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Trying to decide on first Joe


DeepSouth
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I’m about to buy a Kamado, it’ll be my first. I’ve been using a Phoenix gas grill for a very long time but it’s time for a change. 
 

I have decided on a Kamado Joe, my budget is in Classic 3 or Big Joe 2 neighborhood and I really don’t know which to get. 
 

It’s just me the wife now so I’m not sure the extra size will be needed 85% of the time.  However,  I do enjoy having family over occasionally and doing some larger cooks for church gatherings.  


There seems to be a lot of knowledge and experience around here so I figured I’d ask for advise. I’m just not sure if I’d rather have the upgrades of the Classic 3 or the extra size of the Big Joe. 
 

So what do you folks recommend, big joe 2 or classic 3?

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Yoda once said " it's better to have the size and not need it , than not have the size and need it." I think an old sage said it's easy to spend someone else's  money. It's a tough call to make. There have been a few times when I wished I had a bigger joe when I'm grilling for my family when they visit. 11 rib steaks was a challenge. But you learn to make do with what you have. With an occasionally a large church group i might lean toward the big joe. Sorry I can't be more helpful. 

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I purchased my first Kamado this past spring - a KJ Classic III. My cooks are also primarily for my wife and I, but have also cooked a number of meals for 4. The grill expander accessory works well, providing a 2-tiered cooking area when more space is needed. It is by far my favorite and most versatile grill/smoker that I’ve owned. Having said that, an 18” cooking surface is kinda small, especially if setting up 2 zones. I’ve set up for reverse sear with 4 filets, but would probably have to mess around with reconfiguring the indirect/direct setup if cooking multiple larger steaks. Without a rib rack, I could only get 2 racks of baby backs on. My only brisket on the KJ so far was very small, excessively trimmed, and had the point and flat separated. Even a medium sized full packer would require a rib rack or something else that it could be draped over in order to fit. I have been able to get 12 chicken thighs on at a time and 24 jalapeño poppers, both of which maxed out the grill space, to give you some sense of the size.

 

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I don’t recall the different accessories between the Classic 3 and BJ 2. The SloRoller is probably the most notable one and I’m not sure it makes a huge difference over just using the deflector plates, but I do enjoy it.
 

I have a gasser that I sometimes use when extra space is needed, and I’ve also kept my Kettle, offset and Pit Barrel Cooker, but those have been on the bench since buying the KJ. Combo of Classic 3 and gasser is great if you plan to keep your Phoenix.

 

I don’t think you can go wrong with either choice.

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Id go with the Classic 3. if only for the 3 tier divide and conquer, and the slo roller. (but there is also the upgraded cart and side shelves)

 

ive cooked a 22lb brisket on my classic 2, i just drape it over a rib rack until it shrinks down a bit.

 

if you end up running out of room on the Classic often, you can always add the Joe jr in the future lol

 

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I'd buy the classic 3 unless you need the added space of the big joe.  try to think of some instances where you would need big joe space.  seriously think about that.  I can feed lots of people with just a classic.  Plus.. you still have your gas grill.  

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I’m with len440 but it’s just an opinion.  I’d go big. If I get richer, I’ll have both. 
 

And my buddy has  the Big Joe so we can switch out parts and accessories if needed. 

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I've had two 18" grills in my history (a BGE and a Keg), and now that I have a 24" surface, I would not go smaller again.  There are only two of us at home, but I am continuously using the space to have an extra pot heating a side dish, or more space away from the direct heat etc.  That said, I have a Weber Summit Kamado and there is less mass to heat soak as well.  I can light a chimney and have a 500 degree grill in a very short time, and I also use it like a kettle with the charcoal right up at grill height.  A little more fuel usage and time perhaps on the Big Joe.  Yup...a tough call for you to make.

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