Outdoor cooking is one of the most enjoyable parts of summer, but even the most talented chef won’t be able to do much without the right tools. This article will focus on how backyard cooks can elevate their skills by using a kamado grill.
What Is a Kamado Grill?
The first thing homeowners need to know if they are looking for a kamado cooker is that there are options galore, but not all of them will be a good fit for every kitchen. These ancient cooking devices have been around for long enough that there are many variations. The general gist of it is always the same though.
Kamado grills are egg-shaped barbecues that were originally designed in ancient Japan. These days, traditional barbecue grills can be found all over the world, though. Their versatile design allows users to grill, smoke, roast, or cook food depending on their needs. Just be sure to choose the right model.
What to Look for in a Kamado Grill
The most important thing is to choose a kamado grill that’s large enough to accommodate the whole family, but small enough to fit in the outdoor kitchen with air around all sides. The vents must be exposed to allow proper airflow and temperature control, which means kamado grills can’t be built into enclosed cabinets.
kamado ceramic grill, CC BY-SA 4.0, via Wikimedia Commons
A second thing to consider is what types of accessories are available for the kamado grill. For most outdoor chefs, it’s the accessories that make the kamado grill a perfect tool for elevating their outdoor cooking skills. Look for heat deflectors, pizza stones, and a cover to keep the grill safe from the elements.
How to Cook With a Kamado Grill
The basics of cooking with a kamado grill are similar to those that most outdoor chefs are used to using during backyard barbecues. These grills universally use charcoal rather than gas or another fuel source, though, so the first thing to master is lighting and maintaining the fire. Here are a few tips to help:
- Buy all-natural hardwood lump charcoal rather than briquets to avoid chemical scents and flavors
- Get the fire going quickly with an electric starter instead of struggling to light the charcoal with a traditional lighter
- Keep the temperature rising slowly until it reaches the final cooking temp, as overshooting it can cause delays of over an hour while the grill cools
- Start closing down the top and bottom dampers to reduce oxygen when the temperatures are still around 50 degrees below what’s needed
- Once the fire is started and the grill has reached the right temperature, backyard chefs will have an easier time getting their meals just right with a kamado than they would with a regular bbq grill.
Using Accessories With a Kamado Grill
After learning the basics and getting used to the different grill styles, backyard chefs usually start shopping for accessories. Be sure that they’re compatible with the grill, though, because some tools are specific to one model. Try out:
- Rotisserie attachments for chicken, duck, roast, or prime rib
- Grill inserts to expand cooking space
- Basket kits for easier rotisserie cooking
- Pizza stones
- And other accessories
The Importance of Quality
Whether they’re buying a new kamado grill or accessories for an existing one, homeowners should prioritize quality. Buy from a reputable brand that uses high-quality materials and a sensible design to prevent premature equipment failures and keep trying out new cooking techniques for years to come.