Kamado Joe Jr. Review
If unfamiliar with the Kamado Joe Jr., it offers a fresh take on the cooking experience with its innovative design on grills that is perfect for camping, tailgates, parties, and any other leisurely occasions your mind can dream up. The Jr. is especially handy being portable, and at a reasonable 68 pounds, is not too heavy to become problematic. The 148.5 square inch prep surface provides plenty of real estates to heat entire meals safely and deliciously. The 13.5 inch grill is ceramic, with thick walls that offer no escape for heat. This is hugely beneficial to meal quality, as moisture, and thus flavor, is at a premium. Flexibility with indirect heat is also a snap with the heat deflector plate that gives full autonomy to the head grill master.
A sturdy cast iron stand keeps the grill upright, and a thermometer built in to the front ceramic surface keeps chefs notified of temperature levels. A grate gripper and ash tool are included, with the grate itself being 204 stainless steel emphasizing cleanliness and longevity. The heat range the Kamado Joe Jr. offers is a robust 225 degrees Fahrenheit - 750 degrees Fahrenheit. The lighter structure is compact with a blazing red finish pleasing to the eye. The stand at which the grill rests is custom with applicable handles for swift transportation of the unit.
The Kamado Joe Jr. differs from other portable grills in embracing maximum versatility in cook preferences. These include smoky flavors rich in taste and enclosed in juiciness. The Jr.'s uniqueness does not end there, for wood chips can also be integrated into the model for a one of a kind sear session. Because the Kamado Joe can insulate so well with the ceramic, the heat required for optimal cooking is less than other grills of this nature.
Furthermore, users can grill at longer periods of time at their requested temperature level. This is a feature often overlooked, but is critical to those that know the exact degree they want food prepared. As a result, the cooking maintained is more consistent and renders it easier to replicate delicious meals in the future. Whether it be baking, searing, smoking, and of course, grilling, the Kamado Joe Jr. is a swatch of diversity and effectiveness.
The most glaring drawback for most consumers will undoubtedly be the price. The Kamado Joe Jr. is meticulously built, and as such, necessitates top dollar because of its pricey manufacturing. This grill is not for the faint of heart, and casual grillers would be better served at a more cost-conscious alternative. It is important to know that the grill itself arrives in a 'bare bones' state. What that means is that it does not include a bunch of accessories, and all the bells and whistles are often only attained separately. The ceramic exterior is tough but fragile. That seems like an oxymoron, but if you have ever handled ceramic before, you know that if dropped or hit with tremendous force, it will crack. This is more of a shipping issue than one users will run into at the campsite, but a potential problem to be aware of all the same. Placed side by side with other grills, the Jr. makes a statement, but not one every person wants to stand behind. Traditionalists will not care for this structure, as it is a long way off from the gas grills one's parents used in the backyard growing up. The aesthetic of the outside is an acquired taste but does not mesh with its environment as perhaps other models might. Lastly, while the surface area to prepare meats and vegetables is serviceable, it does not offer any additional side space to keep things like condiments, buns, or utensils. The wire stand offers no storage underneath whatsoever, so covers, and further add-ons will need to find another home.
Reviewing the Kamado Joe Jr. Cover
Grill covers are the less glamorous side of outdoor cooking, but one that is a smart purchase to extend the value of the dollars you've invested into the unit itself. The Kamado Joe Jr. Cover is custom fitted to defend its exterior rain, sleet or shine. The cover is also favorable in keeping scratches or nicks on the exterior to a minimum.
Though nifty in its abilities, the covers for Kamado units are by far on the pricier end. They are an important addition to grill accessories helpful to have at home, but at the end of the day, it is still just a cover.
Even though the egg shape is unique, throwing a less expensive grill cover over the Jr. can work if there are velcro straps included to keep the cinching tight. The added elements that keep the Kamado covers fade-free and waterproof are nice touches but can seem frivolous when more crucial grill items may be needed.
Kamado Joe Jr. Stand
The Kamado Joe Jr. Stand is an absolute must for the proper usage of this brand, so much so that failure to acquire one can result in potential safety pitfalls. The entire design of the Kamado's cook is predicated on being able to sit upright with minimal touching of the structure itself. The Jr. Stand is simple, but serves its purpose by being practical and lightweight. There are handles on either side to make the Joe Jr. mobile in the blink of an eye. Even though these stands won't win any beauty contests, they are a model of efficiency and stability.
There are few cons to the Jr. stand because it is such a concise piece of equipment. The only major concern is that the metal can be bent, and this can cause the Kamado to be tilted, which is not ideal under any circumstances. A damaged stand should be immediately replaced because it can make transportation of the grill nearly impossible if the weight is not distributed evenly.
Kamado Joe Jr. Tables
Tables for the Kamado Joe Jr. offer increased durability and limit movement of the base to almost zero. This creates premium cooking conditions that are uninterrupted by the grill being in motion or improperly sealed. Kamado Joe Jr. tables also look far better in outdoor locations than tacky metal, and together with the Jr. becomes the centerpiece of any campsite or pool party. Tables for the Joe Jr. also provide what the unit itself lacks on its own; freedom of more space. While searing the perfect steak on the steel grates is rewarding, a full cook space is lacking for additional accessories and flavor ingredients.
In most cases a Kamado Joe Jr. table is going to eliminate one of its biggest proponents to begin with; its ability to be mobile. Some tables can be transported right along with the Joe Jr., but this becomes painstaking and not worthwhile unless there is plenty of space to store both the table and ceramic. Utilizing a table limits some of the Joe's features, and is something to think long and hard about if you plan on using the Jr. for camping or tailgating.
Big Green Egg Minimax Pros and Cons
The Big Green Egg Minimax is a Kamado-style outdoor charcoal grill that seamlessly cures meats and vegetables. The ceramic used in its structure is state of the art to promise versatile cooking temperatures effortlessly. The Minimax prides itself in being the all in one tool for smoking, grilling, or oven baking all the same. Like the Kamado, the Minimax is a trailblazer in this relatively new field of extensive, precise heating and roasting.
The high temperatures the Minimax operate in offer "steak house" grilling; meaning a sear that is primed to the exact degree that is coveted by the person dining. Two dampers give more accuracy to its control, and the heat can be lowered immediately for foods that require less harsh cooking environments.
The 'Egg' guarantees that items like fish or chicken trap the juices, and come out with a moist, flavor-filled finish. Putting its 'oven' expertise to use, the Minimax can evenly prepare a pizza, and even bake bread or casseroles. Because the insulation is so foolproof the food being made never dries, and nuanced spicing and ingredients never get lost. 200 to 350 degrees Fahrenheit can smoke lamb, turkey, ham and more comfortably, and smoky wood flavor is conveniently infused into the final product. Even slow grind cooks up to 18 hours can be handled delicately with the Minimax.
If potential buyers can get past its signature green color, the initial drawback of the Minimax is that it does not operate well with several different food items cooking at once. Often times when people grill they would prefer burgers, hot dogs, ribs and more to be heated in unison. With the Minimax it is very difficult to make everything you want on the grill simultaneously.
Calibration is a huge selling point to the device, but the lack of additional space is not. Out of the box, the Minimax does not have a grand flat space to cut or prime, and it may not be the most sound decision if your recipes require a lot of upfront work.
Another possible issue is that the Minimax is very exclusive to its brand. This is to say that if one is looking to purchase accessories for this type of device, there are hardly any alternatives available. This can be frustrating as the add-ons to the Big Green Egg can raise your total cost significantly.
Kamado Joe Jr. Vs. Minimax
At first glance, it appears not much is different when placing a Kamado Joe Jr. side by side with the Big Green Egg Minimax. Both are thick, tough ceramic, and both aim for the same flavor goals as the other. The first difference is the obvious one; color. The Kamado Joe Jr. has a firetruck red exterior, and the Minimax offers the antithesis of that shade with heavy green. Both are obviously personality choices for the buyers and not things that are usually deal breakers.
Though similar in their framework, the Joe Jr. and Minimax have slightly different vents. The Kamado Joe Jr. is very good at giving chefs the opportunity to match delicious concoctions during future cooks because its 'sweet' spot is easy to achieve. On the other hand, the Minimax is a very compelling 'slow burn' unit, meaning it is very capable of taking on even heating over several hours. Each offers its own subset of accessories, but it is particularly impressive just how many the Minimax created to go in accordance with their model. In most cases, however, the Kamado Joe Jr. is a little more affordable than the Big Green Egg.
The Kamado Joe Jr. and Minimax charcoal grills are so exciting because they represent a technological advancement in the ever popular outdoor 'sport' of food preparation. Connoisseurs of this niche are constantly looking for a leg up on the competition, with new, fresh methods coming to the forefront in the shape of the cooker and how the process unfolds from beginning to end. These 'eggs' are very expensive, but users get what they pay for, as what they produce make the models worth their weight in gold. Another reason why these oval alternatives are massively gaining popularity is that they can have people grilling in a matter of minutes. Moreover, they embrace a wide range of skill levels, with beginners able to cook and sear their hamburgers, to professionals who savour the grind of smoking meats for hours on end. Though user-friendly, they are also versatile in their capabilities because the temperature can be honed to perfection with a little practice. The Kamado Joe Jr. and Minimax are grills of the future by incorporating the benefits of charcoal grilling of yesteryear and meshing them with new, unique and innovative cooking techniques.
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