Ceramic egg-shaped grills are popular options for both high-temp searing and low-and-slow smoking. Due to their design and materials, they’re incredibly efficient, and they allow you to use both charcoal and wood chunks to get the job done. This week, Kamado Joe took things a step further with the Pellet Joe. As the name suggests, this new model runs on wood pellets — just like the WiFi-connected grills from Traeger, Weber and others. And where KJ’s traditional ceramic options needed a separate device to offer connectivity, the Pellet Joe has all of that built in.
First and foremost, the Pellet Joe has all the bones of a Kamado Joe ceramic grill. You still get the heat retention and overall efficiency that the design offers. The company says you can expect searing temperatures up to 600 degrees Fahrenheit with additional cooking “zones” for smoking (225-300 degrees) and roasting (300-450 degrees). Any adjustments can be made via the physical knob on the grill itself or inside the Kamado Joe app.
Kamado Joe also says this grill uses less fuel than a typical pellet grill because of the ceramic construction. While the hopper is smaller than what Pit Boss, Traeger, Weber and others offer, the Pellet Joe can hold 10 pounds of pellets when full — or what the company says is enough for 14 hours of use at smoking temperatures. If that holds true, that is more efficient that some of the WiFi-enabled pellet models I’ve tested. Kamado Joe also says this grill has agitators inside the hopper that “significantly” reduce pellet jams — a common source of frustration for owners of these types of grills.
Inside, the Pellet Joe has an 18-inch cooking surface, which is the same size as the Kamado Joe Classic III. That’s much smaller than most pellet grills, but nearly every ceramic option would be. Due to the shape, there isn’t as much room to install multiple levels of grates. You can buy shelf-type accessories that give you some stacking ability, but overall these egg-shaped grills won’t allow you to craft a feast in one go. The goal is efficiency over quantity. The Pellet Joe also comes with trademark KJ design touches like an Air Lift hinge, stainless steel latch, aluminum side shelves, smoke tower and more. Plus, the Pellet Joe will work with other Kamado Joe accessories built for the company’s Classic line of ceramic cookers.
Most importantly, the Pellet Joe’s WiFi connectivity will allow you to control and monitor the grill from afar. Thanks to an app that was created in partnership with cooking tech company Desora, you can employ two food probes and one pit or ambient temp probe to keep tabs on your progress. Kamado Joe has teamed up with Desora before: the duo created the iKamand module that brings connectivity and remote control to KJ charcoal-fired ceramic grills. Desora also developed the idea for the SloRoller parabolic insert during an engineering class at Harvard. The accessory maximizes smoke and heat distribution inside the grill for optimum cooking.
The Pellet Joe is available now from independent retailers like All Things Barbecue, Atlanta Grill Company and Premier Grilling for $1,999. That may seem like a lofty investment compared to some pellet grills — and it is. However, the traditional charcoal ceramic options are pricey too. In fact, the Pellet Joe is only $300 more than the Kamado Joe Classic III ($1,699) and it actually packs some tech inside. Wider availability is expected in early 2021.