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KJ Big Joe 3 vs Komodo Kamado 23"


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Hopefully posting this in the right spot (I might also post in the KJ section).


Need help from KK owners and those who have used/eaten from both KK and KJ series 3.


I'm in the market for a new grill for my new house and I'm really stumped as to whether I should get the KJ Big Joe 3 or a KK 23".

I currently use an Akorn which is good and it does a decent job but it's time for an upgrade. I'm somewhere between beginner to intermediate in terms of capability.

I prefer to cook/smoke primarily things like wings, lamb shoulder/leg, beef brisket / roasts and poultry. We cook for between 3 - 8 people. Down the track I'd like to start doing pizza.


Obviously cost is a factor but I want to try and put that aside for a minute. I'm fortunate enough that I can stretch the budget if need to KK as both are formly in the more luxury price range. Whilst I don't think I can go wrong with either I also want to have as much info as possible before deciding as I won't be going back for a second.


What has me intrigued is whether the series 3 with the sloroller will help produce better food/smoke profile all else being equal than on a KK. I know a lot will depend on the cook and not the tools but for now just trying to understand whether what KJ has with the sloroller makes it an equal/superior tool for low and slow vs the KK. Potentially I have been watching too much @Smokingdadbbq and how he raves about the sloroller and his double indirect method. I was originally KK all the way but I'm firmly on the fence now.

Has anyone had the opportunity to do a side by side comparison? Cooked on both? Have any thoughts? At the end of the day I know I won't regret getting either one but I enjoy this part of the research and purchasing process.


The areas where I feel KJ has an edge is the broader userbase (so more content/help available), potential longevity of the company for spare parts, etc - as awesome as Dennis is, KK is a smaller operation and there's a risk that KK ends if he's no longer at the helm.


KK on the hand appears to be a much better build quality and parts. They look amazing and seem to have thought of everything. I feel a KK can last a lifetime or two.


Accessories I'd be looking to get the rotisserie on both, possibly a DoJoe on the KJ. I'd probably get the smoking tube on the KK.


I'm looking to compare the 2 that seem to be the most similar in size. If I were to go something bigger then obviously KK makes perfect sense but the budget won't go that far.


Please help :)




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Some people may not like this and will certainly disagree, but I always have a couple concerns when I read posts like this...  I was in this same position for many years and almost pulled the trigger on a KK numerous times.  I even went and visited another KK owner to check one out in person.


I think firstly, you are comparing a kamado (Komodo) with a build of components and quality that is just simply an order of magnitude higher than almost all others.  This factor ALONE to me is the one and ONLY deciding factor.  If you want the ultimate in kamado cooking and temperature stability and this level of build quality and a kamado that will easily last for 50 years...this alone should pretty well be the deciding factor.  Their "wow" factor alone is worth $$ to many and I craved one for that reason too.


That said, my second general concern is that people still think kamado grills produce better food than other grills.  IMO, kamado grills are a great COMPROMISE to owning multiple grills, and they do many things very well (and some better than others).  But, they do NOT produce better smoked food than inexpensive smokers (Weber Smokey Mountain for example) or a decent stick burner.  They do not produce a better pizza than the now inexpensive and numerous pizza ovens available or a brick oven or dedicated pizza oven.  They do not make a better steak than many other grills (PK, Weber kettle, Hibachi etc.).  The best steaks I have EVER eaten have come from a rusty grate over an open campfire.


Playing devil's advocate, I hope your expectation is not that a Komodo will really output food a factor better than a KJ (or any other brand of kamado for that matter).  During my couple years of research and investigation, I also saw many posts (many of also which "mysteriously" disappeared) from Komodo owners that honestly reported some level of buyers remorse when they found the food was really no different than their previous grills or they had too light of smoke flavor ("look up Komodo kamado and smoke pot") and they had a $5000 piece of art on their decks.  The effectiveness of the Sloroller has also be argued numerous times with varying results.  There is a lot of marketing in our world which can take some turns.


I think I recall that @Smokingdadbbq also reported at one time (may not still hold) his best brisket was done on a Kettle Joe even using water pans, double indirect etc.   Less efficient smokers in general produce better smoke than efficient ones as well...which puts both the KJ and KK at a disadvantage out of the gate.


Final word....damn, I still want a KK though!  I can still picture that 23" with bronze tile sitting in my yard! 


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Thanks @SmallBBQr

Really appreciate a post like yours. You have made some excellent points and hit the nail on the head with some that I'm battling with in addition to KJ vs KK. Is the Akorn good enough? I'd expect something to improve upgrading to a premium grill, whether that's ease of cooking, versatility or smoke flavour. The lack of smoke flavour is one of the reasons I am interested in whether the SloRoller actually works or whether it's spin. Same regarding the KK smoke attachment as to whether that produces decent smoke.

I currently use wood chunks wrapped in foil to mimic the smoke pot with reasonable success.

Aesthetically and build quality are important but to be honest if I'm going to be churning out the exact same food then I probably would be a little disappointed.


I don't have the space and time to tend to an offset as much as I would love to go down that path. My wife thinks I already spend far too much time on the Akorn.

I've looked in to pellet smokers but have decided against it for now. Likewise I've looked at grabbing a Weber kettle but haven't really looked in to the Weber smokey mountain or other types of smokers.

I'd probably get a portable pizza oven like an Ooni at some point as i don't have space for a proper pizza oven.


Steaks are not really something that I'm worried about. I tend to sous vide my steaks and stick a cast iron pan on top of a charcoal starter chimney with a fan blowing and sear it on that. They usually turn out fantastic. I also sous vide a lot in general so I generally fire up the Akorn and try and get the smoke flavour on to the meat before putting it in to the sous vide to cook and then back on for a sear.

I live in Australia so I'm unsure if I can get a grillgun but that looks like another way of getting that hot sear really easily.


We can all agree that the KK is well built work of art.

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I went through the same process last year.  I love my KJ classic and it has produced some of the best food I have ever had. I knew I wanted something larger, so I went through the same process as when I bought my KJ over 5 years ago. I looked at the Big Joe, XL BGE, Primo XL and the Komodo Kamado.  Along with the KJ, I also have a Green Mountain pellet grill, Weber kettle, Weber Smokey Mountain, Weber gas grill, Akorn Jr. and a PK Go (I know, I have a problem). I read through every post in this forum about those grills as well as each products own forum.  Like you, I kept going back to the KK and the fact that it is a grill built to last a lifetime.  After speaking with Dennis several times, and others on this site and the KK site who have them, I pulled the trigger with a big lump in my stomach. To say I had immediate buyers remorse is an understatement, I could have bought a couple of BJ IIIs for that price.  When the grill finally arrived, all the worrying and trepidation disappeared immediately when I saw the quality of the build. Now that I've had the grill almost a year, I know I made the right decision based on how well the food turns out on that thing along with the versatility. Three cooking levels (I have the 32BB), rotisserie capacity, grill capacity and again, the build quality.  Like SmallBBQr said, it's not a smoker, but it produces enough smoke for me and my family.  The biggest difference I've noticed is the moisture in the meat, chicken,  pork butts, ribs and briskets are another level for me. And the charcoal basket splitter along with the three levels of grates/half grates, I can have several zones set up at once for cooking a whole meal. The only negative is the weight, it has to live on the patio under my deck, so quick meals are usually still grilled on the KJ which sits on the deck outside my kitchen.  It is a big investment, and only you know whether it's worth it for you or not. When my KJ does finally crumble away, I will probably order the 19" KK.

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All I can say is I’m glad I didn’t find this site until after purchasing my KJ, because I probably would have agonized over that decision, too. I just took a look at the KK and fell in love with it! That thing sure would look good in my outdoor kitchen. I’m big on aesthetics which is one of the reasons I went with KJ over BGE. I liked red over green because it “pops” sitting in its niche in the kitchen. Very subjective, I know. Price probably would have kept me on the KJ vs KK, but it would have been tough. As someone said above, the KK is unlikely to produce any better results than any other kamado.

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  • 3 weeks later...

Thanks for everyone who replied. I've been thinking about this a lot and i think I've landed at my decision - for 2022 at least.


I'm leaning towards not getting a KJ, it's better than my existing Akorn but not enough to justify picking up the extra bbq and I can probably improve my Akorn cooking skills to offset some of the disadvantages. The SloRoller seems to be mostly marketing and while it does seem to do something, producing consistently better food doesn't seem to be there based on most of the reviews.


The KK is amazing and something that will remain on my bucket list but I'll probably also defer that for now as it is a significant sum of money for a piece of art that will churn out similar quality food. I still really want one but I'm going to use my head... for now.


I'm going to take some of that money that i'd set aside and pick up a dedicated pizza oven (i'm not comfortable getting the Akorn that hot), grill gun/su-v gun (if I can get it imported in to Australia) for searing my sous vide cooking and also for easy and quick starting of the Akorn.

I'll then look at either grabbing a mid range second hand offset or a cheaper drum smoker just to give me something a little different to the kamado I already own. They won't look as good in my backyard but they will give me flexibility and different cooking options.

I'll continue to work on improving my cooking and trying to cook more and more on the grill before looking at the KK again

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6 hours ago, defaultess said:

cheaper drum smoker

If interested, take a look at the Pit Barrel Cooker. It’s about $300 and does a really good job. It’s also small - I keep mine in the side yard, and can also take it with me for things like tailgate parties. Best thing it does is ribs, IMO. I can hang 8 racks of baby backs at a time. It’s the main reason I keep it around. The downside is there is no temp control. You just cook at whatever temp the thing gets to. Mine cooks right around 275°-300°.



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  • 2 months later...
On 6/13/2022 at 12:27 AM, defaultess said:


I'm going to take some of that money that i'd set aside and pick up a dedicated pizza oven (i'm not comfortable getting the Akorn that hot), grill gun/su-v gun (if I can get it imported in to Australia) for searing my sous vide cooking and also for easy and quick starting of the Akorn.


Instead of a grill gun I have been using my handheld weed burner for the sear and light if I am in a hurry.  Instead of little green bottles a 5 gal cylinder for fuel.  It will have more power than you want at WOT, but it is nice :-D



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