How to Use a Kamado Grill?

how to use a kamado grill

It’s always better to have everything in order before you start using a Kamado grill. The Kamado grills are easy-to-use grill. With a bit of practice and knowledge on how to use a kamado grill, one can become a Kamado grill master.

A kamado can make food taste better than using a regular grill or even a standard oven. Most people have one or more of these grills and find them great for cooking. Additionally, the performance of this appliance is beyond one’s expectations. All it requires is a few practice sessions, and eventually, one can use it multiple times without any problem.

Learning how to cook on a kamado is a lot like learning about cooking on any other kind of grill, but with a few unique tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your experience.

If you’re looking for a complete guide on how to use a Kamado, this article will help you understand more about how to use the appliance, what it’s suitable for, and why people love Kamado cooking.

After reading this guide, you’ll know how to use one properly and can cook countless excellent meals ideally. Therefore, there’s nothing you can’t cook in your kitchen when using a kamado grill. With few exceptions, anything can be cooked in one’s kitchen with this tool. Scroll down, and you’ll find the exciting stuff.

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What is Kamado?

What makes a Kamado Grill unique is that it’s made from super-insulated ceramics. The quality ceramic kamado grill construction means simply maintaining cooking temperatures without worrying about external weather conditions.

The ceramic material of the burner also means that a bit of fire is enough to cook the meat ideally, meaning that charcoal consumption is economical. With limited charcoals, one can perform numerous hours of smoking in a kamado grill. Apart from smoking, this tool also delivers incredible high temperatures and effortlessly facilitates users when baking bread and pizza.

Why Does Kamado Grill Cooking Work Well?

1. Firstly, cooking quality increases with Kamados. It’s hard for beginners to achieve incredible succulent results when cooking for the first time in any regular grill. But with the Kamado grill, anything is possible, and newbies can ideally make tasty meals without much effort.

2. Another best thing about these is safety. The surface of Kamados isn’t as compared to a traditional BBQ grill. Therefore, it’s safe to use kamado grills, and also the appliance is perfect for beginners.

3. These grills are durable and can simply last for long years as the exterior is treated with baked-on glaze.

4. When smoking with a Kamado grill, the heat inside burns off the grease; this works best in giving users tar-free cooking sessions.

5. As mentioned many times, kamados are way best for baking. One can get an ideal brick oven-like flavor and crust every time they experience baking in this appliance.

6. The grill can offer an incredible heat temperature and maintain minimum airflow with little fire.

7. If you want a very moist and succulent meal, the only way to achieve this is by using a kamado. With reduced airflow through the grill, food remains supremely moist as the moisture is retained, and there is no evaporation due to the lack of airflow.

8. A significant advantage of the Kamado Joe is that it retains moisture, which is the crucial reason it is not recommended for smoking meats. It will also cook foods differently from conventional capable wood smokers and does not require a water pan.

How to Use a Kamado Grill?

How to Light a Kamado Grill?

Let’s begin right from the beginning. Kamado is a style of Japanese cooking that uses charcoal. It means that you have to light the charcoal every time you use it to get the charcoal grill hot and ready to go. This was a tedious, dirty, and time-consuming chore in the old days. Still, nowadays, there are several methods for making the charcoal ignition process fast and clean without using toxic tinders.

No matter which specific lighting method you choose, all said methods are effective and, more importantly, free of toxic chemicals.

Lighter fluid isn’t a good idea for igniting charcoal in a ceramic grill. There are several safer ways to ignite charcoal, which is why it’s better to use one of the techniques mentioned below.

Similarly, the following are the best and simplest ways to light your Kamado Grill, so check the ways and pick more straightforward ones.

Light With Help of Charcoal Chimney

Buying a chimney is a good investment when you always want an effortless process of lighting coals. It lets you light charcoal quickly and evenly. It’s not expensive and indeed serves its purpose well.

Firstly, you need to place newspapers on the bottom of the chimney, then insert the charcoals as much as required. Then, put the newspaper under the chimney again and set it on fire. You can use lighter cubes instead of a newspaper; it’s up to you which one you want. But make sure the cubes must not contain any toxic ingredients or chemicals.

After setting the coals on fire, you need to wait for 15 minutes and let the charcoal be covered with a grey coating. If you see the grey coals, then it means the charcoal is ready, and you can transfer them to the fire bowl of Kamado accordingly.

After that, close lid and manage the air vents for the temperature setting. Similarly, you can do greater temperature control as you want.

Additionally, even the large amount of charcoal burns quickly and evenly with a chimney. Also, if users want to reach the high temperature quickly, then a chimney is also helpful.

Light With Help of Electric Starter

Lighting charcoal in a kamado grill using an electric starter effectively gets a fire going. It’s a little more expensive, but it’s more effective. Additionally, if you have access to electricity, you don’t need to purchase tinder or charcoal often. But with this tool, you don’t need to buy tinder frequently, and you can light up the coals in less time.

To light coals using an electric starter, first open all the air vents, grill lid, and then you have to add charcoal into the firebox. Then you have to place the electric starter on the charcoal and wait for the smoke to appear and for the charcoal to get a gray layer on top. It usually takes about 10-15 minutes.

As soon as you see the charcoal start to burn, take the electric starter out and put it someplace safe to cool down. Then you can add some more new charcoal to the hot charcoal; this way, the grill warms up faster. You can set the heat to “low” and let it sit for about 20 minutes, and then turn the heat up until the target temps are achieved.

When it comes to the price, the standard electric starters cost the same as the chimney starter. The downside of electric starters is that they are dangerous and not recommended for beginners.

After you’ve finished using it, keeping an electric starter at a safe location is important. If kids or pets get their hands on it, it is a potential danger.

Light with the Help of Lighter Cubes

Another method is to pour a layer of the right amount of charcoal inside the kamado grill and then add 1-2 lighter cubes on top of the charcoal and light it. This method works fast and requires no expensive chemical additives.

Open the grill’s lid and all the air vents. If you want to cook at a high temperature, add a lot of charcoal, and if you’re going to cook at a lower temperature, then add less. Then, add at least two lighter cubes and set them on fire.

After waiting for 15 to 20 minutes, you will see a significant area of charcoal gets covered with a grey coating; at the time, you can add more coals and close lid of the grill. Also, keep the bottom air vent and top vent open; through this, the charcoal would take less time to burn. Therefore, once the grill reaches o the desired temperature, one can close the bottom vent and start the cooking process accordingly.

In the grilling world, the lighter cubes are a great thing. They are inexpensive and practical at the same time. It is enough to ignite the charcoal if you only have one cube for about ten minutes. They are not harmful and do not contain any toxic chemical Additives.

The great solution we have seen is combining lighter cubes with a chimney starter. Also, the lighter cubes are safe to use; unlike electric starters, these cool down fast after use.

Inexpensive lighter cubes and newspapers are also the correct way to light the charcoals in the chimney. These are the cheapest and simplest ways to light up the coals, but they take too long. If you are at a beach party or camping, lighter cubes or papers can benefit.

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Temperature Regulation

After lighting up your Kamado, the next challenging task is the temperature control of your appliance. Similarly, once you succeed in adjusting your Kamado to the target temps, it will be feasible for you to cook ideally without continuous tending or airflow adjustments.

When both top and bottom vents are opened completely and fire is started, the temperature will rise automatically.

Different approaches to temperature regulation vary from model to model, but here’s my quick operating guide.

  • Fully open the vents (top and bottom) and temperature rockets.
  • After reaching the targeted temperatures, turn off the bottom vent to about only ½ inch to stabilize. It works best when you are smoking on your kamado grill.
  • Bottom vents play an important role in changing the temperature. However, the top daisy wheel is also there for fine-tuning. 
  • According to professionals, it is recommended to change the vent setting once. For instance, if you are opening the top vent, don’t adjust the bottom vent simultaneously. Thus, it is better to change once at a time.
  • The temp will decrease by 10C / 18F if the small top vents are open halfway.
  • The small daisy wheel vent is half-open, and the bottom vent opens a quarter-inch give an approximate smoking temperature.

The easiest way to set up for roasting in the range of 150 – 180C (30 – 350F) is to completely open the bottom vent and turn on the daisy wheel. If you are done lighting up the coals, close lid and let the grill hot for 30 minutes. After that, the grill is ready, and you will have a warm place to cook.

The dual disc daisy wheel is used for the top vent and provides endless variability to the airflow. Other alternative designs can make you compromise.

Starting Vent Positions

If you want your grill to get close to the desired temperature, you want to keep the top and bottom vents open. It can take longer to get your grill to temperature if you close the vents early.

When the grill reaches the desired temperature, you can adjust the vents. The more air you allow to flow through the vents, the hotter the temperature will get like other charcoal grills. And kamados can get hot.

Grilling In a Kamado

Whether you grill on an indoor gas-powered stove or outside with a wood-fired grill, the right equipment will make your grilling experience more enjoyable. We’ll cover the basics of grilling with kamados so you can come away with delicious food the first time around.

Direct Heat Grilling

Kamados are simple grills. You need to know three key things to get the most from your grill: How much fuel you use, how long you cook, and what temperature you cook at. Also, remember that there’s a wide range of temperatures on kamados.

A half-open vent will bring the inside up to around 300-degree mark, while an open vent will get the grill to around700-degree mark.

Two-Zone Grilling

The two-zone method is more difficult on smaller grills, but some accessories simplify it. If your grill doesn’t come with one, you can purchase a ceramic heat deflector plate that will sit on half of your grill. You won’t have to use a fire pan or rearrange your coals to do the two-zone method.

Kamado Grill Smoking and Slow Cooking

Kamado grills are great for cooking slow and smoking. You can start with a small amount of charcoal and increase it as time goes on. You can use the “top-down” method by building a mound of charcoal that will burn slowly.

Once you master the art of direct heat, you can use indirect heating and other methods for smoking meats or fish effortlessly. For each of these methods, you’ll also want to close both your vents almost all the way. The first few times you try, keep an eye on your thermometer and make adjustments as necessary. By practicing often, you’ll get better at grilling. Eventually, you’ll be able to grill on a kamado just like a pro.

It’s always best to get a smoking stone to place over the coals to deflect heat. You can also add wood chips to the fire to achieve a wonderful smoky flavor.

One of the best things about Kamado is that you can cook low and slow for long periods without adding additional charcoal.

High-Temperature Cooking

You can cook pizza at high temperatures, use a dutch oven, and bake bread. Sometimes you need some extras to get started, and each requires different techniques. For high-temperature cooking, you may want to use a lot of charcoal, leave the vents wide open, and wait 60 to 90 minutes for the grill to heat up.

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How to Close Down the Kamado After Done With Cooking?

Shut Down the Appliance and Take Out the Coals

After you’ve finished outdoor cooking, it’s time to shut down your Kamado and put out the coals. To do this, close both air vents and wait. It’s best to let a kamado cool naturally, as it takes a very long time to cool.

You should never use water to put out coals, as a sudden change in temperature can cause the ceramic to crack or break. Wait until the coals have burned down for 24 to 48 hours and the grill has cooled down before putting it out.

After you have enjoyed your fantastic food with friends or family, come back and clean the grates off. It’s much easier to get food and grease off of hot grates than a cold one. When cleaning the hot grates, it is essential to wear gloves to protect yourself from burns.

Safety Tips to Consider When Cooking In Kamado

Here are some essential safety guidelines for using your Kamado. Safety and proper use of your Kamado are beneficial both for you and your grill.

  • You need to avoid dangerous flashbacks of built-up heat. Before fully opening the lid, open a little way (about two to three inches) for five seconds so that the heat can escape. Then open the rest of the way.
  • Don’t ever use your Kamado in an enclosed space indoors or in the garage.
  • It’s dangerous to remove or discard the hot ashes.
  • Heat-resistant surfaces are always a good idea on one can use Kamado. So don’t use them on carpeting or wood floors.
  • Avoid moving a kamado when in use.
  • It’s vital to wear heavy-duty grilling gloves when cooking on the Kamado. You’ll need them if you have to move ceramic plates or cooking grates while the Kamado is still hot.
  • Use on flat and even surface
  • Never look into the top vent while using Kamado.
  • When outdoor cooking, always make sure your kids know not to touch the grill. Or, if they are helping you cook, have them burp the grill every time they open it.
  • Don’t let your pet near your grill, as it can get very hot and harmful to pets.

How do I Cool Down my Kamado Grill?

Right in the middle of the cooking session, sometimes users want to decrease the temperature of the kamado grill from extremely high to low temperature. Similarly, they look for ways to cool down the internal temperature of Kamado and continue cooking immediately. Kamado experts say it’s impossible to decrease the temperature and cool down the appliance. They are somehow right, but nothing is impossible, and there’s a simple way through which one can reduce the temperature.

It is possible to cool down mid-way through a cook because of the heat in the ceramic walls. The easiest way is to keep a pan of cold water on the grill grate, close the lid, and then close both the vents for 10 to 15 minutes.

The water pan absorbs the heat, decreases the internal grill temperature, and similarly cools down the Kamado. The process is simple and effective.

Which Charcoal is Better for Kamado?

The experts say to use natural lumpwood charcoal for cooking in Kamado. The price of lump charcoal is higher than the price of wood charcoal. It is quicker to burn and burns hotter, but it does not yield much ash. This is why you want to use 100% Hardwood Lump charcoal.

Briquettes are cheaper, burn longer, reach slightly lower temperatures, but they leave a lot of ash, which can cause holes in the airflow, which is only beneficial if you are smoking with a kamado grill.

Therefore, it is better if you use natural lumpwood charcoal because it can effortlessly reach higher temperatures and produce way less ash than other different fuel types. However, the only obstacle of lump charcoal is its high price.

How To Season Kamado Joe Grill?

In spite of being one of the most expensive options, Kamado grills have increasingly become popular in recent years. However, you require to know how to season and maintain it. Seasoning your Kamado grill is straightforward. Here’s a step-by-step guide to follow.

1. Firstly, it is essential to clean the appliance. Also, it’s important to remove metal shaving and dust from your Kamado Joe grill. Start the grill and let it heat to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Then mist the inside with water and let it sit for a few minutes. Do this again two more times. After that, you need to add split wood to the grill and turn off the firebox vents. The chimney damper should be closed up to 45 degrees; the process will allow smoke to penetrate.

2. After cleaning the Kamado, you need to thoroughly coat the grill grates with oil by using a soft brush or paper towel. Any oil can be used like peanut, almond, canola, etc. This will help you remove all the burned-on toxins, leaving your grill looking brand new. Just make sure you cover every part ideally when applying oil.

3. Once you apply enough oil to the grill, let it get hot for about 40 minutes. Ideally, you will want to heat the grill to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit until the oil starts to darken. This shows that the grill is slowly getting non-stick.

Once you follow the steps above, you’ll be sure of not only a non-stick surface but also great flavors in the long run.

How To Protect Kamado Grill from Mould Buildup?

If you don’t use your Kamado for an extended period, then the buildup of moisture will cause the growth of mould. Minimizing the buildup of mould is simple. Just remove the unused charcoal when you’re done using your Kamado. Additionally, it’s always better to protect your grill by using a cover. Also, leave the top and bottom vents open when putting the cover on so that air can continue to flow.

It’s important to make your appliance free from mould when you need it. If it’s containing, remove the mold with a spatula or grill brush, increase the temperature to 400C and leave for 10 minutes. The rest of the mold will be burned away by the heat.

How to Clean Kamado Grill After Use?

To clean the exterior of your Kamado grill, use a damp cloth and a non-toxic cleaning agent. Avoid using water or detergent to clean the internal area of the Kamado. The inside can be cleaned with the help of high temperatures. Also, it is mandatory to remove all stainless steel components before cleaning.

To clean the internal part of Kamado, you need to completely open the bottom vent and adjust the grill to 400°C temperature and leave the grill for ten minutes. Take your time and don’t raise the temperature from 400°C; otherwise, the gasket will get damaged. Now, please turn off the Kamado and let it cool.

When the grill gets cool, remove ashes from the ash pan with a soft brush, and clean the grill grates gently with a non-abrasive brush.

After about 15 or 20 minutes, check if the Kamado is 100% cool, put a cover on it, and move the appliance into the storage. Your cover may be damaged if you place it on the still-warm grill. So do make sure the Kamado is entirely cooled.

What Can I Cook in a Kamado Grill?

Kamado grills are perfect for grilling all types of meats, including brisket, turkey, pork, and more. They can be used to cook hundreds of different recipes. The versatility of the Kamado grilling system makes it perfect for all types of cooking, from low heat barbecuing to searing excellent steaks.

It is possible to easily cook vegetarian kebabs, steak taco, pulled pork sandwiches, Texas-style brisket, pizza, bread, fish, smoked chicken, and any other desired meal in the Kamados.


Using a Kamado can be an enriching experience for those who love to grill and grill food. Even the tiniest adjustments to the air vents can have a significant impact. An efficient and versatile kamado takes much longer to cool down than other grills. But the payoff for cooking so much food at one time makes it all worthwhile.

I hope you find this guide, “how to use a kamado grill,” helpful. If you have any questions, please do hit me up in the comments below, and I’ll try my best to help you out.

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