Before we get started, in the interest of full disclosure we thought we would explain how we got this cooker. Kamado Joe contacted us in 2011 and offered us a Kamado Joe Classic cooker at no charge. All they asked was that we evaluate the cooker and give them our feedback, which we did. Doing a product review for our web page was, as always, our decision. (You can read the review of the Kamado Joe Classic cooker at this web page.) Then in April of 2013, they asked us if we would like to evaluate a BigJoe cooker. We initially declined for lack of space, but subsequently decided to give the Classic Joe to a friend to make room for a BigJoe cooker. To the conspiracy theorists we can only say that we already have 4 ceramic cookers; we don't need or really want any more, so we don't think we can be bought with the offer of a free cooker. But the chance to evaluate another brand of cooker? And this time a very large cooker? That we jumped at. Again. -- TNW
There have been quite a number of brands of kamado-style cookers showing up on the market over that past several years. Since we first reviewed the Kamado Joe Classic cooker in 2011, probably even a few more have showed up. And while most people know quite a bit about the older established names such as Big Green Egg, Primo, and Grill Dome, there wasn't a lot of information out there about some of the newer brands. However, back in 2011, one of these newer brands had been popping up on our radar and we had been hearing good things about them: Kamado Joe. We were given a Classic cooker to review and we found out that indeed Kamado Joe deserved all the good things being said about their cookers. We came to enjoy ours and in fact, used it more than any of our other cookers for everyday charcoal cooking. When we gave it to a friend to make room for the BigJoe cooker after 2 years of use, we had experienced no problems with it and it was still our go to cooker. So now we have taken possession of their "XL-class" BigJoe cooker and have produced this review.
Features and Points of Interest
The Kamado Joe BigJoe cooker looks a lot like other brands of kamado-style charcoal cookers. In fact it looks a lot like the Kamado Joe Classic cooker. No surprise there. It's a monster if you have never seen one of these 24-inch class of cookers. As we are writing this first section of the review, we haven't cooked on the BigJoe yet (we don't get it dirty until we are sure we have all the photos we want), but we are eagerly anticipating cooking one of our favorite meals, a large pan of paella!
Here is a list of features from the Kamado Joe website and product brochure:
You may receive your cooker already assembled by your dealer, or you may receive it in a box, unassembled. If so, you will find it very easy and quick to assemble your grill. Kamado Joe has put a lot of thought into the packaging of the cooker and making the assembly easy for you. Here is a slide show that shows how easy it really is to assemble a Classic Joe cooker. The BigJoe was exactly the same:
It literally takes only a few minutes to assemble the cooker. You need one other person to help you lift it onto the cart, and the included tools to tighten the bands. In fact, it's so quick and easy that we made a movie showing how to assemble your BigJoe cooker in 37 seconds!
Kamado Joe has a collection of videos on YouTube including "Assembling Your Kamado Joe Grill" that you can view for a detailed look at the entire process.
Here are some photos of how the cooker was delivered and its packaging. Also notice the convenient toolkit that Kamado Joe provides. Not everyone has metric tools lying around the house, so this was a welcome improvement.