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BGE vs Kamado Joe

napiazzanapiazza Posts: 3
edited September 2011 in EggHead Forum
So I'm in a bit of a predicament here - shopping around for a kamado and I was dead set on getting the Large BGE, but today was offered a Kamado Joe of comparable size and light use (smoked on 4 times)...and for half the price.  Logistics are pointing towards the Kamado Joe - but I want to make sure I'm getting a good smoker for my money.  I know there is probably a bit of bias here, and I am very biased myself since the only kamado I've cooked on has been a BGE - but has anyone had experience cooking/eating off a KJ ClassicJoe?  Is the quality of food difference (if any) and BGE warranty worth an extra few hundred bucks and a three hour drive?  Thanks for the advice guys and gals!


  • I think this may help.

    And when you say half the price, do you mean half the price of the egg or KJ?  There is no warranty with the KJ though which comes in handy.  Check this out:

    I think anyway you go you will be happy. 

  • LDDLDD Posts: 1,225
    I don't know what experiences people have had with dealing with warranty issues. but according to their website, their warranty coverage seems decent. It might be worth checking  forums with KJ owners.

    sounds like a good deal assuming it's not used. the warranty doesn't appear to be transferable. (like the BGE)
    context is important :)
  • napiazza, I'd go for the Joe at that price.  They have been really accommodating to their customers and I wouldn't be surprised that if something major did go wrong, they would at least help you out.  I really like my KJ as well as all my Eggs.  But that price would be hard to ignore. 

    The quality of the food is going to be equal as far as I can tell.  Everything I've cooked on the Joe has been just as good as anything I have cooked on the Egg.  Really, the only thing I don't like about the Joe is the side table mechanism.  The tables are of course bamboo and lovely, but the tables can come off if you don't raise them properly.  Just be careful and you'll be ok. I like their raised grid better and their heat deflector better, for what that's worth.

    Another thing to consider is what value you place on the Egg forums and Eggfests and the huge family of Egg owners.  Anyway, good luck.  Whatever you decide, you will be happy with either cooker.
    The Naked Whiz
  • ShawnShawn Posts: 356
    I own a BGE and KJ. I like the KJ better for there gasket and temperature control. Also there customer service is A+. They are both very good BBQ!
    Cheers! Shawn My Blog: My Dads Custom Handles Blog
  • BGE. FTW!!!
  • VolfoVolfo Posts: 31

    I also own a BGE and  KJ.  I believe they are very comparable.  The KJ has a better gasket and a better temp gauge.  I think I like the KJ "platesetter" better because it is more versatile.  The BGE is ever so slightly taller in the firebox area, which I think I like a little better.  The BGE comes with the daisy wheel and raincap, KJ has a better daisy wheel cap (it won't flip all open when you lift the top) but no rain cap.  I can't tell a bit of difference in the food off of either one.  They both require a little experimenting.

    The KJ tries to sell you on "thicker ceramics" but I don't think it matters a bit, except maybe keeping the outside a touch cooler if you put your hand on it. 

    They are both good products IMO.  To me, the main difference is that the KJ comes with a gasket that will last a reasonable length of time and you may have lots of trouble with the gasket on the BGE.  My advice, whatever you get, is to calibrate your temp guage before you cook anything to make sure it is accurate. 

  • It seems to me that, the KJ would be a better buy than the BGE, especially after reading Volfo's post.  Why pay all that money for a BGE when everything is "better" on the KJ? Go there. I write it.
  • I think the thicker ceramic in the KJ will help more with winter time cooking. It should provide more insulation from freezing temps.
    2x Kamado Joe Big Joes + Cyber Q Wifi + Themapen - Pizza Steel + BGE Paella Pan + BGE Ash Tools + Woo2 + Open Bar Fire Ring
  • VolfoVolfo Posts: 31

    Well, I'm not sure the KJ is "better."  I think they are very, very comparable.  I have had bad luck with my BGE original felt gasket and the felt replacement I got, but the "mothership" has been good in dealing with me about it.  I also didn't know I needed to calibrate my thermometer originally and had some things overcooked because of it, but that could happen with either of them or both.  My KJ temp gauge was accurate out of the box, but that was luck of the draw because I think it is adjustable also.  I say it is better because it is bigger and easier to read.  I should say it is more convenient to read, I'm not sure which one is more accurate / substantively better.  If you are going to replace your BGE gasket with a true high heat gasket and don't mind doing that, and both the BGE and the KJ need their thermometers calibrated I think, then the "advantages" of one over the other seem negligible.

    I didn't mean to "down" the egg.  In fact, I just "sold" someone on one who is buying one for her husband for Christmas.  When she asked me which she would get, I told her to get the BGE because as a gift he didn't know it was coming, nad he probably would have heard of the BGE and would appreciate it more and there was a danger he might not know the KJ and might feel like he was getting a "knock off" with the KJ. 

    I think somebody could legitimately prefer either the BGE or the KJ, and they are both good products, especially if you replace the gasket on the BGE.  But if one is half price, I would buy it without hesitation.  I haven't measured it, but there does appear to be a slightly more room / volume in teh BGE firebox for more charcoal than in the KJ, but I just did a 15 hour pork butt in the KJ and had charcoal left over, so I don't think it matters.

    I do like the daisy wheel on the KJ better than the BGE because it has a lock on it such that when you open the top, the daisy wheel doesn't rotate and you keep your exact settings.  But I miss not having the rain cap to snuff out the fire quickly when I'm done cooking, which the BGE has.  To me, the main difference is the gasket is better on the KJ and you can get the KJ with the shelves and nest for about the same price as the egg without the nest or shelves.

  • Volfo,  I found that the KJ snuff-out time was a little longer, but comparable to a BGE with the ceramic rain cap.  I think I also found that while the BGE firebowl was taller, the KJ bowl was a bit wider, so I considered it a wash as to capacity.
    The Naked Whiz
  • SqueezySqueezy Posts: 1,102
    I had problems with BGE daisy wheel until I read about making sure it is rotated so that when you lift the dome the bolt is line with gravity and it will hold it's position.
    Never eat anything passed through a window unless you're a seagull ... BGE Lg.
  • drbbqdrbbq Posts: 1,152
    Well it's unlikely you'll EVER find a real Big Green Egg at half price. Take that however you like :)
    Ray Lampe Dr. BBQ
  • Exactly Squeezy. I figured that out on Day 1 with my BGE. I thought that was common sense. Anyway, for me being "in the club" plus the brand recognition is well worth the price difference. But some folks don't let that bother them. I sort of do feel that it's time for a BGE product refresh. Primo, KJ and BigSteelKeg are all innovating. But the BGE is a killer product that's hard to top. 
    XL 2010 w/ Self-made hardwood lump charcoal
  • JLNCJLNC Posts: 73
    Two minor things that made the difference for me -- the stainless grates and the "pre-cut" (not cracked) firebox, could both be considered innovative (though I guess other folks had stainless grates before).  Without these two fairly recent changes, I may have gone in a different direction with my purchase.  With that said, here are a few of the things that should be addressed:

    -Nest has those rubber pieces that melt the first time you get high heat. They have to know this-- it should be changed.
    -Stainless hardware.  Other companies have stainless bands and other hardware standard.  BGE could even offer it as an option--- I'd pay more for it.
    - Plate setter should be standard equipment.
    - Wood mates should come with an outdoor varnish. 
    - Better gasket.  If they send you a "high heat" Nomex replacement when yours fries, it should be standard equipment.  

    If there had been a Joe dealer in town, I might have also gone in another direction--- though my dealer turned out to be a real dud.   
  • Question for those who own the Kamado Joe - Do they have a lifetime warranty on the ceramics?
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • JLNCJLNC Posts: 73
    20 year on ceramics.
  • Hillbilly-HightechHillbilly-Hightech Posts: 966
    edited November 2011
    20 year on ceramics.
    JLNC - thanks for the info. I think things like warranty, customer service, reputation, price, available accessories, available "help" (forums, videos, customer service #s, etc) should all be considered when choosing one vs the other.

    Personally, I don't think a person can go wrong w/ either in terms of the quality of cooking results, as they are both kamado-style cookers, which are arguably superior & more versatile to what is deemed more "traditional" in our culture (though, ironically, kamados have been around for a LOT longer than stainless steel grills).
    Don't get set into one form, adapt it and build your own, and let it grow, be like water. Empty your mind, be formless, shapeless — like water. Now you put water in a cup, it becomes the cup... Now water can flow or it can crash. Be water, my friend. - Bruce Lee
  • I have both BGE's and a Kamado Joe. The Kamado Joe was my original ceramic cooker. I like both brands, and probably use them in equal amounts since they are different sizes. I think one important consideration is the local dealer and in the area where I live (Birmingham, AL), my KJ dealer is about as good as they get. I have never gotten the attention, respect or appreciation from the local BGE dealer that I have from the KJ dealer. I know that is a local thing and doesn't speak to the product, but frankly, other than the gasket thing, I find that the cookers themselves are equally outstanding cookers. I like the nest design better on the KJ, but I'm moving my BGE to a table so that won't be an issue. I do think, based on pricing, that the KJ is a better VALUE, you can get the cooker in red (which I think is really attractive) or black (classic) and I like the plate setter/pizza stone design a little better on the KJ, but that is a personal preference. You can't go wrong with either, but if I were given the opportunity to purchase one of them, I would do the KJ. I'm not dissing the BGE - I enjoy and use mine a few times each week - but that is my personal preference.
    Grilling is my Therapy - Smoking is my Spiritual Retreat.
  • The BGE is a great cooker; The KJ has a better fit and finish. Besides that, there does not appear to be much of a difference between the two.
    2x Kamado Joe Big Joes + Cyber Q Wifi + Themapen - Pizza Steel + BGE Paella Pan + BGE Ash Tools + Woo2 + Open Bar Fire Ring
  • ChokeOnSmokeChokeOnSmoke Posts: 1,898
    edited November 2011
    - Plate setter should be standard equipment.
    - Better gasket.  If they send you a "high heat" Nomex replacement when yours fries, it should be standard equipment.  

    Agreed.  These are the big two issues with the BGE in my mind.

    Packerland, Wisconsin

  • AussieAussie Posts: 75
    At the end of the day, even if someone could convince me that the construction and quality where of the same standard, the colors of the KJ are awful , IMHO. 
    There's no way I'm going to walk out on the back deck and say wow that black oil drum color really looks great ! Same for the mouldy red color .....what were they thinking.
    My blood runs green ;-)

  • jaydub58jaydub58 Posts: 2,118
    I have a Large BGE (5 years) and a Kamado Joe Jr (5 months).  I wanted the portability for going to the Oregon Coast.
    I was interested in the MiniMax, but, based on having to wait for availability and a terrific difference in  price, I went with KJ jr.  The above-mentioned accessories it comes with bear consideration.  Also, the jr size comes in a very cool nest.  The base mof it is a 19" wide circle with great stability and two very handyhandles.
    While I truly love my BGE and would not want to be without it, I am very satisfied with KJ jr.  The 13" cooking grid is a very good size and overall, the unit is a very very good cooker.
    BTW, I had gotten price quotes from local and nearby dealers of $549, with a 3-4 week wait for availability.  On a lark I called Ace Hdwre national customer service and bought one delivered to my closest Ace store in 4 days for $449, free shipping.  Done deal, highly recommended to anyone in the market for a KJ cooker.
    John in the Willamette Valley of Oregon
  • SmokyBearSmokyBear Posts: 371
    Hey, Black KJ Classic owner here..I actually LIKE the color! 

    Funny thing - they are apparently discontinuing black.  Too many SKUs or something.  And people are wigging out cuz many prefer the black over the red (I know I did!)

    I do at times wish I had bought the LBGE (or better, Medium BGE) though, just for piece of mind..(example - my KJ Classic burns lump like there's no, I wonder..hmmm..maybe the LBGE would burn LESS lump..)  That kind of stuff.  Plus this forum. 

    I do love my Mini BGE though - just wish it were a Max, but I have a SS table for the Mini and KJ with a cutout that the Max most likely won't fit into..
    Mini BGE, KJ Classic - Black, Cookshack SM025, Weber Gasser (mostly for Kamado storage!)
    they cook the same and have really good warranty. it worth considering. 
    XL BGE 
    Joe JR 
    Baltimore, MD
  • SmokyBearSmokyBear Posts: 371
    I'd say they cook "mostly" the same - you can't tell the difference in food taste between them, but I do wonder if the KJ is more lump hungry due to the different ceramics.  (That's something that's been talked about on the forum before but never conclusively proven one way or the other..)

    I also don't like how KJ the company keeps promising things (BBQ Wizard) and never delivering..I'd say BGE has them beat in that area, but KJ as mentioned has better gasket, better "fit and finish" than BGE - while the BGE has a nicer shutdown mechanism (ceramic cap vs. closeable daisy wheel) and patented vent (vs the KJ's weird "vent" that's part of the ash drawer).

    I do like my pull out ash drawer on the KJ, though.  That's a pretty nice feature, although I still use an ash vac to get the rest of the ash out of the firebox that hasn't fallen into the drawer..
    Mini BGE, KJ Classic - Black, Cookshack SM025, Weber Gasser (mostly for Kamado storage!)
  • grege345grege345 Posts: 3,515
    A friend of mine went to buy (sold out north NJ) a KJ and he was told they are shipping slow due to west coast strike or something like that
    LBGE& SBGE———————————————•———————– Pennsylvania / poconos

  • bigalsworthbigalsworth Posts: 658
    edited March 2015
    Lol very old post, someone is looking deep into old posts. Having said that someone said that the KJ warranty is 20 years but the website says lifetime on ceramic parts
    Large BGE
    BBQ Guru DigiQ II

    Martensville, Saskatchewan Canada
  • I had a large egg.  Sold it to my buddy and bought a Big Joe.  Loved my egg.  Could cook everything (anything) the way I wanted it.  Had it for years and then I saw the KJ in costco.  I fell in love!  It had everything that my egg didn't.

    It was like all of the stuff that I thought would make my cooking life better was sitting in front of me with this real nice KJ sales rep telling me all about it.  That night I did some homework on the net aand over the next month or so I decided I was going to do the unthinkable ... sell an egg!  All my egg buddies were stunned.  I was excommunicated.  But I did it anyway, trying to sell them on the reasons for my change.

    Since then, I have not been able to do anything right with it.  All my buddies come over and we stare at it as is slowly smokes our steaks.  For months I've been suffering through this, my wife fusses about my cooking my kids complain, my buddies don't anymore because we treat it like some kind of NASA issue with a fuel tank trying to unravel the mystery of what's going on inside of that grill.  

    I even posted my issue on the KJ forum and several days passed before I got the first response.  Then I noticed why.  There were only about 240 users on the entire forum... not just that day.  I was the only one on the forum when I posted originally but I thought it was a fluke.  But each time I checked it later.. I was still on the forum as a sole searcher.  Occasionally there were a couple of guests.  The only post I got was another guy saying he had lived my exact story!!  And my good friend also an egg head posted one picking at me.  So I have had the KJ for six months and am returning it to Costco.  (One year return policy if not satisfied.)  Awesome!!1  Thank you Costco and KJ for giving me an out on a deal that has been hard to stomach :-).  [Incidentally I was checking back on the warranty info on the eggs again and I did notice that Egg's Warranty claims that if you buy from a Dept Store / Warehouse Store that you cannot claim warranty.]  Shame on you Egg.  Stand behind your stuff. It's good enough and expensive enough for us to be treated like we are appreciated after the sale as well as before!  

    But no more, today, I am throwing in the towel and going to buy an XL Egg with a Small Egg to cook steaks and little stuff.  

    I do very much love the KJ design and the thickness of the ceramics and the staff when I called with questions.  And the warranty is better!  I think KJ is probably a an awesome company with a great design team.  But I just can't get the thing hotter than a few hundred degrees.  I used to have flames coming out of the top of my egg but can't get the KJ to get past 350 or so.  And that can't continue.  

    I am just dreading the first time lower the top of the XL BGE with that flimsy little piece of battered metal they call a hinge.  My KJ has a hinge that looks like you could lower and air craft carrier with it.  Their nest GLIDES across my patio.  They didn't need to add some extra (eggssessory) for us to purchase to make the nest do what it ought to do in the first place.  Heck, I think the companies need to work together.  Egg could show them how to bring the heat and KJ could show Egg how to make it perfect!
  • ChubbyChubby Posts: 2,956
    For the life of me (short of having the firebox turned the wrong direction) I can't imagine any reason why either one of these brands wouldn't come up to temperature!!
    That said I've had a Small Egg for 10 or 12 years now and it easily gets to 750+...and there are some people's Smalls who have trouble reaching there is that.
    Why didn't you just call their home office and speak with them,  instead of just posting something on the forum... just wondering?
    I spent most of my money on good bourbon, and bad women...the rest, I just wasted!!
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