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Komodo Fake Green Egg from Costco: a good buy?

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I'm moving into a new apartment with an actual patio soon, meaning I'll finally have a place to put a smoker. I wanted a more versatile machine than your typical Weber-type smoker, so I decided on a Big Green Egg because you can also use it as a high heat grill and pizza oven. But just the other day at Costco, the off-brand ceramic Komodo caught my eye. A lot cheaper than the Egg, and I've had good luck with Costco-brand items before.

It looks like an Egg, but does it cook like an Egg?

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  1. A little late for you, but these are always a closeout in late August (half-off). I was tempted to buy one last year for about $350-ish, but it would have been my third grill purchase for 2013 and my wife would have skewered me. Very well reviewed on their website:

    http://www.costco.com/Vision-Grills-C...

    1. Haven't seen it so can't be sure, but it may or may not be an off-brand knockoff. Could be the real thing or a dumbed down version made by the OEM just for Costco and rebadged.

      1 Reply
      1. re: acgold7

        It's not a BGE, they don't sell to Costco. This has come up numerous times on the BGE forums.

        Here is the link to the one currently being sold

        http://www.visiongrills.com

        http://www.costco.com/Vision-Grills-C...

      2. I have owned a LG BGE about 10 years now. Extremely versatile. Works well in summer time 100 degree heat and more importantly in the dead of winter when its well below freezing outside which is where many metal smokers have trouble.

        I low temp smoke, med temp roast & 1000 degree plus sear.

        High temp steak searing is the most common at our house. I bring this up because I have cracked a firebox which BGE replaced free and my "local independent" dealer brought the new firebox in with a regular BGE shipment so there was no shipping cost.

        My chief concern would be Warranty of the ceramics and how is a warranty issue handled. Ceramics components are heavy and fragile to ship. As I said, my BGE warranty experience through my local dealer was great. How are they handled with the Costco Komodo would be a question I would want answered.

        1. I own the Costco grill and I love it. I've had it for almost 2 years. The BGE is just a brand of this type of grill. Most recently, I grilled steaks in below 0 temps which is something I could not have done on my gas grill.

          3 Replies
          1. re: suburban_mom

            Your right Mom, BGE is just a brand but its one of the first mass produced ceramic cookers and has a long successful proven track record with great local customer support / dealers. Primo & Grill Dome are newer to the market but have a good reputations and good customer support in "SOME" areas. They also cost about what the BGE does.

            There are new comers to the ceramic scene but who do you deal with when something breaks & how do you deal with them? Freight on fragile ceramic components is both problematic & EXPENSIVE. Also, if the new companies don't capture a certain % of the market will they still be around in 10 or 20 years?

            Unlike big box store cheap throwaway gas grills, Ceramic Cookers have the potential to be lifetime products and all of these factors all should be considered when determining whether the cost savings of straying from the pack are worth it. It just might be, I don't know.

            1. re: Tom34

              All I know is if I have an issue, I can return it to Costco. That alone was worth the risk of going with an "off brand".

              1. re: suburban_mom

                We have a Costco near us, been there many times, but I am not a member. I have heard their return policy is second to none, even with electronics.

                I was at a NFL superstar's house and saw a BGE out back. When he found out that I knew what it was and that I was a veteran Egg Head, football talk was over and it was all about ceramic cooking the rest of the day.

                Haven't been to a steak house or barbecue joint in years. Ceramics do it better.

          2. I've never used the Costco version, but I've had a large BGE for over a decade. Great cooker, great customer service.

            There might be an EggFest (gathering of people who cook on BGEs) near you this spring or summer. They usually sell slightly used Eggs there at a discounted rate.

            1. I'm sure you've probably already checked, so forgive me if so, but... does the apartment complex have a grill policy? Neighbors and landlords will often overlook a quick burgers-and-dogs dinner but if someone's gonna get pissy over a weekend of smoking it's better you know ahead.

              1. I have seen these at Costco and while it looks like a BGE, it didn't feel as robust as a BGE. I'd worry about longevity on the metal and plastic parts and warranty replacement on the ceramics.

                If you've got a good Egg dealer in town, I'd check with them on the price of a demo Eggfest model.

                I am going on 9 years with my large BGE and see no reason to ever need to ever replace it.

                1. I have had the Costco Vision Kamado for over a year now. Works great in cold weather.

                  Customer service has been excellent.

                  I liked enough to get rid of my Weber Kettle.

                  8 Replies
                  1. re: pkinetics

                    Many people scoff at ceramic cookers but I have yet to see another product that "excels" in bitter cold weather unattended smoking, roasting & extreme steak searing.

                    1. re: Tom34

                      I've had a Kamado for about a decade and found it to be more trouble than it was worth. Lump burned too hot for low and slow, and briquettes suffocated the flame under its own ash. The only fuel that worked well was extruded coconut and that was ridonculously expensive to ship. So for briskets and pork butt and 12+ hour smokes, I use the 22" WSM. I get 8-hour unattended burn times at a solid 225 in the dead of winter using cheapo briquettes and hardwood chunks. For 5-hour ribs, I use the charcoal snake method on the Weber Performer. For daily grilling, pizzas, and sears, I use the Weber Genesis. You can do all three on the Kamado, and if I only had one grill I probably would, but I found the Webers to be more to my liking.

                      1. re: monkeyrotica

                        I am surprised to hear that Monkey. I can't speak to the Kamado brand but when I fill the firebox up on the large BGE with Royal Oak Lump I get a good 18 hrs or so at 225 - 250 degrees, even during very cold winter over night cooks.

                        For full bore all vents wide open 1000 plus degree steak sears I only fill up the firebox about 1/2 way and get about 15 minutes before the temp starts to go down. I usually only do about 1.5 minutes per side like that then snuff the flame for the finish. When I am done a good 25% of the coals are left for the next cook.

                        I have cooked steaks cut from the same sub primal, seasoned the same way & finished to the same temp on my 3 burner gas Weber and the flavor just couldn't compare to the lump charcoal in the BGE.

                        As far as gas grills go, I have no complaints about my Weber. Pretty even heat, gets up to around 650 - 700 degrees and the 20 plus yr old burner shows no wear. Don't know about the new imported ones but the old timers were a very good grill.

                        1. re: Tom34

                          Part of the problem is that I've got an older model Kamado, the kind that are slowly falling apart. The BGE definitely has better quality control, but mine never maintained a proper seal, so I got a lot of crashes and spikes. Not an issue with any of my Webers.

                          http://www.kamadofraudforum.org/

                          1. re: monkeyrotica

                            That's a shame......I do remember reading about "Kamado" brand issues.

                            I have had my BGE for about 10 years. They had a few problems as well including cracked fireboxes from repeated high temp sears. Mine cracked and they replaced it with an improved firebox through my local dealer, no charge. Seem to have a pretty good reputation that way.

                            I also replaces the felt gasket with a high temp Nomex gasket few years back. Holding up much better.

                            1. re: monkeyrotica

                              From the the site you posted, it appears the Kamado brand is a good example of the importance of a long term track record with a product that has a very long expected service life.

                              That along with warranty, local warranty support & likelihood of a co staying in business would all be concerns of mine with newcomers to the ceramic cooker market. I guess it comes down to price difference vs tolerance for risk. Maybe much of the risk has been removed with newer ceramic technology, just don't know.

                          2. re: monkeyrotica

                            Not familiar with your brand of smoker but this sounds like a fire box oxygen control issue.

                            1. re: rasputina

                              Well, eventually the firebox itself shattered and collapsed into the ash bin, but the seals around the lower vent weren't the best and the screw on the upper vent was poor quality.

                              My local hardware store is a Weber Certified Dealer and carries all the models and spare parts going back decades. They're also a BGE dealer and carry all the accessories, lump, etc. Unlike Kamado. Important to consider if you're blowing $500+ on a cooker.

                      2. See what folks on Amazon say about the Vision Grill http://www.amazon.com/Vision-Grills-K... I have an AKORN, which works GREAT http://www.amazon.com/Char-Griller-Ka...

                        1. I assume you checked with your apartment manager and they allow charcoal grills. Most only allow gas or electric.

                          1. Interesting article.
                            http://seriousbirder.com/blogs/top-3-...

                             
                            4 Replies
                            1. re: grampart

                              Yup. That's the model I got. Must weigh 600lbs. Took 3 people and a bunch of plywood ramps to move it off the shipping truck. It's now a very expensive piece of lawn art and occasionally gets a 1,000 degree pizza thrown in it.

                              1. re: grampart

                                That is the exact image I saw about 10 years ago that got me interested in kamado style cookers. At the time this thing was MORE expensive than a similar BGE. I'm still saving for my very own egg

                                1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                  About that same time, I first heard of them on a couple of BBQ sites. There were a lot of complaints about minor cosmetic problems and the lack of customer service. Then the company moved from California (I believe) to Mexico and the complaints worsened. Very beautiful and very expensive. The BGE seemed like a much better option.

                                  1. re: BiscuitBoy

                                    As I said up stream, very pleased with the LG BGE & the local service.

                                    Grill Dome & Primo also seem to have a good reputation but I would be sure to check for local dealer support.

                                    For high temp cooking / searing the aftermarket Nomex gasket is worth the extra $$. Maybe the newer cookers can be ordered with it or something similar. .

                                    The after market cast iron grate is also great for steak searing.

                                2. I don't know if you've moved on this yet, but check to see if there's an upcoming 'Egg Fest' nearby. Last June, I went to one in New Hampshire and bought a fully assembled grill that was used that day only, tools and a bag of BGE charcoal and saved over $300.

                                  1. I have 2 eggs and love them. The Vision has a great following. http://www.kamadoguru.com/ is a forum that has great input on the vision and the acorn.