Kamado vs Big Green Egg
The Chowhound Team split this tangent off from the Pacific Northwest board.
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I have a #9 Kamado cooker that I paid $1,200 for. 1/3 of the tiles have fallen off, hope you have better luck than I have had, willing to sell it for $20 - you haul.
You can get BGE lump at the local bge stores, Walmart will have lump, Cash n Carry will have mesquite lump up there in 40 lbs bags.
You might want to put a post on the BGE forum, lots of egg heads up in Seattle that are more than willing to assist.
Sorry about your purchase, should have bought a BGE.
I didn't purchase it, I got it for free off Freecycle. It is one from Japan that looks to be at least 25 years old. No tiles on it, it's just a big terra cotta egg that used to have paint on it. It's not brand new, but nothing at all wrong with it.
I'm really just looking for advice, there are entire forums on people buying subpar Kamados for people to vent at. I made the mistake of looking at one by accident.
I have my grandmothers Kamado from Japan (no tiles on mine either - it's exactly as you describe it) that must be close to 50 years old and I use it all the time. We use briquettes in it all the time as they tend to burn slower than lump charcoal and it's a pita to add more briquettes while cooking/smoking. Not only that - but because the way the Kamado is designed - each time you open it you lose tons of heat. It's designed to remain closed while cooking. We use the Minion Method (http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/fir...) for the charcoal with a few pieces of hard fruitwood soaked in water placed on top. It's perfect.
I do use the lump charcoal from Sutter Home and Hearth (on Ballard Ave) but not in the Kamado.