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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good grill, BUT
EDIT: See WARNING below!

About a year ago (last memorial day), my wife and I decided we needed to get a backyard grill. I was all in favor of the idea but not a fan of the particulars -- meat cooked on gas grills always tastes like Butane to me, and I've never been a fan of the Weber charcoal grills, either, largely because of the rusted-out home for retired...
Published on June 19, 2011 by T. Simons

versus
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Close to disception.
Be careful!! The KJ23B is NOT a 23" grill but instead an 18" grill. It is what is called a classic size. 23" is possibly the outside dimension but the actual grill size is 18" according to the factory. Liberty House Auctions is not an authorized reseller hence no warranty. The current version of this item has a warranty and three additional pieces of...
Published 5 months ago by R. Bainbridge


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68 of 71 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Good grill, BUT, June 19, 2011
By 
T. Simons (United States) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
EDIT: See WARNING below!

About a year ago (last memorial day), my wife and I decided we needed to get a backyard grill. I was all in favor of the idea but not a fan of the particulars -- meat cooked on gas grills always tastes like Butane to me, and I've never been a fan of the Weber charcoal grills, either, largely because of the rusted-out home for retired spiders that we had in our backyard when I was growing up.

So because I didn't like either of the alternatives, and because I was intrigued by everything I read about them, I decided what I really wanted was a ceramic grill. But they were too expensive. So a year later (this past memorial day), when I realized it'd been a year and I still wanted a ceramic cooker, I decided to pull the trigger after all. I considered a few different brands: the "killer app" of ceramic cookers is the Big Green Egg, and they have the widest range of accessories and the most active fan base (to the point of hosting regular "Eggfests") but they also have a policy of forbidding all online vendors, and that irritated me -- I prefer to do my shopping online, without a salesman trying to upsell me extended warranties or accessories or delivery charges or whatever else. There are a lot of other potential options out there in the world of ceramic cookers, many of which may be great, and I looked at most of them, but for a mix of reasons (not least among them simple aesthetics), decided on this particular cooker.

I've had this grill now for about a month and cooked on it multiple times, and I've been pleasantly surprised -- the results have completely lived up to the hype surrounding ceramic cookers. For example, I'd be honestly surprised if I ever cook pork tenderloin indoors again -- on this thing, what I've found to normally be a relatively dry, relatively tough to flavor cut of meat was *incredibly* moist and permeated with flavor from the rub I used. I suspect this was because the nearly airtight ceramic grill retained the meat's moisture in a way that cooking indoors or on a "normal" grill simply can't accomplish. This effect is extreme enough that when I opened the grill up two days later to clean it, it released a still-powerful scent of spicy roast pork, and the grill surface itself had not dried out -- I got wet grease smeared on my hands. It's also very useful to have a charcoal grill that allows me to regulate the temperature -- I've been able to successfully transition some of my oven recipes over to this grill fairly easily, just by setting the grill's airflow controls to achieve the required temperature (i.e., 350 degrees or whatever). It does take careful fire-building to get the temperature up above 400 degrees, but it's definitely possible to reach very high cook temperatures if you want (essentially, you build the fire using only the largest lumps of coal, with no small bits at all, and you slide the top vent *entirely* open -- not the little small circles, but the whole vent).

I've also managed to successfully produce actual *barbecue* on it, that is, low-and-slow smoke-cooked pulled pork shoulder barbecue, which is something I'd always wanted to do. The air vent controls make manipulating the temperature of the grill and keeping it within a specific temperature range fairly easy, and the barbecue turned out moist and juicy and tender enough to easily pull apart into shreds, just like I wanted it to. I didn't use the Kamado Joe KJIHP23 Heat Deflector for that cook -- it was doing too good a job of deflecting the heat, and keeping the temperature below ~200, so I took it out and ended up just cooking on the grill, with a disposable aluminum drip pan on top of the coals. It can easily hold enough charcoal so that you don't have to open it up again during the cook (Filled to just below the grate, and held at ~225 the whole time, a 24-hour cook consumed ~2/5ths of the total coal).

So that's the good side. The downside was that I had a major problem with delivery; I ordered the thing on 5/30, and it arrived on 6/8 -- not so bad, except that it arrived with a smashed handle and a gigantic crack that had knocked the bottom section into two halves (much like an . . . egg). So I had to call Amazon back and arrange for a replacement delivery. Amazon sent me a new grill with no charge, so that worked out, but I still ended up having to wait till 6/16 for delivery of a working grill, or slightly over two weeks from when I first ordered -- not a huge deal, but extremely annoying. I suspect the packaging was largely at fault here -- it comes in cardboard box that's apparently designed to make it easy to set up the grill, but there's a clear need for more packing material around the grill's sides. Despite that catastrophe, though, all included components are solid and well-constructed. It came with an ash tool useful for cleaning the grill out, and the cart and side-shelves are strong, stable, and apparently durable. The metal parts are either stainless steel or have a powder-coated finish that seems fairly damage resistant, although there are one or two very small rust spots where the coating appears to have worn during transit Similarly, the wooden side shelves, have a brown woodstain finish which seems to have worn slightly along one or two edges during transit (I'd have been happier if I could've selected the plain bamboo side shelves with the black paint).

As to setup, I did manage to get it all out of the box and set up in the stand and everything by myself, but I wouldn't advise most people to try that -- if I hadn't spent the past couple years lifting weights that would've been a short cut to, well, a second cracked gril (and/or spine). The instructions say you'll need two people for setup, and for almost everyone, they're probably right (be sure to be careful and NOT grab it by the handles as you lift it out -- hold it as directed in the instructions).

All in all, now that it's finally here, I'm so far very happy with it, and surprised that ceramic cookers seem to live up to the hype. I don't know how other brands of ceramic cooker may fare, but this one cooks exactly as well as all those raving internet people said such things did. I'll continue to update this review with more detail as time passes.

A note on accessories: I did splurge on a few specific accessories after I did my research around the web (mostly following Cook's Illustrated and the guy at AmazingRibs dot com) and found out what was recommended. The first thing they recommended, and which I also strongly recommend, is that you grab a Splash-Proof Super-Fast Thermapen . It's a great general-purpose cooking tool, but it's almost a necessity with this grill; because of the way this grill retains moisture and the way smoked meats pick up a pinkish exterior tinge from the woodsmoke, it's difficult to judge doneness any other way, even with the grill's built in thermometer (which only gives the temperature of the air in the grill, after all, not the temperature of the food).

The Kamado Joe company does have its own fairly complete line of accessories -- Kamado Joe KJIHP23 Heat Deflector, Kamado Joe KJGC23B Cover for 23-Inch Grill, Kamado Joe KJSCS Stainless Steel Grill Expander, etc. The only thing the company *doesn't* offer, that I wish it did, was a half-moon-shaped heat deflector, to help with creating different heat zones on the grill surface. I suspect that you could also use accessories for the Large Size Big Green Egg with this, but I haven't tested that myself.

EDIT:WARNING:

Since I purchased my grill and wrote this review, this company has changed its website and now claims that buying their grill from an online vendor may void their warranty. While this explains the problems I had with shipping -- their packaging obviously isn't designed for mail-order -- it's probably a reason to avoid buying this grill from an online vendor. They do have quick and responsive customer service -- in fact, their "customer support" email appears to go straight to the company president. My problem got worked out, but given their public statements, I'd say that (just like the Big Green Egg, after all) any prospective buyers probably won't want buy this grill online.
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18 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Fun and Functional, July 12, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kamado Joe KJ23R 23-Inch Grill, Red (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Lawn & Patio)
After learning about the Kamado style grills, I started reading a lot about them and learning who the players are. I realized that the Kamado Joe was up there with the best of them. You can read about Kamado grills and cookers all over, so I won't write about that. I will tell you that the quality of this item is outstanding. It works exactly as they describe it. It's a gorgeous looking thing, but I admit there is a learning curve, especially if you've never use a charcoal grill. For example, little did I know that in order to attain the high temps (for example 600F or 800F plus) you must organize the charcoal with the big chunks at the bottom. It's all about ventilation. If you just dump the bag, forget about it. If they are all small pieces, forget about it. That said... there's nothing wrong with just dumping the bag if all you need is a "standard" grilling session for something like fish, chicken breasts or thin steaks.
I also purchased the heat deflector and pizza stone and was able to successfully bake a couple of 15" pizzas, they turned out outstanding. It was easy too!
However, for the bad news and a word of caution. As of this writing 7/12/11 there are ZERO online resellers available for the Kamado Joe grills. That includes this website you're reading on. I left the name out in hopes that this review is not censored. I love shopping for things here, heck I even have a Prime membership, but these guys are not allowed to sell these items and they do not care. What this means is that you're purchasing an item with no warranty!!
To me that was one of the big selling points. Amazing. Go to the kamado joe website and you'll see their own information, I'm not making this up. I even talked to the owner and founder of the company and he explained the legal battle he's in with this retailer. The bottom line is that they are not allowed to sell them online. Buyer beware.
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8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This is a Great Grill/Smoker!!!, May 16, 2013
By 
Sm0keEater (Birmingham, AL) - See all my reviews
I purchased this grill about two years ago from a local dealer and have been extremely pleased. It can reach temps of 600+ degrees for searing restaurant quality steaks or you can keep it low and slow at 225 for an all day or all night smoking. Smoking is my favorite. Get the bowl loaded up with lump charcoal, get the temp set, and go about your day. There is no need to watch this smoker all day. It will stay on temp until the end. Controlling the temp can be tricky at first, but after a few times you will get the hang of it. I was going to get a BGE originally, but I found the KJ at a local distributor for about $200 less. After closer inspection, it seems that the ceramic is almost twice as thick as the BGE. I don't know if that makes any difference while cooking with it, but it seems a little more sturdy, IMHO. The best thing to do is go to a BGE dealer and a Kamado Joe dealer and compare them for yourself. Then you can make your decision after putting your hands on both of them. The price and quality were the main reasons that I chose this grill and I haven't been disappointed once.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Close to disception., July 8, 2014
Be careful!! The KJ23B is NOT a 23" grill but instead an 18" grill. It is what is called a classic size. 23" is possibly the outside dimension but the actual grill size is 18" according to the factory. Liberty House Auctions is not an authorized reseller hence no warranty. The current version of this item has a warranty and three additional pieces of internal cooking devices -- flex rack, half cooking grate and set of two heat deflectors plus an ash removal door. Price elsewhere for a new item with warranty and the additional cooking devices is actually less than this item if the missing devices are considered.

Liberty Auctions, the third party seller, was not responsive to my complaints.
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8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This thing is great!, December 8, 2011
This review is from: Kamado Joe KJ23R 23-Inch Grill, Red (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Lawn & Patio)
I bought this item earlier this year. Makes the best pizzas we have ever had, and we have some good pizza restaurants here. I would highly recommend this product. The support from the company has been great! Definitely join this group on Facebook. This has been a great help with all the tips on how to cook using the Kamado.
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10 of 14 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Excellent., September 19, 2011
By 
This review is from: Kamado Joe KJ23R 23-Inch Grill, Red (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Lawn & Patio)
This product seems to be made of better ceramic than the BGE but that's just by (informed) observation. In addition, the shelves, base and so on are high quality and nicely fitted. I had a very early production model and the firebox (an internal part) cracked. The company shipped a replacement immediately. New units have a design change that avoids the problem.

Cooks great, holds heat a long time. Let charcoal burn in well before putting the food on if you don't like a smoky flavor (not unique to this grill). Watch it while starting. If you just light it and let it go full open, it will get past 900 degrees F by convection alone. (Probably fine for cooking silicon based extraterrestrial life forms).

Also very good for "artisan" bread (see Mark Bitman's "No Knead" recipe in NYT), grind your own (or just use whole wheat) and it's just like you would have had at the Colosseum. You will need a heat deflector stone and a pizza (bread) stone (see the website). Good for pizza too.

I use a Looftlighter Fire Lighting Tool to light it, works great.
The Weber 7416 Rapidfire Chimney Starter is also very good.

Real (lump) charcoal seems expensive relative to briquettes but it burns hot, lasts long and does not have chemical binders. You can use briquettes, but don't. (Big Green Egg charcoal is very good and widely available.)

(I'm an engineer. I bought the grill directly from Kamado Joe. (Actually:? Kamado, Joe))
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Can't go wrong!, October 18, 2013
This review is from: Kamado Joe KJ23R 23-Inch Grill, Red (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Lawn & Patio)
I don't really need to say much on this - this is a excellent product.
It's worth it's weight in gold!
We purchased ours 2 and a half years ago.. it took us a few months to get the hang of using it! But food comes our moist and delicious - I highly recommend if you like tandoori or Moroccan/middle eastern type food! You can not replicate the smokey charcoal and succulent-ness that a Komado Joe can do!
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6 of 8 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars WARNING: BUY FROM A CERTIFIED LOCAL DEALER FOR WARANTY, April 1, 2012
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kamado Joe KJ23R 23-Inch Grill, Red (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Lawn & Patio)
WARNING: This is a great grill. However, the manufacturer does not intend to have these sold online and will not honor thier waranty for online purchases. You are better off buying this from a certified local dealer
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6 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Great BBQ, April 25, 2011
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Kamado Joe KJ23R 23-Inch Grill, Red (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Lawn & Patio)
Great kamado style BBQ. I'd say this baby compares to the Big Green Egg, but I think it looks a bit better....Amazing taste
when smoking any meat...
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2.0 out of 5 stars KamadoJoe says to bad you bought the last years model, December 10, 2014
This review is from: Kamado Joe KJ23R 23-Inch Grill, Red (Discontinued by Manufacturer) (Lawn & Patio)
Just purchased a KamadoJoe Classic grill. I was expecting the Conquer and Divide cooking system. Instead I got a single stainless steel grate. KamadoJoe says to bad you bought the last years model. The Divide and Conquer system will now add $150 to the cost. If you purchase one of these grills make sure the dealer does not pass off the 2013 model as the 2014 model.
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