Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe - we crack which cult egg bbq is the best

Egg-shaped BBQs are not only fashionable but exceptionally functional. Which premium brand does it best?

outdoor kitchen with Big Green BBQ, tiled walls, storage, shelves, condiments, glassware, low table, storage for cutlery, compost, logs
(Image credit: Future PLC)

The eggs have landed, taking over gardens everywhere. But instead of being sent from outer space, these spherical wonders are instead the outdoor kitchen must-have of the last few years.

And when it comes to which of these Kamado-style brands makes the best BBQ, it's undoubtedly Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe in the battle for the top spot.

Our explainer on Kamado grills has the full lowdown on the rise of this type of BBQ, but the TLDR is this: these ceramic ovens are perfect for locking in smoke and flavour, with vents allowing grillers to control airflow to a precise degree for advanced level barbecuing.

We've tried both brands in our Big Green Egg Minimax review and Kamado Joe Classic Joe BBQ review, so we've got it on good authority what makes each of these brands worth investing in. While fundamentally these two BBQs will deliver essentially identical cooking experiences, there are differences when it comes to design. Here's our expert take. 

Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe 

Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe: the basics

Let's get one thing straight, these brands have luxury price tags, with the kind of cost that would make an amateur BBQer's eyes water. We're talking big bucks.

The most inexpensive Big Green Egg, a company that started in the UK in 1974, is the Minimax which comes in at £795.00 from John Lewis at the time of writing. The most expensive from the brand is the XL Big Green Egg, which will set you back £1,895.00. Don't say I didn't warn you about the price!

Kamado Joe's cheapest model is the Joe Jr, a mini ceramic like the MiniMax which costs £499.00 from BBQ World, followed by the Kettle Joe which will set you back £599.00. 

While Big Green Egg has stuck with creating classic ceramic grills controlled via grates, Kamado Joe recently released the Konnected Joe, which allows you to set the temperature of your charcoal grill using a digital interface. Snazzy!

On the whole then, if you were looking for the cheapest ceramic option from either of these brands, Kamado Joe is the winner with the Joe Jr. In order to get the most from a Kamado grill, seasoned outdoor chefs would probably advise you to size up,  so that you can get the full functionality of an oven like this, but it's dependent on what you'll be using your grill for.

Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe: Design

Both of these egg BBQs are heavy, with our reviewer finding that even attempting to carry the relatively small Big Green Egg MiniMax was most definitely a two-person job. She also found it to be a robustly made oven, which was definitely something I also found when testing the Kamado Joe BBQ.

The Kamado Joe Series II also needed two strong people to assemble it, so be warned that it is quite extensive to get a grill like this up and running.

Testing of the Big Green Egg at home

(Image credit: Future/Helen McCue)

Fortunately, once assembled, getting started is easy with both BBQs. Our expert reviewer found that the Big Green Egg took 12 minutes to hit 200°C, while the Kamado Joe took 25 minutes - though you'll have to bear in mind that we were testing a Kamado Joe about double the size, so it pretty much evens out. 

Kamado Joe Classic Joe BBQ Series II tried and tested

(Image credit: Future)

Fundamentally, the design across these two BBQ ranges is very, very similar. Both have sturdy, ceramic exteriors with specially engineered hinges to make the lids easier to lift. Both feature venting systems, as is typical of Kamado grills, and have premium finishes when it comes to the details, including the temperature gauge and stainless steel cooking grates.

Patio BBQ area with wooden dec and rustic brick wall

(Image credit: Future PLC/ Chris Snook)

When it comes to the winner of the design stakes then, we think that the winner here very much comes down to personal preference. Big Green Egg seems the more popular choice if the gorgeous homes that feature in Ideal Home are anything to go by, with the red of the Kamado Joe offering something a bit different. 

Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe: User experience

In terms of user experience (and enjoyment!), our expert tester found trying out the Big Green Egg Minimax to be a great experience, and with the help of the included materials she found controlling the temperature intuitive from the offset. She was wowed by how it cooked meat especially, with chicken that was juicy, tender and packed with flavour.

Testing of the Big Green Egg at home

(Image credit: Future/Helen McCue)

Our reviewer found that everything she cooked on the Big Green Egg was delicious and that following the guidance to get to that point was easy. She called it a 'fantastic gateway into a world of egg cooking', and despite its small size, found that she could easily cater to 2 to 4 people.

Similarly, during our BBQ testing day last year, we enjoyed testing the Kamado Joe Classic Joe II, and found that it regulated temperature extremely well. In practice,  it did take a little longer to get the temperature just right but do bear in mind that we were testing a much bigger Kamado with more going on feature-wise.

Kamado Joe Classic Joe BBQ Series II tried and tested

(Image credit: Future)

It was by far the top BBQ that we built and tested that day in terms of quality and the taste of the final resulting burgers was out of this world. Though we got there in the end with the cooking techniques, we'd definitely recommend investing in a dedicated book, like Cooking on the Big Green Egg Cookbook from John Lewis for £24.00

Big Green Egg vs Kamado Joe: Which should you buy?

So, you're faced with the choice between these two high-quality BBQs and you're not sure how to choose. My advice would be to first think about how many people you want to regularly cater to, and then choose the cheapest option from either Big Green Egg or Kamado Joe that caters to that.

The smaller Kamado grills, like the Big Green Egg Minimax, will suffice for those who want an entry-level cooker, but if you want all the bells and whistles then size up to either a bigger BGE or a bigger Kamado Joe. Neither will disappoint. Happy grilling!

Molly Cleary
Kitchen Appliances Editor

Molly is Ideal Home’s Kitchen Appliances Editor and an all-around baking and cooking enthusiast. She joined the team in September 2022 as an Ecommerce Editor after working across Real Homes, Homes & Gardens and Livingetc. She's been reviewing products for 4 years and now specialises in weighing up kitchen essentials' pros and cons, from air fryers to bean-to-cup coffee machines. 

She's always been a keen reader, so after graduating from the University of Exeter in 2020 she was thrilled to find a way to write as a full-time job. Nowadays, she spends her days at home or the Ideal Home test facility trying out new kitchen innovations to see if they’re worth a space on your worktop. Her most beloved and hard-working appliance is her Sage coffee machine though she also takes the title of Ideal Home’s in-house air fryer expert after writing about them religiously over the past few years.

When she's not thinking or writing about kitchen appliances, she loves getting around London exploring new places, going for a dip at the Ladies’ Pond and consuming every bit of pop culture she can get her hands on.