For centuries, people have cooked in clay vessels. Evidence of clay cooking vessels have been found all over the world. From the tandoor cooker in India to the mushikamodo in Japan, it’s believed that these are the precursors to today’s kamado style cooker.
Kamados became popular in the US after World War II. Today, there are a number of companies making kamado style cookers using ceramic and refractory materials in their construction. Big Green Egg, Kamado, California Kamado, Primo, Grill Dome all make a kamado style cooker.
There are many advantages to this style of cooker:
- Temperature Control – once the ceramic material comes up to temp, it retains the heat for hours and doesn’t require a large fire to maintain that temp.
- Low Fuel Consumption – as stated above, since the ceramic is radiating retained heat, only a small fire is needed for low temperature smoking.
- Moisture – this style of cooker does not require a pan for water or other liquids. The ceramic retains the moisture in the cooking chamber and produces moist & flavorful results
- Grill or Smoke – Of course you can cook indirect on lots of grills, but few afford you the ability to smoke or grill equally well.
Of course there are some drawbacks to any product, and the kamado style cooker is no exception.
- Capacity – Although you can add additional cooking grates higher into the dome, there’s no getting around the fact that capacity can be an issue if you often cook for large groups.
- Portability – These things are heavy. As such, they’re not great for tailgating, camping etc.
As I mentioned in a previous post, my current setup for BBQ is a large Big Green Egg. Personally, I find that the advantages to a ceramic cooker grossly outweigh the disadvantages. Having said that, I do find myself wondering what my next cooker will be. I think I’ll always have a BGE, but I could see adding something to my arsenal for larger cooks. A Stumps maybe….or an FEC-100? Stay tuned!