Kamado Joe Jr or Char-Griller Ceramic?

  • Hey all,


    Happy to join here :)


    Been debating about getting my first ceramic kamado bbq. Mostly between the KJ jr and the chargriller ceramic. Currently already have a Weber 22” kettle and WSM 14” so a ceramic kamado would be a nice change of pace.


    Basically just a toss up between these to kamados.


    The chargriller is currently $699 from Bunnings and I understand it’s just a rebranded auplex ~18.5” kamado. Main concern is probably the 1 year limited warranty. The larger size is definitely a plus. I’ve looked at their Akorn metal kamados but the regular is only $150 cheaper than the ceramic. I’ve consider the Akorns but since it’ll be sitting outside I’m concerned about rust.


    The KJ jr from bbqsgalore is $799, whilst it’s much smaller at ~13.5” it should definitely be sufficient for our small family when supplemented with the Webers. However the KJ warranty (lifetime on ceramics) is very attractive.

    Weber Kettle, WSM (14.5"), PBC

    • Official Post

    Firstly, welcome top the best and most active BBQ forum in Oz. :)


    I had a Royal ceramic for years and that, like so many others, was an Auplex and it served me well for many years before I got the opportunity to grab a Big Green Egg. There's nothing wrong with the Auplex kamados, as long as you look after it you'll get years of happy use from it. Hundreds have been sold here and I've never heard of any major issues, althogh after a period of time you might get slight cracking in the fire box but it doesn't stop them working well. I think the newer versions have some expansion gaps which would probably solve that anyway. The downside is the lack of a deflector and that needs to be solved or you just won't get the proper use from it. Why they sell them without one is beyond me but it's probably a price thing.


    I think the small Joe is just too small to be of great use and I think you'll find that out as you use it more for different cooks.


    The Akorn or the Dragon from BBQs Galore are very good and many in here have them. I'd buy one before the baby Joe, even if it was outside in the weather. Maybe a cover will help solve that one.


    Others will chip in with their thoughts and ideas so enjoy the ride.

    Big Green Egg - aSmoke Grill - Weber Kettle - Maximus Pizza Oven - Dragon Hibachi - Ziggy Portable - baby kamado - Cobb BBQ - Converted Gas Bottle Spit - Charbroil Grill2go - Anova sous vide - Digi Q controller

    • Official Post

    Welcome aboard.

    Personally, I think the 13" junior is just too small.

    I also think that you should consider why you're buying a third bbq to do the same thing as the other two.

    I'd suggest that you look at other cooking options (rotisserie, height adjustable grill) or different types of fuel (pellets, wood fired oven, offset).

  • The downside is the lack of a deflector and that needs to be solved or you just won't get the proper use from it.

    Good catch! Hadn’t thought about that. Haven’t ruled out the Akorn yet, just might have move it to and from the veranda frequently to keep it dry though lifting it might be easier said than done. Mainly looking to do some hot and fast cooking.

    Weber Kettle, WSM (14.5"), PBC

    • Official Post

    Mainly looking to do some hot and fast cooking.

    Your Weber Kettle will do that. :)



    though lifting it might be easier said than done.

    It's on wheels don't forget.


    It's basically a step up from the trusty Weber kettle and will allow you to control temperatures much better, although the ceramic version is better at that again. By having better control, you have more options from hot and fast to low and slow, although there are techniques you can use in the kettle to achieve that too.


    What ever you buy, don't forget our motto. You can never have too many BBQs. ;)

    Big Green Egg - aSmoke Grill - Weber Kettle - Maximus Pizza Oven - Dragon Hibachi - Ziggy Portable - baby kamado - Cobb BBQ - Converted Gas Bottle Spit - Charbroil Grill2go - Anova sous vide - Digi Q controller

  • Welcome mate.

    The new version of the chargriller does come withe the deflector plate included.

    weber performer, weber compact with gas conversion, napoleon rodeo, pro q 20", PBC, ziggy portable, ozpig with rotisserie, pro smoke offset, pit boss mini kamado, asmoke portable, master built 560.

  • Thanks fellas! Also thinking of a Akorn Jr as a gateway/learning tool kamado before upgrading to ceramic. Though the Jr will need the deflector backordered at Bunnings.

    Weber Kettle, WSM (14.5"), PBC

    • Official Post

    The new version of the chargriller does come withe the deflector plate included.

    There you go, that would seal the deal for me. Many of us in here have commented that if we only had to have one BBQ to do it all, it would be a ceramic kamado.


    Also thinking of a Akorn Jr as a gateway/learning tool kamado before upgrading to ceramic.

    You'll find the ceramic easier to manage than the Akorn. Just start playing and you'll pick it up in no time.

    Big Green Egg - aSmoke Grill - Weber Kettle - Maximus Pizza Oven - Dragon Hibachi - Ziggy Portable - baby kamado - Cobb BBQ - Converted Gas Bottle Spit - Charbroil Grill2go - Anova sous vide - Digi Q controller

  • I get you are concerned with warranty I fully understand that. What I will say is that apart from replacing a firebox every now and then these things don't generally break.


    Just understand if you do go with a Joe (the jr is too small) there are two models in the 18inch size. One has a segmented firebox (and divide and conquer cooking system) which negates the cracking I believe :dunno:. The other is a standard one piece firebox which will crack. Obviously the standard one piece is cheaper.


    A cracked firebox is not the end of the world. Many of us have been cooking with a crack in our firebox for years.


    I have a Akorn Jr and yes they are a great little Kamado. Better option than a Joe jr IMO due to the slightly larger size and price. Sure the deflector is another $50 but it's still approx half the price of a Joe jr.


    If you want a ceramic go for it but my advice is to have a look on Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree first as there are generally some second hand Grills on there. You won't get warranty unless the seller has the original purchase receipt for you but as I say these things don't wear out.

    Enjoy your "Q"
    James


    Primo XL, GMG Davy Crockett, Akorn Jr and Ziggy Portable.


  • UPDATE:


    Currently have an KJ Classic Joe I on order for $799 at my local Barbeques Galore from their Fathers day sale. Hopefully picking it up late September. No clue on how they got it down to that price considering a few weeks ago that was the price the 13.5" Jr retailed for. Regardless for me it was too good to pass up! It will definitely be a centerpiece for the backyard!


    Hopefully this will be the last BBQ I will ever need (Don't quote me on that :D)

    Weber Kettle, WSM (14.5"), PBC

  • Good move. You will have that one for many years and get a lot of pleasure cooking on it.


    My Big Green Egg is still my favourite BBQ by a long way and your Joe will be the same, no matter how many other BBQs you buy. :)

    Big Green Egg - aSmoke Grill - Weber Kettle - Maximus Pizza Oven - Dragon Hibachi - Ziggy Portable - baby kamado - Cobb BBQ - Converted Gas Bottle Spit - Charbroil Grill2go - Anova sous vide - Digi Q controller

  • UPDATE:


    Currently have an KJ Classic Joe I on order for $799 at my local Barbeques Galore

    I own an older model of the KJ Classic.


    It has been really good and you should enjoy it a lot.


    One of the things to save up for is when the hinge springs wear out in 5 or so years


    You can't buy just the springs nowadays. I got a quote from BBQG and the whole hinge assembly is $300.


    Also, the ceramic defectors wear out. I got sick of changing them and now use a cast iron pizza dish as the deflector.

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