You may have seen a Kamado BBQ before if you’re a bit of a foodie – they’ve been all the rage for a while now, and their distinctive egg shape can be seen everywhere. We stock BergHOFF ceramic BBQs here at Sous Vide Tools, and we have been big fans for quite some time.
You’ve probably heard that they’re good for grilling and smoking, but there’s more to it than that. It has a long history, and there is plenty to learn, so we thought we would put together this guide to tell you everything you need to know.
What is a kamado grill?
A kamado is a traditional Japanese stove that is fuelled by wood or charcoal. Modern-day kamados are ceramic grills that are perfect for barbecuing, high-temperature searing, smoking, baking, and even cooking pizzas. Their versatility is their main advantage over other grills, as they give you countless different options for preparing food.
Their ceramic shell means they can withstand high temperatures without cracking, and uniform heat circulation that ensures your food is cooked through consistently. They are also a little safer to use, as the surface doesn’t get as hot as a traditional grill.
They are fuelled by lump charcoal, which burns hotter and for longer periods of time, which makes them perfect for large cuts of meat, and gives that distinctive flavour that is just unbeatable. The charcoal used produces less ash than briquettes and allows for better airflow.
They retain heat so well that they can be left to run for as long as 12 hours at a time. You can even set them up and leave them unattended, and return to perfectly cooked cuts of meat.
The glazed exteriors mean that with proper care, your grill should last a lifetime, and it can sit outside happily without rusting.
A brief history
Cooking in clay vessels is a practice that dates back to ancient times, and has been popular across many different cultures throughout history. The Indian tandoor oven and the Japanese mushikamado rice cooker are just two examples of this, and it is believed that the kamado was introduced to Japan from China between 300-500 A.D.
After World War 2, American soldiers who discovered these traditional cooking ovens while serving in Japan shipped them home so that they could continue to enjoy using them. Thus, the West was introduced to kamado cooking, and eventually, American companies started to manufacture their own versions.Anatomy of a kamado grill
A kamado grill is made up of an egg-shaped dome and base, with a hinge to open the dome and a thermometer on the dome to keep an eye on the temperature. There are top and bottom vents for controlling temperature and drawing in oxygen.
Inside you will find a firebox with a fire grate at the bottom, where you will set up your charcoal, usually with holes to allow the air to flow. There is a grate in the middle of the grill for placing your food on whilst it cooks, and there are plenty of grate customisations available for you to make, including extender racks and griddles.
The bottom of the dome is usually lined with a felt material that helps to create an air-tight seal to aid heat and moisture retention.
How to control the temperature of your kamado grill
Controlling the temperature of a kamado grill is actually pretty simple, although it may seem daunting if you are just getting started. Once you understand the basics, you’ll easily be able to achieve and maintain the temperature you need with a little bit of practice.
To control the temperature, first, light your charcoal and let the kamado heat up with the dome closed and the top vent fully open. Once you get to within about 25 degrees of your desired temperature, close the top vent until it’s about a quarter of the way open and check the temperature again after a minute. Close and open the vent a little at a time to increase or decrease the temperature.
For the lower temperatures required for smoking, you’ll want to go about things a little differently. Start with only a small area of the charcoal lit, and the top vent open half an inch, and the dome closed, and the draft door open a couple of inches.
Now simply wait for your grill to get up to temperature. Low temperatures need to be reached more slowly, so you may have to wait about 45 minutes, but they are perfect for producing that distinctive smoked flavour!
When setting the temperature of your kamado grill, it is worth bearing in mind that it is a lot easier to put the temperature up than it is to lower it, and while charcoal can usually be used at least twice, you will need to use fresh charcoal for really high temperature searing.
We hope this has given you a good base knowledge of what a kamado grill is and how to use it! They are a brilliant and versatile tool to own if you love cooking, and if this guide has inspired you to pick up one of your own then be sure to check out the range we stock here at Sous Vide Tools.