Among hundreds of thousands of smokers and grills, the Kamado Joe Classic III shines as one of the best outdoor cooking appliances because of its several advanced and new features that are rarely found in other outdoor cooking devices.
If you’re interested in bringing this product to your backyard and want an in-depth Kamado Joe Classic III review to address any doubts and learn more about this gadget, you’ve come to the right place. This guide is tailored for you.
Kamado Joe Classic III Review: In-Depth Analysis
When it comes to next-level grilling and smoking equipment, the Kamado Joe Classic III stands out as one of the best smoker grill combos.
It has numerous yet outstanding features that can enhance your BBQ game and take your outdoor cooking experience to new levels.
Most importantly, there are two modules in the Kamado Joe III series, Big Joe III and Classic III, and I will review the second one.
It is important to note that these products have different dimensions, features, and price tags, so choose one that fits your needs and suits your budget.
So, let’s move on to the review guide and explain each feature and how it can help you improve your smoking and grilling game.
Assembly – Pretty Straightforward, But A Helper Is Recommended
First of all, it weighs 286 pounds, and its dimensions are 18.11 x 50.5 inches, which is less than the Big III, but still, it is pretty heavy and measures big.
Therefore, I suggest you assemble this product with someone to minimize your effort, save time, and set it up perfectly.
The primary part of the grill, which is the egg-shaped grilling area comes preassembled. So, you will need to assemble its legs first to place the upper part over it.
When you lift the grill to place it over the legs, it’s essential to use the proper lifting points, such as the bottom vent and rear hinge. Ensure not to lift the product from the side or front lid handle because they may not withstand the weight.
Once you’ve placed the grill nicely, the rest of the process is pretty easy, in which you need to attach all the components in their exact location.
You will be mainly setting up the grill’s interior as it consists of several essential components like the grilling grates, fire ring, firebox, half moon grates, pizza oven, stainless steel charcoal basket, ash collector, divide and conquer flexible cooking system, etc.
After that, you will simply need to attach the side shelves, Kontrol Top Tower, and temperature gauge. You can keep its SlōRoller Hyperbolic Smoke Chamber in the place given between the legs and use it when required.
Due to its heavy weight, I highly recommend seeking help from one of your friends while assembling this product, especially when lifting it.
Last but not least, you can and should download the instruction manual before assembling the grill to have a complete understanding of the whole process.
It can take you more than one hour if you do it all alone and around 30 minutes if doing it with a person.
Design & Construction Quality – Attractive & Long-Lasting
At first glance, Kamado Joe Classic III gives you the look of a traditional egg-shaped Kamado grill, and it is pretty similar to its old version, like KJ Classic II.
Also, its primary color is red, which looks attractive with the contrast of black color on its other parts like the shelves, legs, and top vent. To me, it has got an elegant design and will indeed look charming in your backyard or under the patio.
If I talk about its construction, it is an excellent product for long-term use because it is made with different robust materials. The outer materials of this gadget are aluminum and alloy steel, whereas its inner parts consist of thick stainless steel.
The grilling grates are also made of thick stainless steel, which ensures even and improved heat distribution to cook your different kinds of food evenly without the fear of over or undercooking.
Also, its outer parts can withstand rust and corrosion. I believe it is an apparent product to invest in if you are searching for a grill that can be your companion in cooking delicious foods for a long time.
Easy To Use? Yes, It Is
If you have been grilling or smoking on the previous Kamado Joe products, I believe it is an easy device for you to cook on.
However, if you are new to Kamado-style cooking, it requires a few cooking sessions to familiarize yourself with this product.
The reason why it requires some practice is that it needs manual steps to use this grill. For example, you need to adjust the temperature and airflow through the top and bottom vents and read the temperature on its temperature gauge.
Read on to the next section to learn more about the mechanism of controlling the temperature on this egg-shaped charcoal grill.
Temperature Control & Performance – Easy & Stable
Suppose you have been a charcoal or Kamado grill user for a long time. In that case, controlling the temperature on Classic III will be relatively easy because it follows the same heat-regulating pattern as other charcoal and Kamado grills.
In case you are new to charcoal grilling, you will need to be familiar with its top and bottom vents to understand how to get higher or lower heat per your cooking session requirements. Here’s my point of view on this matter.
Suppose I am going to hold a grilling session where I need a high heat inside the grill, approximately 350 °F or above. In that case, I will keep the top and bottom vents open for increased airflow to the charcoal.
As a result, the charcoal pieces will ignite quicker and burn hotter, generating intense heat to raise the temperature inside the grill.
Opposite to that when smoking brisket or other thick cuts of meat, the temperature should be low and slow, probably between 225 °F to 275 °F.
In this case, I will use a grill with closed top and bottom vents to limit the airflow. By restricting the airflow, I can ensure that the charcoal burns slower and does not generate too much heat.
Furthermore, two of the most admirable features of this top smoker grill combo are its vast temperature range and excellent heat retention, which helps me even when grilling in the rain.
It allows you to cook your food within the range of 225 °F to 750 °F, which lets me smoke, grill, bake, roast, and sear on the same device.
Also, the chances of heat loss and smoke escape are less because of its thick walls made with ceramic material, wire mesh fiberglass gasket around the grill, and a lid with a tight sealing.
Cooking Surface – Suitable For Small Families
One of the essential features of a pellet, charcoal, or any other grill is its cooking space because it directly impacts the amount of food you can cook at once and the overall cooking experience.
If I talk about the Classic III, this grill has 250 square inches of cooking area, which is 200 square inches less than the Kamado Joe Big Joe III.
I believe the cooking space in the Classic III should have been larger to let you grill or smoke a large number of food items at once. But it might suit you if you have a small family or hold small gatherings.
Its 250 square inches cooking area can easily accommodate at least 13 burgers, four whole chickens, two racks of ribs, or one whole packer brisket, which isn’t completely disadvantageous.
To conclude, the Classic III is an excellent option for individuals or families with smaller needs, and Big III is suitable for those with a big family or who often feed to larger gatherings.
Cooking Performance – A Versatile Product
I have reviewed several grills and smokers, but this charcoal grill performs up to the mark in terms of cooking performance because it is good at retaining heat, has a vast temperature range, and provides precise control over cooking temperatures.
I love this charcoal grill as it delivers tender and juicy meat, infusing rich smoky flavors and creating beautiful sear marks.
Let me share the experience you will get with this grill and its cooking performance when grilling, smoking, searing, etc.
Smoking A Beef Brisket
It is an excellent grill to smoke beef brisket because it has many notable features that are expressly included in it to enhance the overall smoking experience.
For example, when smoking brisket, I recommend using its SlōRoller, which creates a suitable smoking environment and produces 20 times more smoke than usual.
Moreover, when you set the temperature to low and slow, its thick ceramic-made walls retain the heat inside the cooking chamber well, and the fiberglass gaskets prevent the escape of heat and smoke.
As a result, a suitable smoking atmosphere takes place in the grill, allowing you to smoke beef brisket low and slow, render its fat, break down its collagen, infuse the meat with delicious smoky flavors, make it tender and juicy, and reach the perfect internal temperature (195 to 203 °F) within the estimated duration.
Also, when using its 3-tier divide and conquer system, placing the meat on the middle or upper rack is better to create a suitable difference between the heat source and food, also known as the indirect heat setup.
So, my point of view on smoking on KJ Classic III is pretty straightforward; it does a beautiful job and offers better results than your imagination.
Grilling Chicken Breast
This grill is a beast when it comes to grilling meats like a chicken breasts because it can provide you with all the necessary features required for grilling.
For example, the Classic III can reach and maintain high temperatures of 400 degrees Fahrenheit or above, which is essential for grilling and achieving the perfect sear with a deliciously charred exterior on grilled chicken breast.
Here’s a quick overview of how to cook perfectly grilled chicken breast on this grill.
First of all, set the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit and let it preheat, which won’t take longer than 15 to 20 minutes. When the grill reaches the desired temperature, set your marinated chicken on the lower grates for more direct and intense heat.
After you’ve set the meat on the right spot, cook each side for around 5 to 6 minutes and stop cooking when it reaches the internal temperature of 165°F in its thickest part.
Make sure not to use the SlōRoller when grilling because it can protect your meat from getting high radiant heat. Also, if you are using a meat thermometer, you can keep the grill’s lid closed; otherwise, you can cook with an open lid.
But in both cases, you should monitor the cooking duration to flip the chicken at the right time so that you can serve your family or guests with perfectly grilled chicken breast.
There is a massive fanbase for steak searing because it tastes delicious and provides a mouthwatering combination of a crusty exterior and a juicy and tender interior.
Honestly, not all pellet grills, like Traeger Pro 575, offer the perfect searing results mainly because they have a limited temperature range of 500 °F.
On the other hand, this KJ grill can reach the maximum temperature of 750 °F, which is perfect for searing steak or other meats. But the searing process on this grill can be somewhat technical because the grill requires a few modifications.
Here’s how to accomplish this task.
First thing first, you need to set up the grill to 500 °F or above to create a suitable searing environment, and to do that, you will need to keep the top and bottom vents fully open until the grill reaches the recommended temperature.
Next, the grill needs to be set up accordingly for searing. There can be two scenarios, whether you want to get things done quickly or you can spend a few extra minutes.
If you are in a hurry, I advise placing the steak on the lowest grate near the heat source without using the SlōRoller or the half-moon heat deflectors, as they are more suitable when cooking low and slow.
Next, close the lid and cook each side of the steak for approximately 3 to 4 minutes; the steak should reach an internal temperature of 155 to 165 °F during this duration. In this way, you get a perfectly cooked steak with sear marks within no time.
Remember that the searing duration can fluctuate depending on the steak size, temperature consistency, and outside weather.
Other Cooking Methods
Besides the popular cooking methods of smoking, grilling, or searing, you can also bake, roast, or braise different kinds of food on this versatile grill.
The main reason why this grill lets you do multiple styles of cooking is that it can reach its required temperature pretty easily.
For baking purposes, you can use it as an indoor oven to cook pizzas; for roasting, you can cook different beef cuts, and it also lets you braise beef shank.
To conclude, the overall cooking performance of the Classic III is outstanding, offering a wide range of cooking methods because of its extensive temperature range and excellent heat retention.
Cleaning – Easy As You Like
Mostly, the charcoal grills create a lot of mess, and cleaning them is time-consuming as well as irritating, especially the grill grates. The reason is that the food gets stuck to the grates, and the charcoal residue can be stubborn to remove.
However, you will not face such issues with this Kamado grill because it uses porcelain-coated grill grates that are heat resistant, and the foods don’t stick on them, making the whole cleaning process a breeze.
Interestingly, the grates are removable, which can add further convenience to the cleaning process even if they are dirtier than you thought.
Furthermore, this grill comes up with a removable ash catcher, and this is where the ash or any dust from the burning coals goes. So, confidently cook your food, remove the ash pan from its location, and empty it. Much easier, isn’t it?
To maintain and keep your Kamado gadget new, I advise you to clean it after each cooking session which won’t take more than 5 minutes, and prevent unnecessary ash build-up inside the grill.
Other Notable Features – You’ll Love Using Them
From minimizing your cooking and cleaning efforts to enhancing your whole BBQ game, you will come across many admirable features the Kamado brand provides in this versatile grill.
So, let’s move forward and hunt the most notable features of this grill and how they can benefit you in different ways.
3 Tier Divide And Conquer Cooking System
It is an outstanding and newer cooking feature that allows the Classic III to rise as one of the best smoker grill combos and is helpful in different ways. But what is it? Let me help you understand that.
In simple words, it is a cooking system that divides the grilling space into multiple levels, allowing the users to cook their various food items through different heat settings and cooking techniques.
The 3-tier means you can set the food cooking grates at three different heights. Ultimately, the higher grate becomes suitable for low and slow cooking, the middle for an average temperature cooking, and the bottom for high-heat grilling or searing.
This is why this grill stands out among its competitors when it aims to cook different kinds of food through different cooking techniques.
Patent pending SlōRoller Hyperbolic Smoke Chamber
If you prefer infusing your food with intense and quality smoke flavors, you will surely love the SlōRoller Hyperbolic Smoke Chamber provided with this charcoal grill.
This smoke chamber follows the Havard science and can help the grill generate and circulate 20 times more smoke inside the cooking chamber without burning extra charcoal, making this grill fuel-efficient.
As a result, your thick meats like brisket, turkey, and ribs will be infused with more enhanced smoke flavor, offering a delicious and authentic barbecue experience.
Another excellent and my favorite feature of this grill is its half-moon design which lets you create different heat zones.
To take advantage of this design, the brand provides you with heat deflectors that are also in the shape of a half-moon. Allow me to explain how it works.
There are three different settings that I can create using these deflectors. I can either set up one deflector above the heat source, which is burning charcoal, set both of them or use none.
Now, I will place one deflector if I require a medium heat of around 350 to 450 degrees Fahrenheit for grilling.
Secondly, if I tend to smoke a brisket low and slow, I will place both deflectors and when I need to sear my meat, I cook without placing any half-moon deflector.
Air Lift Hinge & Fibreglass Gasteks
The gasket is attached around the grill lip with stainless steel latch, which prevents the heat escape and the lid from cracking when shut.
Its airlift hinge is pretty impressive in bearing weight which lets the lid stand at any position and can also even help you lift the grill’s lid with a finger.
Aluminum Side Shelves
There are two side shelves or tables on the side of this grill. They might not help you get smoky flavors or add taste to your food, but they can add convenience while you cook.
For example, when you are busy cooking your food, the side shelves can provide a space to hold your cooking plates, spoons, or other accessories.
As a result, everything is within reach, and you don’t need to constantly move to arrange the required cooking tools.
Temperature Gauge On The Lid
Unlike the pellet smokers and grills, this one has a built-in thermometer that shows you the temperature readings on a temperature gauge installed on the lid rather than an LED screen.
Furthermore, it shows pretty accurate temperature stats even from the different parts of the cooking area, which I greatly admire.
With the help of this gauge, you can ensure that the temperature inside the grill is consistent, or you can make amendments to whether the temperature needs to be adjusted or not.
Consequently, your food will come out of the grill perfectly cooked without being over or undercooked.
What Do I Like The Most About This Grill?
- Excellent Heat Retention: Its thick ceramic walls can retain the heat inside for several hours without dropping the inner temperature of the grill, and you get to serve evenly cooked foods without burning too much charcoal.
- Versatile Temperature Range: It can reach the temperature from 225 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit which lets you smoke, grill, bake, braise, roast, and sear, on the same device.
- 3-Tier Divide and Conquer System: Using this feature, you can divide the grill into different zones, allowing you to cook multiple items simultaneously or cook different foods at various heat settings.
- Easy Cleaning: You don’t need to spend hours cleaning this charcoal grill as it has porcelain-coated stainless steel grates that make cleaning easier, and its slide-out ash drawer allows you to clean the whole mess simply by removing and emptying this drawer.
- Easy Heat Regulation: Mostly, it is challenging to control temperature on a charcoal grill, but this one comes with an easy-to-use Kontrol Tower vent at the top, which supports precise temperature control.
What Do I Dislike About This Grill
- Expensive: It offers many great features that you barely see in other grills, and that’s the reason it costs you a lot. But if you are on a budget and still want to grill and smoke on a Kamdo product, I advise you to go with the Kamado Joe Classic II.
- Heavy: It weighs 286 pounds, almost half the same as the Big Joe III and nearly the same as the Classic II. But, it is still a good weight which makes it less portable. However, its wheels can help you move this device.
- Limited cooking area: The cooking space of the grill is 250 sq inches which may not be suitable for larger gatherings, and at this point, you might want to bring the Big Joe III to your backyard.
Is Kamado Joe Classic III Worth It?
No doubt, this versatile product costs you a lot, but it is worth the price you pay for this smoker and grill combo because it furnishes you with many innovative features you’d not have seen before in other charcoal grill brand products.
Its super design and features can elevate your cooking experience in different ways, such as enhancing your foods’ taste and making them crusty or tendered and juicy. In short, you can smoke, grill, or sear your food however you want to.
It is an impressive and one of the top-notch smoker grill combos in the market, with several magnificent features to make you fall in love with this product.
If you are a small family of 4 to 6, are not short on budget, and prefer holding next-level charcoal-flavored smoking and grilling sessions, I endorse you to buy this product as it is one of the best you’ll come across.
But if you are short on budget, have a big family, and prefer a larger cooking space, you may want to skip this option and find a low-priced alternative product.
Frequently Asked Questions
Is Kamado Joe Classic III big enough for brisket?
Yes, its cooking space is around 250 sq inches which is big enough to accommodate an average-sized or even a whole-packer brisket.
What is the difference between Joe 2 and Joe 3?
The major differences between these two Kamado products are different price tags and cooking spaces, just like Classic 2 has a 2-tier divide and conquer system while the Classic 3 has a 3-tier cooking area. Also, there is a slight difference in side shelves and overall appearance, which is quite impressive for the users to choose one per their budget and cooking requirements.
Can you use regular charcoal on Kamdo Joe Classic 3?
Yes, you can use any high-quality regular charcoal on this grill, but I recommend you to use Kamado Joe Big Block XL Lump Charcoal to achieve the ideal results, as it is also suggested by the brand itself.
Robert Gill, a BBQ enthusiast, and Senior Author at FaveGrills.com bring his extensive knowledge of BBQ equipment and exciting recipes to the team. With his outgoing personality and love for BBQ, Robert plays an essential role in the FaveGrills community, sharing his passion and expertise through informative articles and gear reviews.