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Charcoal Kamado Grills

The history of the kamado smoker and bbq grill:

The modern kamado-style bbq grill is based on ancient technology. The earliest cooking vessels were made of clay and found in China, dated to be over 3,000 years old. All over the world these cooking vessels evolved in many different ways, and in Japan a clay pot with a removable dome lid became popular. This device was called a "mushikamado" and it included a damper and draft door for better heat control. It also was fueled by charcoal rather than wood. The mushikamado was introduced to Americans after the Second World War. Eventually, it became known as a "kamado" which literally means "cooking range" or "stove" in Japanese. Westerners discovered the cooking capabilities of the Kamado and began flying them back to the U.S. in cargo planes.

American companies used the growing popularity of Kamados to their benefit and set up shop in order to produce and sell their own lines of Kamado grills. American entrepreneur, Ed Fisher, was the brain child behind one of these newly formed Kamado manufacturing companies. While he first set out as an importer, he quickly realized that the cement mixture comprising the grills he was selling was substandard since it began breaking down within a matter of a couple short years. Determined to raise the bar for his Kamado grill company, in 1974, he began developing his own line of Kamado cookers using much more modern, space-age ceramic that were not only capable of retaining heat and moisture better than the predecessors, but perhaps most importantly, were able to withstand years of exposure to outside elements.

You know Ed Fisher's company today as Big Green Egg. Most modern kamado grills are made from ceramics. The use of ceramics has many advantages over other materials, mainly the excellent heat retention. Ceramic grills can retain heat for long periods of time, making them extremely versatile as they can be used for grilling, smoking, and baking. Kamados can reach consistent temperatures as low as 225° F and as high as 750°+ F. Using the vent system, precise control of airflow can be maintained, allowing kamados to function much like wood-fired ovens and they can be used to roast or bake anything. The use of modern ceramics also ensures that kamados seldom crack, which was a common fault in the original Japanese design.

Today there are numerous kamado bbq grill companies using pretty much the same design as Ed Fisher's Green Egg. Kudos on his foresight into there popularity. The Green Egg hasn't changed much over the years, but some companies have look to improve on that original design; from simple ideas to somewhat extreme. We chose to look for innovation over "if it ain't broke don't fix it" mentality.

For instance Saffire added a "smokin tube" port whereby you don't have to open the grill to add chips or pellets to your coals. They also raised the grill grate for better air flow and more even cooking. And as an option replaces the metal to 304 stainless steel, including the cart, making it more appealing and as a practical note adds longevity.

Saffire Kamado Grills with Smokin' Chip Feeder

Then there is Primo that moved from a round grill to an oval style. Their XL400 is by far the largest compared to 23" large round kamado smoker/bbq grills. By adding the cast iron fire box divider you can have a direct flame over just half of the grill or have a two zone cooking surface (direct and indirect). They also have as an option five cooking racks that can be set at five different levels. And to our understanding is the last manufacture to make there smoker/bbq grills in the US.

primo kamado grill

So take some time and look around and if you have a bit more time stop by and see up close some of the best kamado smoker/grills available. And while you're here check out all the accessaries, charcoal, smoking chunks, chips and pellets.

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Kamado Grills & Smokers

Primo Kamado Grills