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Does your KJ Classic II feel small?

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I've got the bug for a Kamado grill, my primary draw at the moment is to smoke some meat which I've never really done. Just got a family of 3 and we're not huge smoked meat fans or anything but want to give it a go. 


My gut tells me that the Classic II would be adequate but don't want buyers remorse for not stepping up to a Big Joe II but at the same time the BJ is about 60% more so the increase isn't small. 


Here's what I would likely cook at a time, each line would be a meal, not all of them simultaneously.


1 Brisket

3 Racks ribs

2 full chickens

3 steaks


I've seen people on YouTube fit a good size brisket in there with a V rack. Do you guys ever have issues fitting a whole packer?


One one hand I feel like the Classic will do what I need but don't want to regret not going larger. 


So of you guys that have a Classic do you regret not going larger or is it serving you well. 


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Well I’m no help since I have both. Started out with a Big Joe and bought a classic for a house on the river we have. Flood threatened and I moved it to my house and never moved it back. I use the classic more but if I’m doing three racks or something and a side in my cast iron skillet the Big Joe is it cause it all fits. Of course if you have a rib rack or another rack you could fit 3 in The Classic too. 

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I have a Keg (18") and there are only two of us most of the time, and while 75% of the time the size is fine, there is 25% when I find it too small...I have really started to get into brisket and that is really the kicker for me.  I'm waiting for the 2nd generation Weber Summit Kamado and trying for the combination of the kettle/kamado world and I'll be selling the Keg.

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My 2 cents.  I have a KJ Classic III.


1 Brisket - Haven't tried yet, but I will one of these days.  Doesn't look like a problem. and reading the forums, some people have definitely done it on a classic with no issues.


3 Rack of ribs - 2 on the grill, or 3 using a rib rack.  No problem.  I've used my rib rack for 3 full racks several times.  Works out great.  I could definitely do 4 on the rack - but Costco sells pork ribs in packs of 3.  So I just haven't tried or needed to.


2 full chickens - on the rotisserie or spatchcocked. No problem


3 steaks - I've done up to 10 steaks.  Fillets, not tomahawks.  Multiple times.  I've only done 2 tomahawks at a time, but there is lots more room for more.  No prob.


Also burgers, dogs, sausage, full (traditional) turkey, salmon fillets, pork shoulder, etc.


Not that you shouldn't get the Big Joe, because it's great for what it is. But every "sized to fit" option you purchase for a Big Joe will be more costly, and you'll also go through more charcoal (more ceramic and metal and volume to heat soak), etc.  So with the 3 people you mention, I don't see you needing the larger grill.  But, if you will cook for several more people regularly and will need the grill space, consider the BJ.  One other reason you might want the space.  If you cook everything on the grill, and don't cook anything elsewhere.


BTW, both model III's (Classic and BJ) come with some nice enhancements. Also to your question, with the 3 tier divide and conquer grill rack you can have even more grilling room available, should it be needed.


Now, if I was going to have 8 people over once a month, I'd buy the BJ.  But once or twice a year, for the difference in money, I wouldn't.

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While I agree those things are POSSIBLE (and I've done them all - I've been running this Keg for almost 10 years and probably prepared a thousand meals on it), this does not translate into always doing it easily or optimally.  Even doing a single brisket or a single rack of ribs (without cutting it in half) I lay tinfoil around the ends to stop the tips from scorching and overcooking.  Getting a good bark from having everything stacked and squeezed is also far from perfect.


 @zanemoseley asked about buyers remorse and I'm giving him my honest opinion.  I can probably guess that almost everyone that has an 18" kamado has some size remorse time to time.  But that has to be balanced against price and also running a 24" all the rest of the time when you don't really need it.  I've seen some remorse from 24" owners having to heat up a larger kamado as well.  Drawbacks all around...pick your poison.


But my bottom line...for the size of meals he want to cook, I think he would be happier spending $1000 on a 24" Weber Summit Kamado than on a 18" KJ.  Just my opinion.

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I just cooked a 15 lb packer on my Classic I and it worked great (like all the others I've done).


I've cooked as many as three pork shoulders on my Classic I at one time, and I can cook three racks of ribs by using a rib rack. I've fed as many as 14 people at one time; granted the different cooks were staggered but it worked out well. 

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I do really try to persuade people to get the classic in most cases.  Its very easy to fall into the go big or go home camp.  Most dont' realize exactly how much food you can cook on an 18" grill.  I had big joes and classics here until the 3 line came out.  When I gave my Big Joe 2 away to make room for the 3, I thought about it and decided not to get the Big Joe 3 until I found a need to have it.  My big joe 2 had been sitting idle for a very long time.  


My cooking is for as few as 1 or as many as 10 and i have never found myself wanting more space on my Classic Joe.  When you take the time to break down what you are cooking on the grill for any given meal, the space makes sense.  


If you want to be part of the go big or go home camp, I'd recommend TWO classics.  Then you can have two grills running at two different temps/setups and do massive grilling.  




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20 hours ago, SmallBBQr said:

... asked about buyers remorse and I'm giving him my honest opinion.  I can probably guess that almost everyone that has an 18" kamado has some size remorse time to time.


Not to say that they're not out there, but I'm not sure if I've ever come across any posts where the owner of a KJ Classic size Kamodo says they should have spent the extra money and bought a KJ Big Joe, or similar.  Starting with the obvious, compared to the KJ Classic III in my back yard, I'm guessing that change could easily have been worth another $750 so far, for the Big Joe, the accessories, the fuel, etc.


Yes, there are definitely those who want to regularly, and simultaneously, cook lots more on the grill.  And there are those who (legitimately) worry that they won't have enough grill space (Do they remember the Divide and Conquer can double their grill surface area? Oh well).  Either way, they know what they want, and they buy a Big Joe or similar.  It works for them.


But remorse (or perhaps, envy?).  Come on. 

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