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Kamado Conundrum


Craig Price
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Hi all.

I have a budget of £1500. Have been looking at the Monolith Pro Series 2, as from what I heave read and spoke to owners of them, the build quality and in particular the charcoal basket, grills and grill remover along with the addition of the smoke pellet chute has got me sold against the comparable KJ.

Now here is the conundrum. I have since found a dealer selling a KJ Classic 1 bundle for about the same price with an amazing amount of extras for the same price including KJ cover,Joetisserie,rotisserie basket, rotisserie kebab wheel, rib rack, 8 x meat skewers, chicken stand, gloves reversible cast iron cooking grate, grate gripper, ash raker, rubs, fuel, lighters and wood

Now I do understand that the KJ 1 isn’t quite as good as the Monolith but for the price of that bundle would I regret not getting the better quality Monoltih?

Is the KJ Classic 1 that much worse than the Monolith?

Are those extra accessories enough to make that the deal to go for?

I understand there will be Monolith and KJ fanboys choosing sides but an honest review of what the best option to go for would be greatly appreciated

Point to note I have no extra budget for any accessories beyond £1500

Thanks in advance

 

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I was going to say 'go for Monolith' since they have a better bundle than kj and the stainless steel is far superior to the powder coated mild steel bands.....but then I seen what you have been offered😲👍

If you get the kj classic 1 bundle....then buy the divide and conquer grid, aluminium top vent (better design, but not at all needed) and then eventually replace the felt (2 years time?) with the fibre gasket. You will then have a kj classic 2 with all those accessories👍👍

The firebox on the classic 1 is an all-in-one design which will eventually crack (apparently?), but you are covered under warranty and may get a split version as a free replacement.

I was stuck between Monolith and Kamado Joe 2 years ago and went with Monolith pro series 1.0 bbq edition and absolutely love it....but that decision was pretty much a flip of the coin since it was so close.

But if I had the deal you have found then I think I would have gone with that and eventually 'turned' it into a classic 2👍👍 

 

If you still want more info on Monolith (since they are superb at marketing🤔🙄) then there is an older post were someone was asking about more details and I put some pics and info up. Worth a read😁 

 

Edited by AdamG
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Good points Adam. As I said there isn’t any money at this time for the divide and conquer, not sure of the cost at this time. I’m still leaning towards the Monolith as I know, accessories or not it’s a Rolls Royce of a unit, it’s just, would I be looking at and using the KJ 1, accessories aside and be having that “look at what you could have got” feeling. 
Seriously in two minds here🤣

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I'd discount the chip feeder on the Monoliths as little more than a gimmick to be honest.

 

I would not consider the KJ 1 at that price. The design is old-skool- 1-piece firebox that is prone to cracking, old fashioned heavy hinge, no divide-and-conquer system. The seal is felt which will burn out much more quickly than the seal on the Joe 2. Changing the seal and the firebox won't make it a version 2 either- you'd have to replace the hinge as well.  And the top vent on the ver 1 is very rubbish compared to the vent on the ver 2.  You can pre-order one from Birstalls in Leicester for £899 for delivery in June. The add-ons that you are being offered doesn't make up £600

https://www.birstall.co.uk/products/kamado-joe-ceramic-grill-classic-joe-.html

I would deffo consider the Joe 2 for £1399.

I'd also consider the YNNI 25" kamado. There's a few on Amazon at the moment at £1200 in various colours. Their main site are slightly cheaper at kamado.co.uk with a price of £1140. There's no stock at the moment, but deliveries are due soon. Hell of a bundle too- charcoal basket, divide-and-conquer system, 20 year warranty on the ceramics, cast-iron grate and cover.
https://www.amazon.co.uk/YNNI-Feeder-Kamado-Trolley-TQTT25PK/dp/B08NYTPHYQ/ref=sr_1_7?dchild=1&keywords=YNNI+KAMADO&qid=1620578664&s=outdoors&search-type=ss&sr=1-7

https://www.kamado.co.uk/YNNI-25-inch-Orange-Limited-Edition-Chip-Feeder-Bundle-TQTT25OR-_p_271.html

I was in a similar position after my Pit Boss kamado developed a crack (after 4 years). I considered the Monolith, but the looks of the stand put me off.  It looks too easy to damage if you are moving it on roughish ground. Yes, the stainless bands are nice, but the stand is powder coated steel. The Pro version looks like a decent upgrade, but at over £2K is puts it in Big Joe territory.

I eventually settled on the Big Joe 2 bundle from Birstalls for £2079 delivered inc the Big Joetisserie. (so much for sticking to my budget!). Thats a lot of grill for that money.

 

 

Edited by The Chairmaker
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6 minutes ago, Craig Price said:

Good points Adam. As I said there isn’t any money at this time for the divide and conquer, not sure of the cost at this time. I’m still leaning towards the Monolith as I know, accessories or not it’s a Rolls Royce of a unit, it’s just, would I be looking at and using the KJ 1, accessories aside and be having that “look at what you could have got” feeling. 
Seriously in two minds here🤣

yeah I know the feeling, I had the same after my purchase (should i have got a classic 2).

The 3 things I had in my head were...

1, they both produce the same level of food, its the user that makes the difference.

2, There is no 'wrong' choice between them

3, which exclusive extras are more appealing (this is the hard one by far lol)

I think you will be happy with either and after a couple of months you wont look back👍

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21 minutes ago, The Chairmaker said:

I'd discount the chip feeder on the Monoliths as little more than a gimmick to be honest.

 

I would not consider the KJ 1 at that price. The design is old-skool- 1-piece firebox that is prone to cracking, old fashioned heavy hinge, no divide-and-conquer system. The seal is felt which will burn out much more quickly than the seal on the Joe 2. Changing the seal and the firebox won't make it a version 2 either- you'd have to replace the hinge as well.  You can pre-order one form Birstalls in Leicester for £899 for delivery in June. The add-ons that you are being offered doesn't make up £600

https://www.birstall.co.uk/products/kamado-joe-ceramic-grill-classic-joe-.html

I would deffo consider the Joe 2 for £1399.

I'd also consider the YNNI 25" kamado. There's a few on Amazon at the moment at £1200 in various colours. Their main site are slightly cheaper at kamado.co.uk with a price of £1140. There's no stock at the moment, but deliveries are due soon. Hell of a bundle too- charcoal basket, divide-and-conquer system, lifetime warranty on the ceramics, cast-iron grate and cover.

I was in a similar position after my Pit Boss kamado developed a crack. I considered the Monolith, but the looks of the stand put me off.  It looks too easy to damage if you are moving it on roughish ground. Yes, the stainless bands are nice, but the stand is powder coated steel. The Pro version looks like a decent upgrade, but at over £2K is puts it in Big Joe territory.

I eventually settled on the Big Joe 2 bundle from Birstalls for £2079 delivered inc the Big Joetisserie. (so much for sticking to my budget!). Thats a lot of grill for that money.

 

 

the woodchip feeder is a defo gimmick, you could use it if you forget to add woodchips....but lifting the grid is just as quick, precise positioning of chunks and your not limited to just small chips (chunks wont fit).

I will say though that after 2 years of my old style hinge, I honestly believe Kamado Joe 'solved' a problem that does not seem to exist just so they could use their unique air hinge as a sales pitch. My lid has never slammed down and I have never needed it to be half open. I wouldn't put it in the 'gimmick' group like the woodchip feeder, but certainly not a necessity. Maybe just a luxury

On second thought, maybe the air hinge is justified if you go with big joe/le chef size due to extra weight, mine is a classic size and I have not used a larger size

Edited by AdamG
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I've come close to dropping the lid on my pit Boss a couple of times (so much so that I ordered an extra spring to fit it to take some weight off. Predictably- the day before I found that the base had cracked!). It only has to drop heavily once and catch a tool or something for it to be an expensive evening! For the Big Joe I'd say that it was a necessity.

The jump between the KJ1 and 2 was significant- the air hinge, new style gasket, Divide & Conquer, new style firebox and the new top vent. They really moved the game forward and there's enough difference to make, for me, the ver 1 to be a non-starter no matter how many accesories the dealer has added (and lets be honest, most of what's added is cheap enough- skewers, gloves, chicken stand, wood chunks. The Joetisserie is a decent add-on, but they are only £280 new.

The move to the ver 3 isn't really worth it TBH. The SloRoller looks to make some difference, but not a huge amount. Certainly nowhere near the same jump from ver 1 to 2. The new stand is nice enough, again not that significant though. The ceramics on the 3 are higher than the 2, but you need that extra height for the SloRoller.  The Classic 3 is only £100 cheaper than the Big Joe 2...the added extras are nowhere worth the difference that the bigger cooking space offers.

 

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As Adam said though...there's no real "right" answer. And if you are anything like me then you'll drive yourself nuts umming and ahhing over the differences for blooming months!

Pays yer money and takes yer choice. Either way, Kamado cooking is very different and kamados really are a do-it-all solution. I used a Weber kettle for 15 years before I got my first kamado and it really was night and day.

You'll have a ball learning new techniques and long slow cooks really are so much easier than on any kettle.

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The classic 2 is defo the best choice out of all 3 versions. classic 3 is just poorly priced.

@The Chairmaker Your experience of lids come from Pit Boss, mine comes from Monolith. I assume this is the reason why we have a different view on the airlift if the have a different design? 

Take note Craig that I do not know what the old hinge system on a classic 1 is like, they maybe completely different to Monoliths? (more research for you😉)

Also @Craig Price I would look at Monolith as a 'different' brand rather than 'better'. This is based on the ceramics, included accessories

 and their ability to cook (most important)

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7 minutes ago, The Chairmaker said:

As Adam said though...there's no real "right" answer. And if you are anything like me then you'll drive yourself nuts umming and ahhing over the differences for blooming months!

This applied to me as well😂🤣😂

After more thought, I think if you get the classic 1 bundle... you may have wished you got one of the others. the rotisserie is great but can be bought at a later time, leaving you to focus on low and slow etc for the time being

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@AdamGand @The Chairmaker

really do appreciate both of your inputs and you both lend to be extremely knowledgable in the game.

Have taken both your points on board and I agree that the bundle deal on the KJ1 seems to paper over the cracks, so my original choice of Mono pro 2 is looking more favourable to me.

I can see that the Mono 2 and KJ2 are nothing other than brand selective and I can see both sides of the story completely, however for me the Mono seems to be wining the race. It’s almost like asking you two fellas, BMW or Mercedes. I would entertain both but.....a decision has to be made somewhere.

Thanks again both, from the heart, I mean it.

Look forward to crossing paths again once my build is complete and I have inevitably will have some sort of cook up issues

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At he price level you are looking at you can't go wrong. If you had them side be side then you'd spot differences. That's not how it works in the real world.....you ain't going to buy both and then return the loser.

 

Both will cook superbly and at the moment the limiting factor will be the users ability. Pull the trigger, then post lots of pictures and cook threads.

 

Enjoy!

 

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Great to see you made a choice...or have you😉

Its a strange one because its a very difficult decision to make and yet no wrong answer lol.

Like The Chairmaker said, both are great at that price level and even surpass (innovation) the big green egg's and primo.

Enjoy your purchase and keep in touch with pics of your cooks. I am still the limiting factor with mine😋

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Very active topic! as one of my posts was quoted above regarding a similar choice, I'll just say that i went for the KJ 2 and have loved every minute using it. I agree with the sentiment that there's no bad choices, and it's a shame the price of the kj2 has never really come down apart from limited time sales.

But i can count on one hand the number of times I've read someone say a bad thing about the kj2. It's class.  

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As far as I know, they are pretty much the same as Pit Boss and Louisiana Grills.

I ran a Pit Boss for 4 years until it developed a hairline crack in the base and up the sides about 5 inches. It's being returned under Costco's excellent no-quibble warranty. The YNNI has a 20 year warranty on the ceramics, which looks pretty good.

The big factories churn these grills out and the various importers badge them As far as I can see, Pit Boss, Louisiana Grills, Kamado Bono, Quinta Kamado, Vision (possibly Monolith too)are all made in the same factories. Auplex and TopQ are the big players.

KJ carries a lifetime warranty on the ceramics, 5 years on the metals and three years on the deflectors.

Monolith warranties the ceramics for the lifetime of the product (about 10 years) and 5 years on the metals.

Edited by The Chairmaker
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Something else I thought of after reading The Chairmakers post.

While I can vouch first hand for the quality of Monolith, I have never had any problems. As for after sales care they are unknown to me how good they are at replacements under warranty.

I could not find any signs of stringing people along or moving goalposts when I made my purchase. That was 2 years ago so maybe it is more clear now?

worth checking👍

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2 minutes ago, Craig Price said:

Understood.

So the question back to you both would be, in your honest opinion would be if i bought the YNNI would i still be looking at it and regret it not being the Monolith or KJ?

That's an impossible question for anyone to answer. It's a bit like me asking you if I would be disappointed if I had worn brown shoes today instead of black ones.

 

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Not sure if this helps but....

I had my mind set on a green egg for 3 years...then it was set on a kamado joe classic 2 (dreaming the classic 3 would go on a miracle sale).

Literally 2 months before buying the Monolith I had never even heard of the brand.

I dont regret my purchase at all but I think that would be the same regardless of brand.

Once you have a kamado,  you realise brand doesnt matter and you end up enjoying it so much that you dont even look back once you get to grips with them.

 

On a side note there is a great Kamado book called 'Hot Coals' which is a great book that explains the similarities between brands. Its also a great book for learning a great deal of info on them. All the info in the book is obtainable from the web but its still worth a buy to have it all on hand.

Unfortunately the decision lies with you in the end sorry😜🍻

ps. I dont know enough about the YNNI brand to really comment though

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Yeah, I think they've changed the firebox as they were having to replace under warranty.

So as I see it the differences between 1 and 2 are:


The hinge - this was never an issue for me on the pitboss I had.
The felt - this could be replaced to the upgraded version when it needs replacing
The vent - this is the main issue, but a replacement looks to be £75

Is there anything else im not thinking about for the classic 1?

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