Our reviewer was sent a sample of the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe to put to the test in her backyard. Keep reading for our product review.
Over the past decade, I’ve seen smart technology added to every type of grill, except for kamado grills. This means you have to watch and wait and monitor every time you want a cookout, which, for a usually very pricey grill, is a bit laborious. Kamado Joe grills, like the Classic Joe III, are known for great performance—that’s why I was excited to test the new Konnected Joe from Kamado Joe!
The Konnected Joe has all the bells and whistles of other Kamado Joe grills, like the airlift hinge for opening the lid and the ash drawer. Thankfully, it also uses the Divide and Conquer system, which allows you to cook food at two different heights, over direct heat or diffused, and even on different materials by adding an optional cast-iron griddle or soapstone cooking surface. That came in handy when I baked potatoes close to direct heat while I also gently grilled onions. All of the grilling options, plus the ability to use current Classic Joe optional accessories, means that this grill can adapt to all kinds of cooking.
Kamado Joe Konnected Joe 18-Inch Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker
Easy fire starting
Digital controls, plus an app
Existing accessories fit
Easy ash removal
Grill cart needs assembly
Written documentation could be better
#1: Easy Lighting and Temp Control
One of the least fun tasks with any charcoal grill is lighting the charcoal and monitoring it to make sure it’s ready for cooking. With the push-button start on the Konnected Joe, there’s no need for fire starters or charcoal chimneys, which makes it the easiest Kamado Joe to start up. A literal button turns on a heating element inside the grill, and the button lights up in red when it’s active, so I could see that it was working. This gets the charcoal going and then the grill takes over the temperature control, increasing the heat to the temperature that has been preset. Once the proper temperature has been reached, the grill keeps it steady with the aid of its fan. In testing, the only time the temperature fluctuated once it was stable was when I opened the lid, and then it recovered quickly.
#2: Digital Controls
The digital Kontrol Board, also a first for Kamado Joe, makes it easy to set the grill for any type of cooking. The first thing to select is whether a rotisserie or other special accessory will be used. Then, when the temperature is set, the panel shows the proper settings for the lower and upper vents, which have to be adjusted manually. If a food thermometer is used (three can be used at once; one is included), a target temperature can be set for that as well. Then, it’s just a matter of letting the temperature stabilize, then adding the food.
The app allows remote control and monitoring of the grill, and also has recipes. While many cooks won’t bother with the exact spices when making familiar grilled foods, the recipes are handy for deciding on methods for cooking those foods. I used one of the rib recipes from the app to set the timing for my ribs, and also checked the recommendations when cooking my steaks.
The results I got in testing were excellent. Ribs were smoked to perfection, steak came out tender and juicy, and the rotisserie chicken (using the optional rotisserie attachment) was one of the best chickens I’ve ever made. Even more impressive, I never had to readjust the chicken during cooking, which is a common problem with other rotisseries I’ve used.
Since this doesn't come with Kamado Joe's SloRoller insert, like the Classic Joe III does, I wasn't able to test its performance at very low temperatures. The SloRoller is compatible with the Konnected Joe, you just have to purchase it separately. The grill can also be used in “Classic Mode” without the digital controls, but still using the automatic fire starting.
#2: Easy Maintenance
Cleaning the grill grates is much like any other grill, with a wet grill brush that steams off the gunk. Then, when the grill is cool, the ash tool is used to scrape ashes through the holes at the bottom of the grill and neatly into the ash catcher below. That just needs to be emptied and the grill is ready for its next job. The two ceramic heat diffusers that sit above the coals end up with food drips covering them, but cleaning them is simple since they can be flipped over with each cook, burning the food off the bottom each time.
But there’s also another option for cleaning when things are really messy: self-cleaning mode. It sounds fancy, but it’s like using a self-cleaning oven to burn off food debris, turning up the heat and turning the food into ash.
If the grill needs to move into storage for winter, or to a better spot for cooking or cleaning, it’s easy despite the weight of the grill. There are four heavy-duty casters that roll easily and two locking casters that keep the grill from wandering about on its own.
One final note…documentation
While using this grill was often completely intuitive, there were a few times when I wasn’t sure. For example, when I used the rotisserie the instructions noted which way it was supposed to face, but didn’t mention whether the Divide and Conquer should be in place or removed. It became obvious, but having it in the instructions would have been useful for a first-time user.
It’s a minor quibble, and when written documentation isn’t clear, there are plenty of YouTube videos and other online resources.
Price at time of publish: $1,699
Two heavy-duty grill gloved thumbs up!
It might not come with all the accessories like the pricier Classic Joe III, but that just means I can get what I want—and I've already started shopping for them. The Konnected Joe is definitely worthy of its space on the patio, and the smart features justify the splurge!
Cooking Area: 250 square inches
Temperature Range: 225 to 700 degrees Fahrenheit
Dimensions: 47 x 31 x 48 inches
Weight: 216 pounds
Included Items: Grill, cart (assembly required; tools included), Divide and Conquer cooking system, grill grabber, ash tool, one temperature probe
Why Trust The Spruce Eats?
Donna Currie has spent more than a decade writing about kitchen gadgets, and she certainly knows her way around outdoor appliances including the grills and pizza ovens she has reviewed for The Spruce Eats. When she’s not outside grilling, you might find her cooking from her cookbook, “Make Ahead Bread.”