German Grill v. Grill Dome v. Dragonfire Kamado
My trusty Weber kettle is about to disintegrate after a decade and I am thinking about upgrading, either to a Kamado-style ceramic cooker or a higher-end charcoal grill.
Would welcome any first hand or, even better, comparative thoughts on these. Even better would be someplace in greater Boston where I could actually take a close look in person.
Thoughts? The three principal options I'm considering are below.
There aren't too many more bells and whistles on the German Grill to justify that jump in price from regular charcoal grills.
As for kamado cookers, as far as I can tell there isn't a whole heap of difference between most different brands. There is one brand to avoid at all costs, and it's simply known as Kamado. The material crumbles, they ship out moldy charcoal, and the guy who runs the company is shady at best, probably closer to outright fraudulent. They are not to be confused with Komodo Kamado, which puts out the Rolls Royce of ceramic cookers. Granted, the Komodo Kamado is usually over $3,000, but if you want the best...
I just recently went shopping for a ceramic cooker and came home with a large Big Green Egg. There's a certain camaraderie among BGE owners that's not quite like anything else I've seen. I've done burgers and beer-can chicken on it so far, and both have come out utterly delicious. Next up is some pulled pork, maybe some ribs too...
I own a previous generation German grill - a bit different in design from the current model. In terms of metal charcoal grills this will probably be the last one I ever buy.
Construction is solid, and for the most part it is well thought out.
However the cooking area is too small for family gatherings, and I need to haul out the cheapo grill for overflow.
I would suggest you consider The Big Green Egg. This company has a lot of dealers and has been around since '74 so they gave a proven track record plus you should have no trouble finding a local dealer.
Of those you listed the Grill Dome is the stand out IMO just be sure to price every thing you need to operate the unit including a thermometer, adjustable top and some sort of nest/table. You must call them to get a freight quote as they only have one retail outlet in the South. Be sure to get a quote that includes insurance and delivery with a truck that has a lift gate unless you have two strong people to lift the unit off the back of a semi.
I know several guys that have GD's and they all like them. Basiclly the same price as a BGE and similar in design but with out the long standing track record and dealer network.
You may also want to consider the Primos oval.
Cooking on a ceramic cooker will change the way you view BBQ and grilling. You may never order out Pizza or Paella again or even think about eating BBQ or grilled steaks any where but home.
i bought the grill dome as it was similar to the egg but cheaper. If you are in Canada, by the time shipping, customs, and the customs broker are done with me, along with the exchange rate, and with the three weeks to get it, I'd have done better to drive 5 minutes to the BBQ dealer and just bought my green egg... they are more or less the same. next thing i want is the BBQ Guru. Otherwise, all things being more or less equal, if in the states, I'd get the Grill Dome.
I'm lucky to live in Atlanta, both BGE and Grill Dame have manufacturing plants near here. Go to BGE?? Can't see much, can't buy there - have ot go to a distributor. Go to Grill Dome?? Taken in the back for a tour, saw grills cooking in the back, talked to people making them and bought it on the spot with no dealer mark-up. We use it on average 5 or 6 times a month, more in summer/fall, less in the winter for about 2 years now. BGE may have the better marketing department, but for the savings ~ $300 for my large & assecories - better stand, thicker ceramic, sturdier hinge. I'm Grill dome all the way.
How have you been using your Weber kettle and what would you like to be able to do with your next grill that the Weber doesn't do well?
I ask because we have a Weber Performer charcoal and a Weber Genesis gas grill, and are in California as opposed to Boston. We use one or the other, or both, most of the year several times a week when we are home.
Looking at the websites for the three grills you listed, I liked the design of the German Grill, but can it do rotisserie, or actually, can any of these do rotisserie? If no, that would knock them out of the running. Or is there a different technique that achieves rotisserie chicken dripping onto potatoes?
I have been cooking on a Kamado Grill for several years now...I've owned two different brands, and all two have accomplished the job (without a lot of difference between any of them), but each has its pros and cons...I have never cooked on a German Grill.
The grill I liked the best is the Dragonfire, but I recently heard they were no longer available. The Grill Dome is an OK grill, but some of its features are poor quality, such as: the medal parts are mostly black iron and I had the top interior piece to crack, however, they did replace it at no charge. I live near the coast and I had a rust issue the first season...the fact the Grill Dome promotes the thickness of their dome as a benefit...I found it offered no value as far as I'm concerned...i found that the only thing it did was add weight to the unit.
The Dragonfire heated and held heat just as long as the Grill Dome and the Dragonfire held its temperature more true in longer operations...
The Dragonfire has all stainless steel parts including a neat stainless steel stand (included in the price)...the prices were comparable, but the Grill Dome did not come with a stand. I never did seriously consider the Green Egg because its parts are all black iron and was higher in price, let alone, made in Mexico...hats off to the Green Egg for a great marketing effort!
i just got the Big Steel Keg, formerly the bubba keg.
It's shaped like a kamado, but is made of insulated steel instead of ceramic. That makes it a bit lighter, a bit less breakable, and a bit cheaper, while keeping the same heat retaining cooking characteristics that make the egg etc so good for both grilling and low and slow.
I haven't used it too much yet, but so far i really like it