The kamado grill originated from a clay rice cooker, called a mushikamado, which was has been the preferred method for cooking rice for generations in southern Japan. The mushikamado was noted for its ability to produce perfectly cooked rice with little work and even less cleanup. Using the mushikamado as inspiration, American pilot Richard Johnson patented the kamado grill in the 1960s, sending them home with U.S. Air Force crewmembers on transport planes. This uniquely designed outdoor grill has been providing American families with perfectly cooked meals for decades, and today, kamado grills are made of ceramic for optimal cooking performance. These versatile cooking devices can be used to grill, smoke, bake, or broil a plethora of delicious dishes.
Shaped like an egg with a flattened bottom, kamado grills are comprised of a lid and a base, with the base containing a fire box. A temperature gauge displays on the exterior of the top half of the grill, and vents on the lid and the base offer temperature control by circulating air. Assembly of the grill consists of filling the fire box with ch arcoal and placing the other pieces on top – once this is accomplished, the grill is ready to be fired up. Lighting the grill should always be done using nontoxic firestarter, as lighter fluid and other chemicals can adversely affect the taste and quality of food cooked in the kamado grill. Before the first use with a new kamado grill, the interior should be allowed to heat to 500 degrees in order to clean and sterilize the parts.
Kamado grills can be used in a variety of ways (to grill, smoke, bake, or broil) by cooking foods at a wide range of temperatures. Heat is generated through charcoal burning in the lower compartment, and temperature is regulated using the damper and draft doors. Simply open the damper and draft doors to allow air to circulate, releasing heat to achieve a lower temperature; for higher temperatures, damper and draft doors will remain closed to allow heat to accumulate inside the grill. Lower temperatures (175 – 250 degrees Fahrenheit) are perfect for smoking meat, while high temperatures (up to 500 degrees Fahrenheit) are ideal for broiling. The kamado can even be used for an outdoor baking experience, holding at moderate temperatures perfect for baking treats from fresh pizzas and breads to cakes and pies.
The maintenance required for a kamado grill is minimal – the grilling surface should periodically be coated with oil to prevent food sticking, and the exterior may need to be wiped clean from time to time. It is also important to regularly check the fasteners, bolts, and nuts and be sure they are tightened thoroughly. An ash door at the bottom of the base allows easy removal of ashes – simply open the door and use the ash removal tool to scrape ashes out and into a receptacle. The interior walls are self-cleaning and will never need to be scraped or wiped, and a durable ceramic exterior offers sufficient protection from weathering, so a cover is not needed. Operating the kamado grill requires only one expenditure: the purchase of the charcoal, so the investment of a kamado grill is highly economical over time. These grills are also made to last a lifetime and can be enjoyed for many years.