I love my BBQing.
I take a huge amount of pride in my BBQing and the delicious meals I make for friends and family. My BBQ is a thing or lore around these parts. So why haven’t I been doing more of it? Allow me to explain.
I’ve had nothing but trouble in the last 8 months with BBQs and Smokers. My problems have been with faulty equipment or poor (cheap)
workmanship. My Smoker rusted out on me after just 4 years. My Charbroil barrel charcoal BBQ rusted out on me after 2 and my BRAND NEW Char-Broil propane BBQ had issues but I had an extended warranty through Lowes and even they weren’t able to fix the unit. Turns out the issue was with the regulator so I’m at least back in business with with propane for now but now I’m left asking a question. What do I buy? Should be easy but my confidence in the standard companies is a bit shaken right now.
Allow me a moment to give you a little history lesson on me.
I picked up my first ever Charbroil charcoal kettle style BBQ about 10yrs ago on clearance and I paid a whopping $50 for it at the time and it lasted me 7 mouth watering years. That little guy is where I cut my teeth with getting fancy on charcoal. Homemade bacon, smoked mozzarella (even the cheese was home made). Brisket. Ribs. You name it. This is where I found my real passion for charcoal grilling. I swear – I was absolutely BUMMED one day when I was scraping out the previous nights ashes and the scraper went through the bottom.
After 7 wonderful years it was time to say goodbye to my old friend. I ventured to the local Home Depot picked up a new Charbroil charcoal barrel BBQ. Confident that I was going to get some good long years out of it – I bought it for around $150. Still cheap but I needed my charcoal fix AND after my previous experience, I was pretty sure the price was perfectly acceptable.
That BBQ was sent to the scrap heap this summer. After just 2 seasons it was rusted out. So now I need a new Smoker AND a new Charcoal grill what do I do? I think the alternative is a Kamado style BBQ so I’ve been doing some research.
The Big Green Egg looks pretty interesting. I’ve heard nothing but wonderful things about them but the price point is quite high. Roughly $1500. but guess what? You need a stand for it? That’s extra. You like having the shelves on the side? That’s extra. Want the indirect heat stone? That’s extra. Plus plus plus. At the end of it all, you’re talking about $2200+ tax.
Kamado Joe is another wonderful alternative and dare I say, a potentially better overall
value? It just has some better overall features. The ash removal is nice and convenient. The top exhaust cover is great, The multi-level grills and the counter weighted lid is pretty sweet. Something sadly missing from the Big Green Egg and guess what? It comes with all the addons the Big Green Egg comes with at a shade more money.
Then I stumbled on the Broil King Keg. That is a damn fine looking unit. It looks mean and ready to cook up copious amounts of meat. It’s missing some things (notably the shelves on the side) and I personally feel for my uses, it’s a bit small but it’s priced right at under $1000. ***Note*** Broil King messaged me on this and has notified me that the keg does in fact come with shelves. I guess they’re modular and you can use shelves or handles. Apologies to Broil King on that
So I was more than a little interested in this big mean bugger but then while perusing Facebook today, a targeted ad based on my internet searches popped up showing me another Kamado style BBQ from my old friend Charbroil called the Kamander.
It’s about the right size for me. It has a good gasket from what I can tell, there’s a table on the side, it has an ash tray to remove the ashes, a second layer to the the grilling for veggies/warming and the price. MY GOD the price is absurd sitting at around $500 but the question I’m left with now.
Where do I go? On one hand I think the Kamado Joe is probably the nest thing for me but that price is a bit scary. With my wife on maternity leave it would be nice to hang onto that money. So do I go with the Charbroil? The price is pretty reasonable but can I trust them? I realize this won’t be the last BBQ I ever buy if that was the way I go but can I get at least 7-10 years out of it the same way I did with the $50 barrel BBQ that I miss so dearly?