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I BBQ weekly, and it's usually one or two thick steaks, spare ribs, or pork chops. I currently have a pretty old Weber Original Kettle 22-Inch Charcoal Grill, but it's time for me to replace it with something a bit better.

Recently, I saw a sale on the Weber Master Touch Charcoal Grill. On the other hand, I've always been interested in buying a Kamado Joe Classic Joe, but the price is rather prohibitive.

Adding to that, I've wanted to expand my cooking to things that cook for more than half-hour, but $800 for a grill is way above my budget.

That brings me to the question: what can I cook in a Kamado Joe that I absolutely cannot cook in a Weber Multi-Touch grill?

2 Answers 2

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I've used Weber kettle grills for a long, long time and switched to a Kamado Joe II as a lockdown buy. Overall there's almost nothing you can do on a Kamado style barbecue that you can't do on a kettle, but there are some things that you can do better and easier.

For standard grilling tasks like burgers, steaks and chicken you'll get the same result, in fact a good sized kettle will have a larger cooking area than a Joe classic. You'd have to have a Big Joe to get the same area, and those are very expensive. With less area you have to plan a bit more, it hasn't been an issue with me.

The two areas where the kamado excels are in very high heat applications like pizza making and low heat applications like smoking. I've made pizza on a weber and gotten decent but not outstanding results, where on the kamado I've made pizza as good as I've had in Naples as it can get ferociously hot. There are all sorts of expensive, specialized add-ons for that but I just put my pizza stone on the top rack and it works great.

I've smoked on a weber, and it's doable, but a lot of work for a long smoke. It's hard to keep it on a precise temperature, and you have to top off the charcoal for longer smoking times. When you add charcoal through the side slots in the weber (presuming you have them) it's too easy to get soot all over the food, I found I had to take the whole top rack off and put it aside to refill it, which is a pain to do, and then you have to fiddle with the air vents loads to get the temperature right again.

The kamado is easy to get to a precise temperature due to airflow control and it is very efficient due to the ceramic insulation so the charcoal lasts a whole day, I've never had to add any even when I'm doing a 16 hour smoke on large brisket. All the baffles and the flexible rack system the Joe comes with is very helpful in creating the indirect heating as well.

I know of people who have used firebrick to create some heat baffling in kettle grills, which helps control the fluctuations somewhat, it doesn't help with refilling though.

One major consideration is weight: the kamado is heavy, it takes 2 people to lift it as it's metal and ceramic. It rolls just fine on a flat surface, but if you needed to move it around a lot it's going to be tough. A weber is very transportable.

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  • For long low cooks on a kettle grill, there’s the ‘charcoal snake’ method. (Stack up a ring of briquettes, not quite all the way around, then light one end). It probably won’t get you 16hours, though: barbecuefaq.com/charcoal-snake-method
    – Joe
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 13:34
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    I've gotten maybe 7 hours out of the snake method when I've used high quality briquettes. Lumpwood burns too quickly, but using heat beads or weber brand briquettes you can get a lot more time @Joe.
    – GdD
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 14:28
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Short answer...nothing. The Weber is well-suited for all grilling and BBQ tasks. I have had a Big Green Egg for 20 years. I've used lots of kettle grills. The advantage of a ceramic cooker like the BGE or Kamado is the heat retention of the cooker itself. I feel like I can maintain a very low temperature 200-225F for a longer time in the ceramic cooker, without having to open the lid to add coal. On the other hand, I can get the BGE ripping very hot. Maybe hotter than a kettle. However, I don't find this that useful. I often find it is too hot for my liking and have to let it calm down. This is merely convenience (or inconvenience). A kettle can do everything my BGE can do.

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    +1 "The advantage of a ceramic cooker like the BGE or Kamado is the heat retention of the cooker itself." I've come to the decision that the lack of insulation in a kettle is a feature, not a bug. When I grill with charcoal, I want to cook with the radiant heat from the coals. I'm not really trying to bake things on the grill. I don't see these as replacements for a kettle.
    – JimmyJames
    Commented May 18, 2023 at 19:31

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