Jump to content

rdlphbr1

Blaze vs. KJ Big Joe III

Recommended Posts

Hi all - looking for opinions. I am coming off of three years on a Pit Boss 2016 model from Costco, 21 inch. I sold it this weekend and had originally planned to upgrade to a KJ Big Joe 24" 2019 model, for about $2,500. Then I saw the Blaze 20" Aluminum Kamado, with stand and shelves coming in around $2,750. Now I am a bit torn, but am leaning toward the Blaze for the following reasons:

 

  1. Weight - the KJ Big Joe is close to 500lbs and the Blaze is about 160lbs. Much easier to place on my raised deck where I want it. Don't have to worry about calling 3 neighbors to help me get it up there, or if it will put too much stress on the deck.
  2. Size - of course I think bigger is better, but I was happy with the cooking surface on my 21" so I think the 20" on the Blaze would be about the same at 20"
  3. More or less indestructible - my firebox cracked on the Pit Boss and the ceramic was starting to crack and chip in places. I wasn't the best at keeping up with maintenance
  4. Low priority, but I wouldn't have to replace any gaskets on the Blaze - I replaced the gasket on my Pit Boss each season and it wasn't that big a deal

 

My main reservations about the Blaze are, is there something I am missing about aluminum? How good is the quality of the unit, and is there something "better" about ceramic? I've done a good amount of internet sleuthing on the Blaze, but frankly after the product launched 3 or so years ago, there seemed to be a flurry of activity and reviews, but not so much activity any more. In fact, there's what, maybe 4-5 Blaze owners on Kamado Guru? Plus all the Youtube videos seem to be either from BBQGuys or Blaze. Not a lot of independent commentary and reviews to draw from, which makes me feel like I'm going on faith with the Blaze vs. Kamado Joe, which has a pretty solid following and reputation.

 

Thoughts?

Thanks
Brian

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
46 minutes ago, rdlphbr1 said:

Hi all - looking for opinions. I am coming off of three years on a Pit Boss 2016 model from Costco, 21 inch. I sold it this weekend and had originally planned to upgrade to a KJ Big Joe 24" 2019 model, for about $2,500. Then I saw the Blaze 20" Aluminum Kamado, with stand and shelves coming in around $2,750. Now I am a bit torn, but am leaning toward the Blaze for the following reasons:

 

  1. Weight - the KJ Big Joe is close to 500lbs and the Blaze is about 160lbs. Much easier to place on my raised deck where I want it. Don't have to worry about calling 3 neighbors to help me get it up there, or if it will put too much stress on the deck.
  2. Size - of course I think bigger is better, but I was happy with the cooking surface on my 21" so I think the 20" on the Blaze would be about the same at 20"
  3. More or less indestructible - my firebox cracked on the Pit Boss and the ceramic was starting to crack and chip in places. I wasn't the best at keeping up with maintenance
  4. Low priority, but I wouldn't have to replace any gaskets on the Blaze - I replaced the gasket on my Pit Boss each season and it wasn't that big a deal

 

My main reservations about the Blaze are, is there something I am missing about aluminum? How good is the quality of the unit, and is there something "better" about ceramic? I've done a good amount of internet sleuthing on the Blaze, but frankly after the product launched 3 or so years ago, there seemed to be a flurry of activity and reviews, but not so much activity any more. In fact, there's what, maybe 4-5 Blaze owners on Kamado Guru? Plus all the Youtube videos seem to be either from BBQGuys or Blaze. Not a lot of independent commentary and reviews to draw from, which makes me feel like I'm going on faith with the Blaze vs. Kamado Joe, which has a pretty solid following and reputation.

 

Thoughts?

Thanks
Brian

 

From a service standpoint, you don’t have to worry about Kamado Joe being in business with the company’s exponential growth.  I’m not sure why you wouldn’t look at the much light Big Joe 2 if weight is a concern.  

 

I don’t think there’s anything wrong with the Blaze outside a lack of interest in the company’s products doesn’t bode well for the company’s longevity.  Blaze made a mistake with the size at 20 inches.  People love their toys.  They would’ve been better off to do an 18 and 24 inch models to maximize the number of potential add-on’s.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I saw a blaze up close at a trade show a while back and I was SUPER IMPRESSED with everything I saw.  I would not hesitate to buy that for one second if I was looking for something in that range.  As for comparing it to a ceramic, that's difficult to do.  They are two similar systems that will behave quite differently in their operation.  You need to look at what you want to get out of it in terms of cooking and accessories.  IF there are add on accessories that you are interested in, you might be limited by the Blaze.  If you are not interested in those types of things then it might be a tossup.  I can't really think of any add on accessories beyond the KJ Joetisserie or the new DoJOE that would ever come into play in being a right 'fit.'  

 

The blaze has ONE advantage that I can think of besides it being a lighter weight.  It has less thermal mass, which really is because it's lighter weight.  You can raise AND lower the temp in a blaze much more quickly than you can in a ceramic kamado because there isn't as much thermal mass to heat or cool.  

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

You would get the better deal with kj plus its bigger and kj has great customer service.alot of peeps have kj blaze not so much there is only a few who own it on this forum. And for them they love it ... Good luck on your choice

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
16 hours ago, Charcoal Addict said:

 

From a service standpoint, you don’t have to worry about Kamado Joe being in business with the company’s exponential growth.  I’m not sure why you wouldn’t look at the much light Big Joe 2 if weight is a concern.  

 

 

Well I was wrong - my Pit Boss was a 24" so I don't think I want to go down to an 18" - I always managed to run out of room on the Pit Boss. So if I were to go with Kamado Joe, it would be a KJ Big Joe at 24".

 

But trying to get 487lbs up onto my deck is probably a recipe for disaster, so it would have to live on the patio somewhere, the downside is that it puts the grill further away from the sliding glass door entrance to the kitchen.

 

Which is why I was considering the Blaze as a compromise at 20" and light enough to go up on the deck next to my Weber and the kitchen entrance...ah, decisions...

 

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
19 minutes ago, TKOBBQ said:

You are referring to the total weight of the grill?  If so you can take it to your deck in pieces and it will be more manageable that way.  

 

I thought about that. I guess I could try that but I may have to add some support under the decking just to make sure. The Pit Boss was like 200lbs or so I think, two people could handle it fully assembled. I'm leaning more and more back to the Kamado Joe now...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 hours ago, rdlphbr1 said:

 

I thought about that. I guess I could try that but I may have to add some support under the decking just to make sure. The Pit Boss was like 200lbs or so I think, two people could handle it fully assembled. I'm leaning more and more back to the Kamado Joe now...

 

The new hinges are easier to re-install.  You can always remove the dome and the firebox if you want to reduce the weight and quickly re-assemble it on the deck after the lift.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

I know a guy who has a blaze. He shops at my store. He says the shell gets crazy hot. Prob not a big deal. He also says he has temp control issues, but to be fair his lighting technique is pouring lighter fluid over lump and throwing in a match. He won’t listen to me.  On the upside it’s bull it proof, drop proof, explosion proof and won’t drown apparently. I think the blaze looks wicked cool and well built. Kind of a hybrid of a kamado and a PK. I’d love to hear you review one.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

From a materials standpoint...

 

Specific heat/heat capacity of aluminum and ceramics are about the same, so the energy required to heat and cool will scale with the weight. And my BJ Classic is NOT 500 lb.! That might be a shipping weight, if you include the skid.

 

Heat conductivity of aluminum is 100X greater than ceramics, so the outside will get very hot. I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with a 750-800 F pizza cook, nor could I tolerate the heat with the lid up, as when using a wok. 

 

I would also look at the airflow inside. KJ's Kamados allow fresh air into the shell, around the fire box, while some funnel all the fresh air directly to the fire. My Akorn had the latter layout, and temp control was problematic (although several other factors also contribute). 

 

And then there's all the satisfied ceramic cooker owners out there...

 

Have fun,

Frank

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

as a blaze owner I can put some weight in their camp, the Blaze kamado is insane. The construction is so over-engeniered I doubt I'll ever be able to kill it. The look is fantastic, like a futuristic space age rocket. Functionality wise its also a blast, easy to clean, (no firebox to remove). I have never had any issues with heat control. You light it up 10-15min later you are at cooking temp and when you close all fans, about 20min later the fire is dead. It will retain heat for a lot longer though. with a full batch I was able to cook for 15h straight and still had plenty left. They claim you can go till 30h and I believe them.

 

a fieuw things I would have liked to see changed:

 

- the top vent is straight up, so rain can get in, and also it tends to get sticky from the smoke.

- Alumium is not easy to clean, and since the shell is so nice, you are going to want to keep it clean. I've bought mine in Europe and they have developed a product that can remove grease super fast, It's actualy crazy how good it works, but I don't know if it's possible to get in the US (weird thing to type)

- The bottom vent is not square like most other models so placing a controler could prove more difficult (I actualy don't know, I don't own one)

 

Other then that, the thing is a blast. I bougth mine early november and cook at least once a week on it. 

 

As for warranty: my temp gage tends to fog up a little (I keep it outside) and they are replacing it under warranty (I'm just waiting on the part) Their customercare  is great as far as I a concerned (eventhough I have to go trough an EU rep)

 

I would buy it again in a hartbeat. 

 

(I'll upload a cool video later, today you'll see)

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
1 hour ago, scarfmace said:

as a blaze owner I can put some weight in their camp, the Blaze kamado is insane. The construction is so over-engeniered I doubt I'll ever be able to kill it. The look is fantastic, like a futuristic space age rocket. Functionality wise its also a blast, easy to clean, (no firebox to remove). I have never had any issues with heat control. You light it up 10-15min later you are at cooking temp and when you close all fans, about 20min later the fire is dead. It will retain heat for a lot longer though. with a full batch I was able to cook for 15h straight and still had plenty left. They claim you can go till 30h and I believe them.

 

a fieuw things I would have liked to see changed:

 

- the top vent is straight up, so rain can get in, and also it tends to get sticky from the smoke.

- Alumium is not easy to clean, and since the shell is so nice, you are going to want to keep it clean. I've bought mine in Europe and they have developed a product that can remove grease super fast, It's actualy crazy how good it works, but I don't know if it's possible to get in the US (weird thing to type)

- The bottom vent is not square like most other models so placing a controler could prove more difficult (I actualy don't know, I don't own one)

 

Other then that, the thing is a blast. I bougth mine early november and cook at least once a week on it. 

 

As for warranty: my temp gage tends to fog up a little (I keep it outside) and they are replacing it under warranty (I'm just waiting on the part) Their customercare  is great as far as I a concerned (eventhough I have to go trough an EU rep)

 

I would buy it again in a hartbeat. 

 

(I'll upload a cool video later, today you'll see)

 

Appreciate the feedback - I was really, really torn, but I went with the KJ BJ III when I saw the preorder discount price. Plus I liked the 24" cooking area. But if I'm ever thinking of getting a second one I will definitely get the Blaze. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 3/27/2019 at 5:32 PM, fbov said:

 And my BJ Classic is NOT 500 lb.! That might be a shipping weight, if you include the skid.

 

Have fun,

Frank

 

That's good to hear - all I know is the KJ website reports the "weight" as 487lbs, when you scroll all the way to the bottom of the BJ III page to the specs. Hopefully that's fully loaded plus skid and packaging...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Join the conversation

You can post now and register later. If you have an account, sign in now to post with your account.
Note: Your post will require moderator approval before it will be visible.

Guest
Reply to this topic...

×   Pasted as rich text.   Paste as plain text instead

  Only 75 emoji are allowed.

×   Your link has been automatically embedded.   Display as a link instead

×   Your previous content has been restored.   Clear editor

×   You cannot paste images directly. Upload or insert images from URL.

Loading...

×
×
  • Create New...