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Big Joe or Classic


Will S.
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I am looking at Kamado Joe grills.  A few questions:

 

1. I'm sold on the quality and the cooking benefits.  Now to size.  My thinking is the Big Joe will cover me for all cookouts, large and small.  However, I don't need that capacity often, and a classic would probably cover 95% of my cooking.  I don't mind going bigger, even think it might be smart.  But I'm wondering if I do, will I be locking myself into using more coal cooking smaller quantities in the Big Joe?  Example, if I'm cooking 4 nice steaks, will I have to burn more coal to cook them in a big Joe vs a classic?  I'm leaning towards Big Joe, just trying to understand if I do, am I buying a gas guzzler (coal guzzler)?

 

2. These things seem to have very long lives.  Outside of cracks and something hidden, is there really much downside to buying one a few years old second hand?  Anything besides cracks to look out for?

 

3. I've been reading to see if BGE or KJ has a big enough edge to really matter.  Looks to me like they are both incredible products and I can't go wrong either way.  Seem right?

 

Thanks, I hope to be contributing soon!

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1). With the divide and conquer (which I love) consider that sometimes your usable cooking space is going to be 1/2 the grill. 

 

2).  Warranty is usually only valid for the original owner. That is the biggest drawback to buying used. That said, I found a black Big Joe close enough to buy and I went for it regardless of warranty considerations.

 

3).  Both great products for sure. The new Kamado Joe’s do have some innovative features though. But you can’t go wrong either way. 

 

Just go go with your gut....

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1) I started with a bigjoe, I filled it up once or twice a week to cook dinner and have leftovers. It was great.   Work life changed and I started cooking more.  Not I use the KJC 95 % of the time. 

 

2) warranty’s are not transfers, even cracked fireboxes get expensive quick

 

3) both products will produce great food.  KJ is a clear winner in customer service, warranty, innovation, ease of use.  BGE has a larger company run forum, see eggheads.  Even those folks say their forum is the biggest selling point on BGE.  Thing is, most of them welcome KJ owners.  

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I"m clear on answers to 2 & 3.  On 1, I think you are saying, don't sweat overusing the coal.  Kismet, I think you are saying I can even control it by using 1/2 the grill for normal cooking.  No need to reply unless I misread.  Thanks for confirmation.  

 

One more question: If I can get a Big Joe II for $1300 delivered, new, is that as smoking a deal as it looks?

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12 hours ago, Will S. said:

I"m clear on answers to 2 & 3.  On 1, I think you are saying, don't sweat overusing the coal.  Kismet, I think you are saying I can even control it by using 1/2 the grill for normal cooking.  No need to reply unless I misread.  Thanks for confirmation.  

 

One more question: If I can get a Big Joe II for $1300 delivered, new, is that as smoking a deal as it looks?

 

 

Ok, so I am not a lump miser. No issue with those that are (more power to ‘em), but I am not in that camp. As far as I’m concerned it’s no different than putting gas in my vehicles and I usually drive either a Suburban or a truck....

 

However my comment was more directed towards cooking area.  Keep in mind when you setup for 2 zone cooking each zone is only half of the grate. So what is plenty of room in a single zone cook is suddenly really tight once you go to two zones and cut your cooking area in half. But I envy those that get by just fine with a Classic.  I just can’t seem to make it work as well as others. But I’m not real fond of cooking over the edges of the fire bowl and such either. I like to keep everything over the fire (part of my cleanliness glitch).  

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I do not own a Big Joe but one is in the plan as my retirement gift to myself next year.  I love my Classic and use it a lot, however, I find myself running short of space for some tasks. I like to grill things like potatoes and corn that take a lot of grill space. I have a bunch of other options for doing that at my house so it's not a big deal. If I had to depend on a kamado to do that on a full time basis, then the Big Joe would be my preferred choice. 

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On 12/26/2017 at 10:57 PM, Will S. said:

I am looking at Kamado Joe grills.  A few questions:

 

1. I'm sold on the quality and the cooking benefits.  Now to size.  My thinking is the Big Joe will cover me for all cookouts, large and small.  However, I don't need that capacity often, and a classic would probably cover 95% of my cooking.  I don't mind going bigger, even think it might be smart.  But I'm wondering if I do, will I be locking myself into using more coal cooking smaller quantities in the Big Joe?  Example, if I'm cooking 4 nice steaks, will I have to burn more coal to cook them in a big Joe vs a classic?  I'm leaning towards Big Joe, just trying to understand if I do, am I buying a gas guzzler (coal guzzler)?

 

2. These things seem to have very long lives.  Outside of cracks and something hidden, is there really much downside to buying one a few years old second hand?  Anything besides cracks to look out for?

 

3. I've been reading to see if BGE or KJ has a big enough edge to really matter.  Looks to me like they are both incredible products and I can't go wrong either way.  Seem right?

 

Thanks, I hope to be contributing soon!

My two cents:

 

1.  I have a Big Joe, I love it.  However, like you mention it's larger than I really have need for most of the time.  It doesn't necessarily use more fuel, that I've noticed, but it does take longer to heat up the whole space.  Most of the time that's not a problem but you have to plan for it.  I use my Akorn Jr a lot for smaller cooks, it's just quicker and uses far less fuel.

 

2.  Warranty as others have mentioned.  It will last forever so long as you take care of it though, and I've actually heard others getting warranty issues handled after buying used.

 

3.  They are both the same thing really.  For me, I absolutely hate BGE color.  Like really can't stand it.  Also, no divide and conquer out of the box which is a great cooking method a lot of the time.  In the end they are totally comparable and similar accessories for both really make the price kind of a non issue unless you're buying brand new and get a KJ at a roadshow, which will save a few hundred.

 

Honestly if I had it to do over again I probably would go with the Classic.  I very rarely, although do occasionally, need the space the BJ has and could have gotten by just fine with the Classic.  Char Griller is also coming out with a ceramic Akorn, probably in the spring, and it looks to be a solid option as well as it's sized a bit larger than the Classic but smaller than the BJ and priced very competitively ($600).  Hope that helps and welcome to the community!

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  • 2 weeks later...

Will,

I went thru the same set of questions as you prior to my purchase.  I bought the Bij Joe and have been very happy with my purchase.  The decision came down to the fact that the Big Joe is better suited for two zone cooking.  I like to use the Big Joe as a smoker, but I actually use it more as a grill and the extra space is bette for a two zone setup.  You can cook everything on a Big Joe that you can cook on a class is, but the reverse is not true due to the smaller size.  Hope that helps and good luck with your decision.

John

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I'd guess at least 80-85% of my cooks are for just my wife and I, and generally they're fast & hot. But I went with the Big Joe because I wanted to have the space to do big quantities when I do a low & slow. I don't have the Classic to compare to, but my fuel consumption is so incredibly more efficient than it was with my Weber kettle that I don't care if it's not quite as good as it could have been with the KJ Classic.

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Glad I found this forum!  I'm looking at the KJ lineup and torn between the two.  My local shop is selling the Big Joe for about $800 more so it's a tough decision.  I like the extra real estate plus the divide and conquer setup means I could zone smaller meals.  But it's nearly double the price. 

 

Also considering an XL BGE, Weber Summit or Blaze Kamado.  Too many good choices.  Lol

 

 

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5 minutes ago, Jsk0703 said:

Glad I found this forum!  I'm looking at the KJ lineup and torn between the two.  My local shop is selling the Big Joe for about $800 more so it's a tough decision.  I like the extra real estate plus the divide and conquer setup means I could zone smaller meals.  But it's nearly double the price. 

 

Also considering an XL BGE, Weber Summit or Blaze Kamado.  Too many good choices.  Lol

 

 

If you choose not to decide you still have made a choice

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