Stick with Kamado, or something else?

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Original poster
Aug 12, 2023
My first (and only) smoker so far is a Vision Classic Kamado that I bought from Costco about 8 years ago. I didn't really know what a Kamado was at the time, but I wanted a charcoal grille, and it looked cool, so that's what I bought. In the years since, I've taken up smoking (mainly pork butts and briskets), and I've been successful with it (I added a BBQ Guru DigiQ2 several years ago, and then more recently a FireBoard 2 Drive to get the wifi functionality). I also have a flat-top grille/griddle (Traeger Flatrock) which I love, so I mainly just use the Kamado as a smoker these days.

But while it still works fine, I haven't been super thrilled with the Vision quality (I had to replace the firebox and vent cap), and I'd like to have more real estate (the Vision is the same size as Big Green Egg size large - 18 inch diameter - pretty much limited to two butts or a single brisket). So I'm thinking about replacing the Vision with a larger, better quality Kamado (Big Green Egg XL or a Kamado Joe Big Joe). But I can't help but wonder if my smoking results would improve with a more traditional smoker - something like a vertical gravity charcoal smoker, or maybe even a plain old Weber bullet.

In short, I'm trying to figure out if I'm missing out on anything by just sticking with a Kamado (which I tend to gravitate towards since I've already worked through its learning curve).
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I like grilling with the Kamado vs smoking with stacking and unstacking layers, the minion method, and getting the same smoke every time with the minion method. I use other smokers I can manage smoke without opening the food chamber. Plus with the Kamado and the upper grilling ring I can put a chunk on the cooking grate right above the coals when cooking indirectly. I use a 17" charcoal grate up top with a 10" round starting vent collar for searing, then indirect. It's 3" below the top cooking grate. I don't like the super low charcoal Kamado grate for steaks, chops and burgers. I need it high for grilling hot then moving away. Uses so much less lump or charcoal than a bigger fire down low.
You have lots of choices on this one, but there is no way you can go wrong with a Weber WSM for smoking. Charcoal, smoke wood, meat, a match and you're golden. The Four Horsemen of the Apocolypse could come riding through your neighborhood, and you're still gonna eat Q at the end of the day.
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I have 2 of your choices, a Kamado Joe copy, could be a Visions, came from Superstore in Canada. I find its quality is very good and have used it quite a lot for 2 or 3 years, mainly smoking and long cooks. I also have the Weber WSM 18" and haven't used it much, I just didn't find it versatile enough. I also have a Brinkman Smokin Pit, problematic getting them tuned properly but still fine for good long smokes and holds a lot of meat, again, haven't used this much as I don't cook 40lbs of product at a time and it uses a fair bit of fuel.

My current most used smokers are my Pitt Boss PB820 as it's a smoker, it can grill right over the flame as well and is so simple to operate and it's versatile, and I just recently jumped into the electric smoker crowd with 2 Masterbuilt MES30 smokers, both of which I have modified for my use. There's a ton of material on this forum for these and how to best mod them.

I still like a wood/charcoal smoker but these days tending a fire all day is harder for me to do.

Good luck.
I have a Vision kamado. I bought it for grilling and love it for that. I've never really smoked on it as I prefer my stick burner or charcoal cabinet for that.
My Kamado is an Akorn clone (so cast iron instead of ceramic) and not nearly as nice as yours is - but it is also around 18" and is a bit small when I'm wanting to smoke a bunch (we are a family of 5).

On one of the Facebook groups I follow, there was a guy that bought a 10" Weber charcoal grate, and used some stainless bolts to "float" that smaller grate above the main 18" cooking grate. That was enough to fit a fairly large butt on and free space up on the main grate.

Alternatively, if you were to get an Akorn replacement grate, that offers the option of a vertical extension that swivels, which is pretty neat. That is going to be my next purchase for my cheapo (Expert Grill brand) kamado. I hope this helps.

This link is an example of the main grate and the vertical part. It's pretty neat!

Akorn grate w/ extension

As far as the very last part of your post, I have watched a lot of videos comparing kamado smoking to offset, and the offset seems to win on flavor every time. It all comes down to how much you want to babysit. I am refinishing an OK Joe, so I will be cooking on that soon to compare, but for now it's hard to beat set-and-forget kamado smoking with lump charcoal + cherry chunks.
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My son upgraded from the regular Kamado Joe to the biggest Kamado Joe and regretted it. It worked fine for big pork shoulders and briskets, but it was not great for the smaller day-to-day type cooking like burgers and steaks. The big Kamado Joe took longer to heat up and burned a LOT more charcoal. I remember one time he went through almost an entire bag charcoal to cook two beer can chickens. Just something to think about.
While I was debating this question, I became interested in pellet grills, which I had no experience with, but seemed highly regarded by many. Around the same time, a used MAK One Star went up for sale near me, so I bought it. I’ve only used it once so far, but so far so good. Time will tell whether the Kamado stays or goes, but I’ll probably keep it around.
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I have been cooking on a Kamado, kettle, and offset for a very long time. I still have all 3 and use them routinely. I have a few other toys but they aren't relevant to this topic. Here is how it breaks down for me.

Kamado is a Primo OVAL XL. The oval shape means it can hold much more meat that an 18" round but it isn't huge and out of control like some of those XXXXL kamados out there. 400 square inches up to 630 square inches w/double grate. Can run below 300f for 16 hours on a few pounds of lump.

The kettle is a Weber 22" Master-Touch. 363 square inches - nothing else really to say about it.

The offset is large, Old Country BBQ pits 'Pecos'. It's not efficient, takes lots of work, and is really just a passion.

I mostly use the Primo for low and slow but also for Pizza, bread and I roast in it (think yard bird, chuck roast, pork belly etc) but always indirect cooks. It's great when used as a wood/lump fired oven. It's made in the U.S.A.

I do all of my grilling on the Weber. It's quick and easy to get going and ideal for this task. Sorta mandatory in my mind.

The offset is reserved for when I want to torture myself with the constant task of managing the fire. The smoked meats it produces are the best in my opinion but some will argue and that's fine.

If I could only have 2 of the 3 it would be the Primo and Weber. If I could have only 1 of them it would be the Primo. I can improvise a grill in a million ways if I wanted.

It all depends but maybe you need a larger kamado and a Weber?
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I had a Kamado Joe. Cooked well from slow smoke to high sear. It had multiple racks. What I didn't like was the continual parts replacement from gaskets to the cart. I live by the sea. I donated it and bought a Blaze Kamado. Absolutely love it. You can any kind of fuel including wood. I have in an SS stand with drawers. Holds temps and has a probe insert that will take 4 probe through it. It does everything well. It's impervious.
Ceramics are too heavy for me to move around especially up or down the stair from my garage to my backyard. I have a 22" and 26" kettle that I can do just about anything that I need to do. Plus the accessories made for both are an added bonus.

Here is my two cents, Rusty. I would keep the Vision Classic for high heat grilling and find a good deal on a new Kamado Joe Big Joe for smoking. But, you really do have most of your needs covered right now.
Call me late to the party, but I haven't seen a post reflecting a decision, so, here are my $.02 worth...

I have an original Kamado Joe that I got from my father-in-law several years ago. I have grilled, smoked (cold and hot), baked, braised, fried and turned many a meal on that thing. It has been the workhorse of the backyard cooking game.

A good friend of mine bought a BGE a couple of years ago after eating dinner at our house that was prepared on the KJ. He was surprised at what didn't come with the BGE that was standard on the Joe.

I have many of the extras for the Joe to include the Joetisserie, the additional top rack, two griddle plates, two cast grill plates, pizza stone (no need for the DoughJoe) and an ash basket.

The ash basket has allowed me to cut down on the amount of lump charcoal and far better temp control.

The build quality of both the Egg and the Joe both exceed that of the competition, which tend to be a lot lighter with thinner steel parts. Again, the Joe costs a bit more than the BGE, but you get everything you need to get going in the box, no needed extras to buy.

Two years ago, my wife bought me a Napoleon Prestige 665 Sq in gas grill (w/rotisserie), a flat top griddle and the cast iron insert for charcoal. Together these two are all I need these days.

One perfect example was the night we did Cuban sandwiches for the church group. KJ for smoking the shoulder and the for heating the shoulder and deli ham slices and the Napoleon with the griddle for the final toast. We got our guests involved in the process and they loved it.

By the way, a good friend has a Big Joe and he loves it and has had no issues with getting it to temp and controlling it.

Maybe that was more than two cents worth.

Sunny days...

...or hurricanes.
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I have an LBGE for the last 9 years.
I bought a 10" (i think) grate and attached 4 lege with stainless steel bolts, washers and nuts. I can get 4 9 lb butts on there. Yes, I have to move them around once they start to shrink a bit, but it works. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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