Master the Art of Kamado Cooking

Are you in the market for a new kamado grill? Do you have a kamado but you aren’t sure how to best use it? Are you just looking to expand your cooking knowledge, in general? No matter which category you fall into, we’re here to help you!

Cooking on a kamado grill is similar to other wood or charcoal grills, but there are a few tips and tricks you’ll want to know to help you get the most out of your experience. Today, we’ll take you from kama-don’t-know-what-the-hell-you’re-doing to kama-damn-that’s-a-well-cooked-meal. (Or at least we’ll set you on the right path, anyway.)

How to Control Temperature on a Kamado Grill

As with any charcoal grill, a kamado grill lacks the precision temperature control of a gas grill. That doesn’t mean you can’t cook at different temperatures on a kamado grill, however. You’ll just need to know the correct way to achieve the results you’re looking for.

The temperature inside a kamado-style grill is controlled by manually opening or closing the air vents on the grill head. Typically, these are located on the bottom-front, the top exhaust cap, and/or a door on top of the lid.

After getting a good, sustainable flame on the charcoal, close the grill lid but keep the top and bottom vents open. This allows the Kamado to create a draft effect that feeds oxygen to the flame quickly and efficiently to speed up the process of ignition. When the temperature of the grill is about 25 degrees below the target cooking temperature, close the top and bottom vents about halfway to allow the temps to begin to stabilize.

How to Grill Using a Kamado Grill

The best way to grill on a kamado grill involves taking advantage of two-zone cooking in a process known as indirect heating. As we mentioned in our article with tips on how to cook on a charcoal grill, indirect grilling allows you to cook using the grill more like an oven rather than directly over the flame as you may be used to.

To set up a two-zone heating system, insert a heat deflector into your grill and light a charcoal fire on only one side. Place your food over the other side of the grill, and allow the indirect heat to cook your food. This is a particularly good method of grilling for “tough” cuts of meat like shoulders and ribs.

You can also use your kamado grill as you would any other grill using direct heat. This is the style of grilling most people are familiar with, and it’s a great way to kind many different kinds of food. One of the biggest advantages of a kamado grill is its versatility—you can cook using both methods without a lot of extra accessories or set up.

How to Smoke Foods with a Kamado Grill

Kamado grills are very capable wood smokers. While you may not get the same results as you would on a dedicated smoker, you’ll still be able to create a great barbecue without the need for a completely separate unit. Think of the kamado as a “jack of all trades.”

Smoking on a kamado can be done by adding both accessory heat deflectors and closing the intake and exhaust cap down to a level that allows smoking at a lower temperature. This is typically around 180 to 225 degrees Fahrenheit depending on the meat you are smoking.

You may find the need to experiment with some to dial in the temperature as you’re cooking. That’s okay! There’s an art to smoking a perfect meal. Don’t be afraid to try different fuel types, either. In addition to regular lump charcoal, flavored wood chunks can be used to give your meats a signature smoky flavor to match whatever it is you’re cooking.

How to Cook Pizza on a Kamado Grill

Many people don’t realize kamado grills can make an excellent pizza. Even better, the process is relatively simple, although it will vary slightly depending on whether you’re baking a fresh or frozen thin crust pizza.

If you plan on making a frozen pizza on your grill, first ensure your kamado has the accessory heat deflector and pizza stone. Preheat the grill to about 450 degrees Fahrenheit with the pizza stone in the grill. Do this for approximately 15 to 20 minutes. Next, you’ll want to add a small amount of rice flour to keep the pizza from sticking. Finally, place your pizza on the stone with a peel and bake for approximately 10 minutes.

For a fresh pizza, you’ll prep the stone in the same way. However, a wood-fired pizza is typically baked at a higher temperature in less time. Let the grill preheat to 550 degrees Fahrenheit for about 15 minutes before adding the pizza. Once the grill and stone reach the target temperature, add the pizza and bake for approximately seven minutes.

You can also make deep dish pizza on a kamado using a deep dish pizza stone. This type of pizza stone has side walls instead of the flat design made for thinner crust pizzas. For this type of pizza, you’ll want to lower the temperature to about 425 degrees Fahrenheit but increase cooking time to approximately 25 minutes. Cooking in this way will allow the pizza to reach an internal temperature of around 165 degrees Fahrenheit.

Learn More About Our Kamado Grill Options

Want to learn more about kamado grills? Check out the rest of our helpful blog articles to find other great grilling tips. You can also contact us to speak with one of our grilling experts. Our product specialists can help answer any questions you may have.

Product Specialist Nathan J. contributed to this article.