It isn’t easy to decide between a kamado and a smoker. Why? Because both barbecues are high-performing and help cater to all the needs of the users.
Both the items make excellent additions to your barbecuing fiesta. Both the barbecues feature unique characteristics at different price points.
This comparison article will discuss them with an in-depth review and list out their strengths and weaknesses.
What Is a Kamado Grill
A kamado consists of one of the oldest ovens in the industry, dating back to thousands of years. This barbecue type is trendy in the market today. Their construction material consists of ceramic and insulated steel. A kamado is known for offering excellent heating retention properties, making them highly efficient concerning cook times and fuel use.
The fire in kamado is present below the egg above, where there is the placement of food on the grates. The fire functions via the wood chips and charcoal, allowing for a smoky flavor on your meat. The shell material of the kamado features natural heat-holding characteristics. These properties enable the heat to radiate back into your meat from 360⁰. Kamado is ideal for barbecues because it can quickly obtain a high level of temperature.
It’s a suitable candidate for searing and grilling under high heat. You can also insert a plate for heat diffusion right below the food and even above the fire. In this way, a kamado can also work as a smoker, displaying a slower and lesser temperature that locks-in both moisture and flavor required for tasty smoked meat. I’m currently using the Char-Grilled E16620 Akorn Kamado Grill if you’re interested.
What Is a Smoker
A smoker is quite basic but brings excellent results via manual work. It goes by different names such as a horizontal smoker, side firebox smoker, stick burner, pit smoker, or pipe smoker. A smoker consists of a small pipe that’s connected to a larger cooking chamber. Here, the smoke and heat go through filtration for smoking what’s within.
Smokers tend to simmer food under low temperatures for extended hours. The heat penetrates the meat for a smoky taste, crispy shell, and perfect moisture inside. Smokers also work as a grill with multiple models possessing extra grates within the firebox. It allows you to flame grill while smoking.
Some are also configurable to fill the primary cooking chamber with charcoal and use it as a large charcoal grill. Most smokers can run off as a combination of both real wood and charcoal. This mixture is responsible for giving an authentic smoky flavor to your meat. The Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker makes for an excellent choice.
Kamado Grill VS Smoker Comparison
Kamados are incredibly versatile because they can do just about baking, grilling, broiling, roasting, searing, and smoking. As someone with a sweet tooth, I adore it for its ability even to make desserts. Plus, you can also whip up some delicious pizza with a kamado. It’s also quite intuitive and doesn’t require much attention once it starts cooking.
A kamado smoker has a small to medium cooking capacity. Its fuel type consists of charcoal with chips and wood chunks. Kamados have low running costs and don’t require a power source. We love kamado for its ability to be user-friendly all the time. Both beginners and seasoned users can use it without any issues. It helps the users in obtaining their desired meal regardless of what they are trying to cook.
Kamados provides heat radiation from 360⁰ for even cooking when the lid is closed. Another one of its highlights is its fuel efficiency. Its shell has high-quality heat retention combined with a confined cooking area, allowing you to save fuel and avoid money wastage. I love using a kamado in cold, snowy climates because it doesn’t require any additional insulation.
- It produces smoked meat that is super moist.
- Durable and long-lasting.
- Deficient maintenance.
- It doesn’t take up much space.
- Excellent for families that prefer a smaller quantity of cooking.
- It’s usable as a stand-alone barbecue.
- The ceramic models are quite heavy and hard to move around.
- Portability isn’t its best department.
- Kamados are expensive compared to smokers.
- Its small-medium capacity requires you to cook in batches.
- Its Smoky flavor isn’t as good as smokers.
- Ceramic can break under high heat or if you drop it.
Smokers have a separate firebox that helps create space for oxygenated and energetic fire, essential for producing healthy smoke, giving bark and flavor. I give brownie points to a smoker for its large cooking capacity that comes in quite handy during occasions. I owned one before, and I saved a lot of money because it is cheap to run locally sourced wood. People that have a lot of trees in the vicinity will benefit from it the most.
You can smoke and grill with a smoker with a cooking capacity from small to very large. It runs on a fuel type of charcoal with wood chips or wood. A smoker has a high running cost but doesn’t require power. You can even switch the cooking chamber for using it as a charcoal grill. Since it comes with a separate firebox, you can add the fuel without disturbing the smoke and heat levels within the cooking chamber.
- Its durable nature makes it perfect for long-term use.
- Smokers are easily affordable.
- You can move it around without any issues.
- Excess storage area for utensils and fuel.
- You can cook large batches of food.
- Ideal for people with lots of firewood.
- It requires more cooking time.
- Large cooking capacity equals more use of fuel.
- Mastering cooking with smokers takes time.
- Some smokers aren’t ideal for freezing climates.
- Smokers have thin metals, causing heat loss.
- You can expect some type of leakage now and then.
Should I Pick a Kamado Grill or a Smoker
Your decision doesn’t necessarily need to boil down to a request. Both the smokers are quite different with varying benefits. Yes, you can use a smoker for grilling, too, but they are best designed for smoking. On the other hand, kamado grills are compatible with smoking, but they best cater to grilling, baking, searing, etc.
Speaking from my own experience, I have both the equipment. I use the smoker for slow cooking at low temperatures and the kamado grill for fast cooks. One doesn’t replace the other, and it only boils down to personal preference and convenience. So, you can assess the items and see what best complements your backyard barbecue needs.