Review: Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill

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Erin Lawrence

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart grill

When cooking with fire, it’s too easy to go wrong, after all, you can’t tame fire… or can you? But the taste of grilled foods is like nothing else…What if you could take the flavour and fun of a traditional charcoal grill and make it easy to bring this type of cooking under your control. That’s the premise of the new Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill.

In this review I’m going to test one out for a few weeks at my home to see what it’s like to use, how easy it is to operate, if it truly can make charcoal grilling easier, and most importantly how the food turns out. I’ll wrap things up by going over the pros and cons and then I’ll let you know from my personal experience and hands-on review time, if I think I can recommend this smart charcoal grill to you.

A quick note here; Kamado Joe has generously gifted me with this product so that I can do an extended review at home. While the company has provided the product to me it has not had a hand in my creation of this review and has not told me what I have to say or what I can’t say about it so you can consider these thoughts my own.

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill
5

Summary

Intuitive, easy to set up, and well designed, the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill makes great food all day. The delivery and assembly can be a bit of an undertaking,

Pros

  • Well built & feels substantial
  • Incredibly easy to assemble
  • Set up process quick and smooth.
  • Lots in the package
  • App is easy to use; great UI
  • Use probes to monitor temps remotely
  • Very intuitive & error-proof
  • Makes amazing food
  • Makes all-day fire cooking easy
  • Holds temperatures incredibly well
  • Smart interface is amazingly easy
  • Grills or smokes

Cons

  • Grill is large and heavy?
  • Assembly required ?

Preparing for delivery

A word of advice about preparing for the delivery of your Kamado Joe Konnected Joe grill. It will likely be delivered on a large truck. The box is absolutely massive and weighs nearly 300 pounds according to the driver who dropped mine off. You’ll want to make sure you have a clear space for the delivery person to use a skid to maneuver it up to your house. There will be no moving the box itself once it’s delivered so make sure you can place it where you want it until you can unpack it.

The best thing to do is to open the box by removing the top lid and then lifting the sides of the carton off. Inside is the grill and many smaller boxes. Pull the boxes out and take them to where you’ll be assembling the grill. Open the grill up and take out the rest of the items that are stored inside including the heavy fire bricks. This will make moving the grill itself far easier. The last step will be to move the grill unit itself. You will absolutely need two people for this process or some kind of wheeled dolly. There are good handles on the side that allow you to grip it securely so you won’t feel like you’re going to drop it.

Watch my hands on video review of Kamado Joe Konnected Joe

Assembly

The assembly process was actually far easier and faster than I thought it would be. While I won’t go into excruciating detail about the exact steps; in a nutshell you put the legs onto a base, add the bottom shelf, then attach four caster wheels. The main Grilling unit then sits in the assembled base and gets secured with screws.

The last steps are to assemble the parts you need on the inside; there are several rather unique and perhaps indistinguishable parts. You’ll add:

  1. 5 AMP ceramic fire bricks; AMP stands for advanced multi panel.
  2. These fit together tongue-in-groove and shield the bottom of the unit from heat escaping.
  3. Next a stainless steel ring goes over the top of those bricks to hold them in place and to provide a base for the racks that will go in above.

On top of the stainless steel ring there is what’s called the “divide and conquer” flexible cooking rack. On top of the cooking rack you’ll place two halves of a circular ceramic heat deflector. This looks kind of like a pizza stone cut in two.

An accessory rack goes in next where you can securely place optional cooking tools or pots. Finally the “half moon cooking grates go in which is your top-most grilling surface. Because this is divided in two, you can remove one or both if necessary.

Automatic charcoal starting with heating element and fan

A couple of other really cool features to take note of; there is an automatic fire starting system (AFS) which uses a heating element and fan in the base of the grill to ignite the charcoal for you easily. The heating element is on when a red light on the front is glowing.

Once engaged this heating element will stay on for 10 minutes and the igniter will automatically turn off if the grill temperature goes above 190°F or 88°C. You can also press and hold the AFS button to turn the element off anytime you prefer.

Kamado Joe app gives you full remote control

Now that we’ve gotten to know a bit about our grill, let’s get it connected. For this you will need the free Kamado Joe app. Sign up for or sign into your account and when you’re ready plug in the grill. This will activate the Kontrol panel and allow you to get the grill connected to your smart phone.

With that said you can use the app to control your grill, or simply use the control board on the front if you prefer or you don’t have Wi-Fi.

Getting to know the Kontrol Board

Taking a quick look at the control panel, there’s two parts to it; on the right is the input for up to three meat probes. Below that is the AFS or Automatic Fire Starter button. On the main screen is really only a handful of buttons and a small screen. On the left you’ll see screen cycle at the top which allows you to cycle through different controller views.

How to set temperature on the grill

Below that is the temperature button which allows you to set the temperature; to use it press the button to initiate the temperature sequence then turn the knob to your desired temperature. Press the button again to set the temperature. Below that you’ll see the ‘set time’ button and at the bottom is the pairing button.

My Set up experience

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart grill

When you use your grill for the first time it’ll open the Kamado Joe app and follow the instructions for pairing your Bluetooth and Wi-Fi grill with your smart device. When I did it I was connected in seconds.

Two ways to use Kamado Joe

One of the first questions I got as I began my review is whether or not you need to use the smart connectivity or whether you can simply use the grill as he would a traditional charcoal grill. The answer is, you can use it either way.

Using it with the companion app is known as Automatic Mode, while using it without any of the smarts is called Classic Mode. I’m going to focus first on using automatic mode since that’s what differentiates this grill.

How to start Kamado Joe Konnected Joe in Automatic Mode

To start your cook make sure any existing ash from the firebox has been cleaned out since this can prevent new charcoal from igniting.

Add your charcoal to the firebox and close the bottom vent fully. When running the grill in automatic mode the bottom vent should be closed completely at all times, which is unlike running a typical charcoal grill or even using this one in Classic mode. That’s because temperature sensors combined with the fan inside are going to be able to regulate the temperature for you.

Close the dome and power your grill on with the switch on the back. Then power on your controller. Choose what temperature you want to heat the grill to. Then press the AFS or automatic fire starter button to engage the element to ignite the charcoal. The element turns on and a red light will glow. This element will stay on for 10 minutes.

The heating element inside will light the charcoal for you, meaning one of the more finicky tasks of charcoal grilling has become completely automated.

In my personal experience with charcoal grilling, I have often struggled trying to get charcoal to start and then to burn properly. I also find it very fiddly to be opening and closing different vents at the top and the bottom and I will happily admit that I don’t really understand the whole airflow thing.

But with the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill, I don’t actually need to even play a part. The grill knows what it’s doing and can deliver a hot grill on demand. Let’s take a look at it in action.

Cooking on the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill: my experience

One of the first things I cooked on my Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill was a steak.

We built a fire in the bottom of the Joe to break it in. The coals lit very quickly with the electrical element which is also connected to that small fan. The fan cycles on and off as it needs to, to keep your charcoal at just the right temperature.

We took the grill up to about 600°F and also took the opportunity to do some foil wrapped potatoes. Husband Roger used the stone diffusers included in the kit to cut some of the heat under the potatoes so they would bake instead of scorching. I have to say these came out absolutely perfectly and cooked fairly quickly. When it came time to sear the steak, the grill was piping hot and I can say that our two steaks came out absolutely perfectly.

Burgers – using the probe

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart grill burgers

On more than one occasion we used the Joe for grilling burgers, and I can stay without a doubt that these are the best burgers I’ve ever made on any grill or barbecue. Being able to precisely control the temperature, and deflect heat as maybe necessary means the burgers get perfectly cooked without turning into charcoalized hockey pucks.

Plus I got to experiment with using the temperature probes and I found that this can make a very easy grilling process even more error-proof, since your phone will alert you when your meat is cooked to the exact temperature or range you want, whether you like it rare or well done.

Because of the Kamado Joe,I’m getting more confident about grilling, so lettuce burgers are becoming a regular part of our rotation.

Pulled Pork

Next up husband Roger wanted to try out a pulled pork. This kind of all day grilling can be quite challenging because you need to manage the fire and the temperature throughout the day, and possibly add charcoal at some point. Using the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill for this couldn’t have been easier.

The grill got up to temperature fairly quickly and then stayed parked there. There was no fiddling or adjusting or constant checking. The best part was that the app kept me up-to-date about exactly what was happening on the grill. So much so, and so confident was I by this time that I felt comfortable going out on a long bike ride knowing I could keep one eye on the app and my cook from afar.

The pork roast we made was tender, smoky and succulent.

Beef ribs

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart grill ribs

Next up we tried another multi hour cook, this time with beef ribs. We put them on early in the morning thinking they would take close to all day. By the time we checked on them at midday we were surprised to find they were perfect; this put the cook time on the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe at least a few hours faster than using our old charcoal grill. The ribs were tender and tasty, with a nice bark on the outside.

Making pizza

We also used the Kamado Joe to make pizza. I will note there is a special pizza platform called the DoughJoe (haha) that turns your grill into a de facto pizza oven. I didn’t have that, but would certainly consider getting one. We got the grill up to temperature, assembled the pie, and had fully cooked fresh homemade pizza in under half an hour. Impressive.

Kamado Joe creates confidence

Charcoal grilling is an art. It takes practice and knowledge to cook well on a charcoal grill, and more so if you’re going to tackle longer all day cooks. For that reason I’ve always preferred to simply use a gas grill, but well gas grills can be quick and convenient, they can also dry out and scorch food a lot easier. Plus you just don’t get that beautiful smoky charcoal grilled taste when using a gas grill.

After spending about six weeks with the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe, I can say one of the best things about it is that it has made me a far more confident charcoal griller. I am no longer preoccupied with vents, airflow, and trying to fine-tune fire. I let Joe handle the intricacies of the fire and I get to watch via the app. It couldn’t be easier to master charcoal cooking.

Overall Review: Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill

Overall I have to say I’ve been blown away by how easy this grill makes cooking with charcoal.

Let’s go over the pros and cons so you can use my personal experience to make your own decision.

On the pro side, the grill is well built and feels substantial; like something I’ll own for life. It was incredibly easy to assemble, and the set up process was quick and smooth. The package comes with everything you could possibly need to grill effectively, and overall it’s just very intuitive.

Using the Konnected Joe makes cooking any kind of food virtually foolproof. I had amazing success cooking everything from burgers and steaks, to pulled pork, roast chicken and ribs. Even pizza got elevated thanks to this grill. I found it was incredibly hard to overcook or burn anything when following the app and letting the connected smarts manage the food for me. I think I said it before but I’ll say it again; I’m super impressed with how user-friendly this grill is and how much confidence it’s given me to cook with charcoal.

On the downside, it’s truly hard to find a lot of things I didn’t like. If you are new to charcoal grilling you might find the large size and extraordinarily heavy weight of this grill to be more than you want to manage. With that said this style, design, and size is all in line with similar ceramic or egg-shaped charcoal grills of this ilk. Other folks may not appreciate the fact it requires assembly, but I can attest that it was extremely simple to do. You will need two people for the last couple of assembly steps so plan ahead.

What are you want to cook with the help of technology using the app, or freestyle it on your own, this grill can accommodate both type of cook.

I can absolutely recommend the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe smart charcoal grill to you.

It sells for about $1699USD and you can get it from places like Home Depot, Best Buy and even Amazon in the US.

**A note about Affiliate Links: TechGadgetsCanada & TechGadgetsInternational is supported by our readers. Occasionally I will include affiliate links in my reviews. I do this partly for convenience of the reader (since I’ll almost always include a link to the company website or similar anyway) in case you want to read more or purchase, but I also may get a small commission from the click, which helps me keep the blog running. If you choose to use this link I thank you greatly for supporting the blog. There’s no obligation or cost to you for using these links. As an Amazon Associate I earn from qualifying purchases.

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