire as I was nervous about what was happening. 20-30 seconds later the entire lid flew off, it detached at the point where the metal ring sits around the lower bowl of the grill.. I am not joking, this is insane. We were told by the company we bought it from to check the bolts and make sure they were tight, we did that twice now since we had it and this still happened. I had to use a fire extinguisher on it as the flames then got out of control and I basically ruined the whole thing. This worked for a few minutes, but it got worse and now I have images of the fire department here putting out the flames. They were pretty shocked as well by the construction of this thing. Scary. I'll post some pics. Just insane. Maby I'll update after I contact the company.
Pros - Very versatile, extremely well built
Cons - Cost and weight
I have the primo large, but did not see that one listed to review. There is a slight learning curve to set this up for the different cooking methods this unit is capable of. Direct, indirect, low and slow, high temp sear, etc. I have cooked ribs, steaks, pork bellies, pork loins, salmon, pizza, venison pastrami, smoked turkey and burgers. I have even made smoked sea salt and pepper corns. I have the grill extenders and have found that there is a lot of cooking space. The grill uses very little charcoal, I set up a 8hr smoke and only used about 2/3 the coals. I also purchased the DigiQ Dx2 which is absolutely awesome to control your cook. I was a little skeptical about the cost but after using it for only a few months my skepticism was dismissed. I love this grill!
Pros - It can cook at any temperature you want. Large cooking area
Cons - Expensive
I have owned this grill for almost two years now. it's amazing how well it cooks. Of coarse ceramic cookers have been around for thousands of years. I guess it's well proven by now. I have all of the accessories for the grill and they are wonderful. I can cook a very large amount of food and it always comes out wonderful. The hardest thing to do is major cleaning now and then. Make no mistake this thing is very heavy. Dismantling it is a chore. It is easy to clean though. I had a rolling table built for mine. It makes it easier to use it where you want it. The only thing I have had to watch is cooking in the sun. It does effect the temperature after a while. I started putting it under an awning so that helped. As for heat it can get up to 1000 degrees if you let it. It's amazing.
I use several different types of wood, depending on what I am cooking. I buy big chunks and throw them in. The taste of the food that comes out of this cooker is amazing.
It will take a bit of practice to learn how to control the temperature but once you get use to it it's easy.
You can cook anything with this grill. The moister is held in very well do to the design, again its amazing.
Finding good charcoal can be hard sometimes. It only uses lump charcoal. Lighting can be hard sometimes. I found that using lighter sticks is easiest and they are made of natural products.
Do not ever use any type of lighter fluids it will ruin the grill.
I love my Primo
Pros - Easy to use, lots of accessories, well built
Cons - none
I just got this grill and have only cooked on it a couple of times so far, but it is great. Easy to light and maintain temps. I haven't done a low n slow yet but my BBQ Guru just came in today so I will give it a go sometime this week. Fit and finish of the grill is fantastic and I ordered the cast iron griddle and grill grates as well as the D plates for indirect heat cooking. I grilled up some peppers and bacon on the griddle the other evening along with burgers and they came out great. The griddle accessory is awesome. If you are in the market for a new cooker I'd highly suggest looking into one of these. I came from a Smoke Hollow gas/charcoal unit with a fire box and what a difference. The smoke hollow was great, I did a bunch of mod's to it but there really isn't a comparison. These kamado cookers are really nice.
Pros - Very efficient, cooks from 150 to 750 degrees. lots of custom accessory's. Keeps food very moist. 20 year warrenty
Cons - Heavy! Expensive, but if it last as long as it should it will make up for initial cost.
I didn't think the grill would make that big of a difference in quality of food but I was wrong. Keeps food very moist. Maintains temp very well, and is very efficient. I believe this will be my last grill, at least I hope it is.
Pros - Versatile, Efficient, Great Company Support, Made in the USA
Cons - Heavy (like any ceramic), High price tag
I have owned a Primo XL for 1 1/2 years now and can honestly say it is worth every penny. Whether you want to sear a steak, smoke a brisket, make some jerky, or bake a pie, this grill will do it. I had used other ceramic cookers owned by friends before deciding to buy one for myself. I did alot of research and pulled the trigger on the Primo XL because of its versatility. Of the 3 ceramics I have cooked on, this one gives the most options and space for larger cooks. The green one I tried at a friends is great as well but lacked the length I wanted for larger cuts of meat, as well as the ease of cooking direct and indirect at the same time. As a matter of fact, as I write this review I am currently using a direct/indirect method right now for beef ribs with smoked taters, corn on the cob, and smoked onion. It is truly a "set it and forget it" cooker. Bottom line: I couldn't ask for any more out of this cooker.
Pros - You can cook Low & Slow, or extremely High Heat
Cons - Expensive (but worth it)
I've owned my Primo XL Oval for between 3 and 4 years. In my opinion, it is the best ceramic on the market. The oval shape and the way the cooking grates are designed make it very versatile.
I also own a Primo Oval JR. Same great cooker... just smaller.