Review: One of my favorite cooking toys – my Kamado grill
I love this thing for its versatility and flavor
When I met my wife, she had a gently used Weber gas grill that I started using while trying to cook up good food to impress her with. After we got married, that gas grill got used more and more, and eventually started to wear out.
My wife, Stacey, suggested we replace it. I researched gas grills like crazy, and we eventually settled on one that we were going to plan on buying from Home Depot.
The old Weber getting put through the paces.
When we walked into our local Home Depot, we took notice of a kamado grill sitting in the grill section of the store, and we were surprised by the price! Unlike similar offerings from companies like Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe (by the way, the makers of my dream kamado grill), it was readily affordable and not that big of a big-ticket purchase. That day, we didn't buy any grill, electing instead to go home and research the Vision Professional S-Series kamado we saw sold by Home Depot.
By the next morning, our plans had changed. Instead of replacing our worn out gas grill, I was going to refurbish it with new parts. And the kamado at Home Depot was going to be coming home with us!
My Vision Professional S-Series. Affordable kamado grilling!
The "inner workings" of a kamado grill.
The kamado has proven to be extremely versatile! It's awesome for searing, and our first meal from it was filet seared at 700°F (371°C). It's great for the high heat required for wok cooking, making easy and quick work out of stir fry like Peruvian Pollo Saltado and Pad Thai. For regular grilling, its grilling surface can accommodate a week's worth of food for weakly meal prep, or a lot of burgers for feeding a crowd.
It's perfect for pizza; cooking a pie from scratch in no time with a perfect crust. With a stainless flattop insert, it can be used for smash burgers and cheesesteaks. And it does all of this while imparting a wood fire flavor from burning lump charcoal and flavoring woods.
A week's worth of meals off the kamado. Flat iron steak, sausage with peppers and onions, turkey burgers, and chicken with grilled tomato all cooked to perfection!
But where I feel a kamado grill excels is with the low and slow smoke. I've smoked pork shoulder, brisket, chuck roast, whole chicken, and turkey breast to name a few things that have been prepared on my kamado and everything has come out moist and flavorful. Lump charcoal helps impart a nice smokiness into the meat, but the addition of smoking woods like Apple, Cherry, and Hickory take that flavor to the next level. And who doesn't love fall off the bone, slow smoked meats!?
Slow smoked brisket!
Slow smoked, spatchcock chicken!
Juicy smoked turkey breast!
Smoked pulled chuck roast with peppers!
I've added some toys to my grill, because cooking accessories are awesome! I started simple with heat diffuser and rack, to make smoking meats a little more controlled. That diffuser rack also doubles as a wok holder, so a carbon steel wok soon followed. That same rack/wok holder also works great for holding a stainless griddle insert. A cast iron pizza pan was added for cooking pizzas high up in the dome. But the most awesome accessory was gifted to me by in in-laws; a BBQ Guru CyberQ BBQ controller!
The CyberQ BBQ control lets you monitor your low and slow cook remotely on your phone and tablet, all while it maintains your cook temperature using a computer controlled fan. Maintaining 225°F (107°C) all day on a low-and-slow cook is a breeze! The CyberQ is smart enough to recognize a temperature drop resulting from opening the lid of the kamado, and it will pause the fan. And when you close the lid, it will recognize the slight temperature rise, and pulse its included fan gently in order to bring the smoking environment back up to its proper temperature. With a third party app, you can capture graphs of your cook, and see exactly when your meat has hit the "stall".
BBQ Guru CyberQ controlling my cook.
This kit gets it done!
Tracking and graphing some turkey breast on a low-and-slow!
My kamado isn't perfect and it has some small niggling issues. For instance, the casters and "nest" aren't holding up very well, despite me treating my Vision kamado like I would treat the most desirable of collector cars. (I store it safely out of the weather next to my supercharged 2014 Mustang GT in the garage!)
Ideally, I would love a more expensive Kamado Joe for its quality and features. And a Kamado Joe is worth every penny, in my opinion. But I'm not keen of spending that money on another kamado grill when mine is getting me by. Overall, I'm happy with the Vision Professional S-Series, as it got me in the door and has worked for me thus far.
This is what it's all about!