Kamado grills are shell-like grills whose insulation provide ideal conditions for smoking and slow-cooking. If you have ever tasted slow-cooked meat then you will know that any grill that makes it easy for you to create this delicious style of grub is worth investigating, especially one that is available for as little as $300.
Read our Char Griller Kamado Kooker review to find out more about this entry-point Kamado style grill.
Char Griller Kamado Kooker Review
Features & Usability
Char Griller is well known for grills that are cheap to make and cheap to buy. Well this no longer has to be a slight on them, as the Kamado Kooker is a sturdy beast with an impressive range of cooking temperatures, all offered at great value.
If you know what a kamado grill is (and if not, a good explanation can be found here) you shouldn’t be surprised to learn that the Kamado Kooker features a shell-like body. This design features double wall one-inch thick steel insulation, preventing any heat from being lost. This means that in theory the heat-up time will be faster and heat retention of the grill will be greater, making your cooking time shoot down.
The bottom of the grill features a removable ash pan, which helps make the post-grill cleanup operation a quick one. Both the lid and the ash pan are secured to the body with metal latches, with a single strip of flexible gasket. This is the first signs of cheap manufacturing come into play, as the gaskets aren’t the sturdiest-looking we’ve seen.
The grill has a cooking space of 306 inches, which is smaller than the average grill we have reviewed here at Best Outdoor Grills. For many seasoned BBQ enthusiasts, however, this is not an issue so be sure you consider your grilling needs before dismissing this as a negative. The center of the grill area is removable, allowing you to add coal easily.
Just like the Broil King Keg, it has a small chrome-plated rack that can be popped into place and used for warming or cooking. It swivels a few inches above the primary cooking surface.
The main design principle behind kamado grills is for them to retain heat. This is handy for Char Griller because this allows them to use a relatively cheaper material such as steel instead of the far more pricey ceramic. While this is great, it does mean that once your grill is hot it will stay that way for a while and will take a while to cool down. Frustrating if you overshoot on heating up and need to wait to wait to hit a lower temperature. It takes patience and a bit of skill, which you’ll need to learn for using the Kamado Kooker.
As we have already established in our Char Griller Kamado Kooker review, this grill boasts an almost unrivaled ability to heat up quickly and retain heat, and this marks it very much different to any other grill.
By opening up the air vents, higher temperatures can be obtained in about 10 minutes, which is very fast. At high temperatures, the Kamado Kooker performs very well. Temperatures of 650°F produces great burgers, and 350°F does well for pork ribs. The Char Griller manages to cook uniformly due to the nature of its construction, which is a huge plus.
Problems arise when he start dipping below 300°F however, with seemingly too much air coming in from the bottom vent. While I haven’t personally gotten to the bottom of this, I have read reviews detailing this and it seems to be a construction quality issue. Arguably typical of a Char Griller grill. However this is not to take anything away from its performance at 300°F+, but something worth considering if you are serious about slow cooking.
There is a huge learning curve in shifting from a gas grill or most other traditional charcoal grills to the Kamado Kooker, but once you hit that sweet spot where you become a grilling master at slow cooking or smoking, you’ll be hooked.
Considering the gulf in price between this and other Kamado models, if you are interested in Kamado style cooking this is a good place to start.
In my opinion this grill is a bargain but you will need to be active in keeping it airtight to get the best results, particularly at lower temperatures. For achieving high temperatures in a short time, however, it is almost unrivaled.