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2018 Primo Grill Review - Primo vs Kamado Joe

Written by Senor Smoke on 09.04.18

I am often asked if I had to choose one grill from all the ones in our portfolio, what would it be?

A few years ago my answer was the Memphis pellet grill. But the only problem was that if I lost electricity, the grill would be useless. And the other (issue) with pellet grills is that once you take the temperature over 275-300F, you lose the woodsy, smoky taste/smell attributes of cooking with pellets. 

On a ceramic cooker, you can be ripping at 700 degrees as you prepare to make pizza, and you will still get that smoke flavor that is so intrinsically tied to solid fuel cooking. 

We carry several brands of kamado cookers - Primo, Kamado Joe, Caliber and Blaze - but I have the most experience with Primo and Kamado Joe as I have owned a pair for several years. So which would I go with if I could only own one? 

It would have to be the Primo ceramic grill

This is by no means a strike against Kamado Joe. The Joe is certainly the most innovative of the ceramic companies, with a deeper portfolio of product accessories and penchant to introduce new products to the ceramic category. They were the first to bring a rotisserie to the market (the Joetisserie is a game changer) and their recent upgrades to the hinge system have made the grill easier to use and more accessible. 

However I am still giving the slight edge to the Primo. I like the fact that it has the oval shape thus providing more grill surface as well the ability to create a divided cook chamber with their cast iron divider. This allows for more flexibility and efficiency in your cooks as you can create two distinct temperature zones. 

I also find that the Primo gets to temperature quicker than the Kamado Joe or the Big Green Egg. If it takes me 20-30 mins to ignite a Joe and the dial in my steady cook temp, I find that the Primo is about 10-15 minutes quicker. 

The Primo is also the only ceramic smoker made in the USA (Georgia) and that resonates with me. Looking at the numerous Primo's we have sold or put on display, I find a high level of craftsmanship which is extremely important with a cooking vessel that I'm going to use alot and will be operating at high temperatures and will be left outside in the searing heat of July and the unforgiving mid-January cold here in the Northeast. And I can attest to the Primo's ability to churn out amazing food in the most challenging weather conditions. Check the following pic for a winter cook from last December and tell me how nice that chicken looks!

Primo grill in snow Chicken cooking on primo grill

The most popular Primo we sell is the Primo XL400, or their biggest one. This is the grill that the serious bbq enthusiast buys. Typically we will see the XL400 sold to someone who has numerous years of grilling and long smoking under their belt with lesser expensive products and want to take things to the next level. We also see folks buy the XL 400 and marry them in their outdoor kitchen setup with a premium gas grill like an Alfresco or DCS. See the below pic for an example of this setup: 

Primo grill in outdoor kitchen setup

For more info on Primo Grills, including discount codes during our Fall Grill sale, email us today!

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