Kamado Style Cookers, Evolution
The kamado, a clay or ceramic vessel, used as an oven. Kamado style cookers of today are for many cooking styles; outdoor grilling, smoking, baking and barbecuing. These cookers, fueled by wood or charcoal. Lump or natural charcoal being the preferred fuel.
Cooking in clay pots is thousands of years old. China, India and Japan all have different techniques of cooking in earthen cookware. The tandoor in India and the mushikamado used in Japan. It is through introducing the later to Americans during World War II that the modern kamado cooker got its first design and name.
Construction and Operation
The modern kamado style cookers built from high fired ceramics with a glazed finish. The ceramic construction keeps the cooker from cracking under high heat. The other materials impart none smells or tastes to the food item like other finishes might.
Lump charcoal a primary fuel source. It produces high heat with little ash and does not contain additives that will affect the flavor of the food being cooked.
The versatility of cooking styles you can do on kamado style cookers is remarkable. You can grill, the lid closed to turn it into an oven, and indirect smoking of meats and fish, and even baking items.
Kamado style cookers constructed as a two piece unit with a clamshell design between the lid and the base. The base has the fire box where you put the charcoal. Holes are in the firebox to allow air flow and sits up so ash can fall into the bottom of the cooker keeping the air flow clear. Temperature regulation by airflow through a vent at the bottom and one in the lid. The fire creates air flow through the unit. More air flow the hotter the fire will be. Temperatures can reach above 500 degree Fahrenheit or can stay at a lower temp for smoking. Due to the air flow they are easy to light and when you finished you close the vent, the fire goes out and you have charcoal left for another day.
A few of the manufacturers of kamado style cookers are Big Green Egg, Komodo Kamado, Primo and Grill Dome. I have been cooking on a medium Big Green Egg for the last seven years and will never use a gas grill again.