Welcome to another article on kamado grills. If you’ve never come across this type of grills or you’re just beginning your journey with this brilliant grill and would like to learn something, I invite you to read further.
It is yet another article in this series, in the previous posts you will find such info as the history of kamado grills or how to properly cook with them.
In this article I would like to discuss all the key elements of a kamado grill step by step. I will use my personal favorite, kamado joe, as an example, of course there might be some differences with other kamado models, such as other features, but the basic structure is very alike in all kamados.
You already know from my previous entries about the past of those grills and what the modern kamados look like. You also know how to get the charcoal burning in a kamado fast and easily, as well as how to properly control the temperature. You also know what a versatile device a kamado is, being great for grilling, cooking and searing meat at low temperatures for many hours. Which means now is the time to describe the individual elements of a kamado grill.
You can learn more about the history of kamado here, whereas you can read how to cook on a kamado grill here. If you don’t know how to clean your kamado grill then read this post, and for now I invite you to learn about the key elements of a kamado.
Kamado Grill Most Important Parts
I will try to briefly describe the most important elements of a kamado step by step, so that you know what they are there for. As I’ve already mentioned before, I will use Kamado Joe as an example. The image below shows the structure of an entire kamado, of course other models might differ a little, but most of them are very similar to the below picture.
This is the upper air vent, the main purpose of which is to enable a precise temperature control.
Contrary to a popular belief, it serves its purpose well and for a whole lot of people it is surprising how important top vent adjustment is for temperature control.
In most cases it is made of cast iron or stainless steel, but due to both of the above being prone to corrosion, many manufacturers make the top vent of aluminum, which is completely resistant to rust and different weather conditions. You can read more about how to better control temperature in kamado grills in my another post.
Lid or Cover
The purpose of the lid in a kamado is to hold the heat and smoke inside the grill as well as prevent the moisture from coming out. The result is lower fuel consumption, better temperature retention, richer flavor of food and ability to cook meat for more than 10 hours without doing anything.
More expensive kamado models usually have special thick seals that are adapted to working at very high temperatures. Such seals are durable and they make it possible to keep everything air-tight, of course they do wear down over time and need to be replaced.
It is located on the lid and it shows you the temperature inside the grill. You need to know, however, that the temperature of the main cooking area differs from the one indicated by the thermometer on the lid ( plenty of sources claim that it is a difference of about 50 degrees, more on that here ). The situation is the same in every other type of grill, you need to learn to cook with a thermometer on the lid, the temperature of which is slightly different from the actual temperature on the cooking grates, which is more important in cooking.
There are also special thermometers that use a special probe to enable temperature control at the level of the cooking area or even inside the meat.
I recommend reading more on that, as such thermometers are versatile and very useful when cooking not just only on a kamado grill.
Most kamados have stainless steel grates, but kamados are versatile enough to work with many different accessories so that you can cook whatever you want. You can expand your kamado with extender racks, rotisserie, swing racks, griddle, cast iron grates, Laser-Cut Stainless Steel, Soapstone, pizza stone, rib rack, cast iron dutch oven, cast iron wok and many more. As you can see, there’s plenty of possibilities for one grill, having the right accessories allows you to cook whatever you want.
Contrary to a popular belief, it’s a very important element, as it connects the kamado’s lid to the base. Most kamados have a simple hinge, whereas the more expensive models are equipped with an air lift hinge. It’s a breakthrough change to kamado, the lid in other kamados drops down freely when closing or lifting the lid. On the other hand, a grill equipped with this interesting hinge reduces the lid’s weight by about 96%. It means that you can open or close the lid using a single finger. If you only want to, you can keep the lid in any position, the air lift hinge will prevent the lid from dropping on its own without your influence.
Fire Box - Fire Ring - Fire Grate
Fire Box - It’s the place to put charcoal or other type of fuel. The side walls usually have holes in them that provide oxygen required for the fuel to burn. At the very bottom lies the fire grate that I will describe in detail below. Located right above the fire box, on the other hand, is the fire ring, which forms an extra space between the grates.
Fire Ring – It is located between the fire box and the grill grates. It’s a ceramic ring that is there to create space between the charcoal and the grates.
Fire Grate – It is located at the very bottom of the fire box, it’s where you put charcoal. The surface of the fire grate has plenty of holes for the ash to fall through that is created when charcoal is burning. The ash falls through the holes in the fire grate right onto the ash drawer, which can be cleaned fast and easily.
These holes also double as air vents that provide the grill with oxygen, which is why you should check if the ash drawer is full because clogged air vents block the oxygen supply and have a negative impact on temperature control.
Stainless Steel Draft Door / Bottom Vent
It is the main source of air, the bottom air vent is necessary for the kamado to function properly and for temperature control. The quick explanation for now is that if you want to cook at high temperatures then the bottom air vent should be open all the way.
If you want to sear meat at low temperatures for many hours, however, it is enough to open the bottom air vent a little in order to limit the air supply to the grill. Of course, the top air vent is important for temperature control as well, which is why you can read more on that in my other posts about kamado.
Right behind the stainless steel draft door is also the ash drawer. It is obviously there to collect ash, which is created by the charcoal burning above the ash drawer. To throw out the accumulated ash, all you have to do is just remove the ash drawer, which is very easy. You need to keep the amount of ash under control, because too much of it might clog the air vents, which results in a poor air flow.
Now you should know a lot about the key elements of a kamado. Of course, let me remind you again that this article was written based on Kamado Joe, when it comes to other kamado grills it might be a little different.
I also invite you to read my other posts on kamado where you will find out how to cook on a kamado, how to control the temperature or how to clean them.If you want to learn more about kamado or buying a kamado grill for yourself, on the other hand, check out my opinion on what I think to be the best kamado grills on the market.
BBQ and grilling are my biggest passions.