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Can You Smoke Foods in a Kamado Joe Grill?

Can You Smoke Foods in a Kamado Joe Grill?

The Kamado Joe grill can cook foods in all different ways: Because it’s made from ceramics, it has an amazing ability to retain and distribute heat. There is also a built-in charcoal pit with a vent to control the amount of oxygen for the fire. But while these attributes work together to make the Kamado Joe grill very flexible, does that also mean it can smoke foods?

You can smoke foods in a Kamado Joe grill. Fill the bottom of the Kamado Joe with charcoal. After you light the fire and it reaches the optimal temperature, place the heat deflector plate above the fire and the grill rack above that. From there, place your meat on the grill rack, close the lid, and close the top vent, leaving the bottom vent open.

Those are the basics of smoking foods in a Kamado Joe grill. But there are more details to consider before and during the smoking process. Read on to learn more.

What You Need to Smoke Foods in a Kamodo Joe Grill

Make sure your grill is clean before you start the fire. Hopefully, from the last session, you brushed off the large residue from the grill while it was still warm. If there is remaining food and grease, warm the Kamado and clean it off before starting. To clean the coals and ash, use the included ash tool to stir the coals. Loose ash will fall through the ash pan for easy removal. If you find mold, use the instructions listed on this website to clean the Kamado grill.


Before you begin, you should gather all the tools you will need. A pair of tongs, an apron, a tin drip pan, a lighter, and some non-toxic fire starters are suggested. It is better to use fire starters rather than lighter fluid so as not to change the taste of your meat. Also, if you have some flavored wood for smoking, it would be a good idea to throw that in there.


Only use natural lump wood charcoal in your Kamado Joe grill because the ash from briquettes can block the vents and negatively affect airflow and the grill’s ability to stabilize the temperature. Once you have your coal, pour them into your firebox a couple of inches above the airholes. And for best results, pile the coal in to form a peak.

How to Smoke Foods in a Kamodo Joe Grill

To get quality smoked meat, you want to bring the Kamado Joe’s temperature to about 225-275 degrees Fahrenheit. Add your smoking wood to the coals before you get the meat on the grill. Remember, with smoking, you want the process to go low and slow.

The key to getting the right temperature with a Kamado Joe grill is adjusting the vents located on the top and bottom of the grill. To initially get the charcoal burning, leave the lid and bottom vent open. It is very hard to bring the temperature down if you have gone over your target temperature, so let the grill warm up slowly and steadily.

Adjust the Temperature

When the temperature is about 25 degrees below your target smoking temperature, close the bottom vent to give it about two inches of space and open the daisy wheel about a quarter inch. Opening or closing the top daisy wheel can change the temperature about one-eighth of an inch can change the temperature about 20 degrees. Closing it will cool it down, and opening it will warm it up. This whole process of reaching the correct temperature can take about 30 to 45 minutes.

Set Up the Grill

Once the target temperature is reached, you can open the lid and place your heat deflector plate at the bottom of the Kamado grill. The drip plate goes on top of the deflector plate, if you opt to use it. After that, place the grill on top of the deflector plate with the drip plate situated in the middle. Before placing the food on the grill, go ahead and oil it down, so it doesn’t stick. Always cook foods to temperature with a food thermometer, not according to time.

Another way to set up the grill to smoke is to raise the heat deflector plate up on the metal stand and place the grill directly on top of the deflector plate. This, of course, does not leave room for a drip pan. This option is said to make cooking time go faster and enhance the smoke flavor in the foods.


The Kamado Joe grill is highly versatile; therefore, it is true that you can use it to smoke foods. To properly smoke foods on the grill, make sure you pile natural lump wood charcoal into the cleaned grill. Have patience when bringing the Kamado grill up to temperature slowly and steadily. Then, place the grill on the heat deflector plate, and add the meat to the oiled grate.