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Kamado Joe - Joe Junior review

By June 27, 2022 ,

Many of you may have been wondering about the sudden change last year that happened in my outdoor kitchen. The change from a certain green brand of Kamado style barbecue to Kamado Joe was not a snap decision, but one that had been weighing on my mind for a few years. I attended a hospitality trade event a few years back here in the Netherlands and I spotted the Kamado Joe stand. Here in the Netherlands you don't see them in many of the outdoor outlets or kitchen shops sadly, so it was an opportunity to have a closer look at the kit. I walked away from that stand very impressed and with feelings of regret that I hadn't bought a Kamado Joe all those years ago when I first made my foray into Kamado cooking.

So it's been a year now with both my classic III and Junior and I've been putting them though their paces on a thrice weekly basis (at least). I thought It would be a good idea to share my experiences and thoughts on the kit for those of you who might be considering investing in a new barbecue. Please note this is not a sponsored post in any way as I bought my KJs myself. In this article I will review the Joe Junior as it turned up first when I ordered them. The Classic III will be reviewed in another article at a later date. 

I bought this model for smaller cooks for myself and my other half. It's a lot taller than some of the smaller kamado models from other brands, The height gives it the advantage that it has better airflow underneath and therefore enables better temperature control. The 34cm diameter width will quite happily hold about 6 burgers, 2 sheets of ribs a 2kg chicken or roasting joint. So you can quite happily cook for a small group of people for simple barbecue. It comes with a cast iron stand, a stainless steel griddle, a deflector plate for indirect cooking, an ash tool and a grill gripper as standard so unlike other brands you do not have to purchase other accessories to begin with. It's a complete starter package from the get-go and comes in at a lower price than other similar models.

It weighs in at just over 30kg, so a little heavier than other brands. It also comes in at half the price of other brands that are the same diameter, so is a great bargain. Its a well put together study piece of equipment, the ceramic interior is very high quality as are the vent and daisy wheel. After a year of outdoor use in all weathers, there is no sign of rust on any parts. 
Dimensions for the Junior are as follows: Width - 50cm, Height - 69cm, Depth -  53cm this includes the stand which comes as standard. 

So what is it like to cook with?
The temp control with any smaller Kamado model will take some time to get used to. It's very quick to get up to temperature and will hold well, it does take some time to figure out what your daisy wheel and lower vent settings should be for the various temps. You do need to watch for temperature drops when putting in ingredients but it comes back up to temp relatively quickly. I tend to use the Junior for simple cooks that don't require long slow cooking or complicated temperature changes. Unlike the other brand I used to use, it doesn't get stuck at certain temps and then not budge for quite some time, the temperature adjustment is easy. Cooking direct it's a great little number. 

Cooking indirect I have found you need to keep an eye on the underneath of whatever you are cooking, because it's so close to the deflector plate it gets a little more radiated heat if cooking for a lengthy period of time. The only accessory that I bought for my junior was the kick ash basket, which makes it easier to clean out and empty ash. If I was to buy other accessories it would probably be a cast iron griddle for steaks, kebabs and burgers, but you still get a nice char with the stainless steel griddle. 

So all in all I'm very happy with my "Wee Beastie" as he has come to be called. 

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