Kamado Joe Just Unveiled a New Smart Grill — and We Tested It Out

The new features aim for the best wings, pizza, and grilled vegetables yet.

We independently evaluate all recommended products and services. If you click on links we provide, we may receive compensation. Learn more.

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Review 2023

Kamado Joe

The first time I touched a kamado grill, I was in a parking lot in Atlanta, GA, with 300 festival attendees arriving in an hour to sample the food I cooked on it. Perhaps this wasn’t the most glamorous or confidence-building introduction to the style, but it was an introduction nonetheless. After futzing about with the top and bottom vents, I beat the learning curve and finally got my heat regulated and ready to cook about 10 minutes before the gates opened.

Since my introduction, I’ve worked with kamado grills several times and have gained more appreciation for them. When Kamado Joe reached out and asked if I’d like to test drive its new Konnected Joe, a classic Kamado Joe grill with WiFi connectivity and app capabilities, I didn’t hesitate. I received the Konnected model, plus a full array of punnily-named accessories, a “culinary jungle gym,” as they describe it, and put it to the test for a week. 

The Konnected Joe is now available for pre-order from Home Depot and Kamado Joe, with grills scheduled to ship in June. In the meantime, read on for how it performed in our home tests as well as our thoughts on the app, the control panel, cleaning, and fuel efficiency.

Kamado Joe Grill

Kamado Joe

  • Temperature Range: 200 to 750 degrees Fahrenheit
  • Cooking Area: 250 square inches total with two-tier cooking system
  • Weight: 216 pounds

 Price at time of publish: $1,699

The Setup

The grill arrived directly from the Kamado Joe via freight, palletized for shipping due to its size and weight. On the first test day, chef Eric Gephart, Director of Culinary Inspiration at Kamado Joe, and Caitlin McNulty, who works in product tech at Kamado Joe, joined me to put it through its paces. This grill is heavy at 216 pounds, so you’ll want help with the assembly process. In assembling the grill, you’ll find that it’s much easier to move if you take everything out of the box and grill before any attempt to place it in its final location. The Joe ships with all the tools necessary to put the grill together, with pictogram-type instructions similar to those of a certain popular Swedish home goods store. The instructions were pretty straightforward, and the assembly took about 40 minutes. 

Given that my helpers were more than casual acquaintances with the product, allow an hour for setup with two people unfamiliar with the grill. The big downside for me is the amount of styrofoam used in shipping. It’s a heavy ceramic grill that needs padding during shipping, but a greener solution would sit better with me.

The App and Control Panel

Connecting the grill is simple, as easy as adding a smart doorbell or TV streaming device to your wireless network. Download the app to your phone, which guides you through the setup to connect to your grill and wireless network. The app is intuitive, and its primary purpose lies in setting and monitoring the temperature of the grill and the food on the grill.

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Control Panel

Greg Baker / Food & Wine

The control panel (Kontrol Board) handles the heavy lifting for your cook. Fill the bottom of the grill with charcoal, press the automatic fire starter button, and set your desired temperature. A fan regulating the bottom airflow will start, and the control panel will advise you how far to open the top vent for temperature control. On first opening the grill after setting the temperature, the control panel will ask if you are using any accessories and what type, providing further information and guidance for heat control. The control panel can accommodate up to three temperature probes, which you can use to monitor the temperature of different foods on the grill.

Fear not, though, if you lose power or WiFi. The Konnected Joe can utilize a Bluetooth connection to your phone, forgoing WiFi, and it’s fully functional in analog mode, manipulating the heat via top and bottom vents without the Kontrol Panel or the app. Either of these options is handy should you want to take your Kamado Joe to a picnic spot or on a camping trip where no WiFi is available.

Cooking on the Konnected Joe

Test 1: Chicken Wings and Steak

After getting through the initial steps to start cooking, the Joe functions like any other Kamado Joe grill. The "Divide and Conquer" grilling system allows for multiple configurations in your cooking setup, with deflectors and grill grates arrangeable for differing heat profiles for direct or indirect cooking. Our first test was to slow-roast some chicken wings. We set the grill for one offset cooking zone, one for direct heat, and the initial temperature to 250°F Fahrenheit via the app.

The grill came up to temperature in a respectable amount of time, covering the ground from 62°F ambient temperature to 250°F in 23 minutes. After slowly cooking the chicken to 165°F internal temperature, we turned the temperature up for direct heat to crisp the skin. The grill responded well; with a higher starting temperature, it reached 400°F in about 11 minutes. With the combination of direct and deflected heat added to the convection, the wings were ready in minutes. 

Striking while the iron was hot, so to speak, we took the heat up to 600°F and seared a piece of flank steak on the basic grill grates. Good Maillard caramelization and a perfect medium rare took about five minutes.

Test 2: Produce

I try to eat at least 50 percent of my meals as plant-based or vegetarian for health reasons, and we’ve seen how it works for simple meat preparations. Now, how does the Joe do with grilling vegetables? Quite well, but with some caveats.

For the first part of the cook, I rotisserie roasted (using the JoeTisserie Basket) some mushrooms and cauliflower al pastor style with chiles and pineapple. In this case, I had some difficulty keeping the Joe at a low temperature of 290°F. Despite following the prompts for controlling the air, it really wanted to run about 25 to 30 degrees hotter. 

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Grill Cooking

Greg Baker / Food & Wine

With the cauliflower finished, I removed it, increased the temperature to 400°F, and quickly set up the grill for dual-zone cooking. I added some green beans to the indirect heat side to cook about 75 percent of the way through. I was pleasantly surprised by the quality of the seal on the lid, which helped retain humidity inside the grill, keeping the green beans moist while they cooked. I moved them to the other side of the grill for a few minutes of direct heat charring. 

The cumulative result for all the techniques: moist vegetables, thoroughly cooked with no raw vegetal crunch or uncooked chlorophyll flavor lingering, with a nice sear on the beans and a bit of a slow-roasted bark on the mushrooms and cauliflower. The smoky caramelization of the pineapple was just a bonus at that point.

Test 3: Baking a Calzone

The Joe can bake, as legions of fans like to point out. Using the pizza oven attachment (DoJoe), I tried my hand at making a calzone. The results were good but could have been better. Some blame lies with me for that, and some on the grill. My big mistake is that I didn’t measure before building my calzone. The opening is perfectly adequate for making pizza or loaves of bread, with three inches of clearance at the apex. My pizza loaf exceeded the height clearance, though, so I had to top-load the grill, releasing some of the heat. I also exceeded the 15 inches of pizza stone diameter.

Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Cleaning

Greg Baker / Food & Wine

While I could easily manipulate the calzone once it was inside, placement was a little troublesome. My mistakes accounted for, the temperature naturally dropped when I opened the dome, but the automated heating quickly corrected the heat. The calzone cooked beautifully on the bottom, evenly browned and crisp. I found the top suffered a bit from a lack of ambient heat, though. It was crispy and cooked through but quite pale when finished. I can see this working well for a flat pizza, and perhaps getting too far over my skis and the smaller opening set me up for less-than-perfect results.

Test 4: Chicken Thighs

For one more test, I grilled chicken thighs with no attachments other than a direct and indirect heat zone. The grill overshot its temperature by about 30°F, but by playing with the app, I found that decreasing the temperature and then bringing it back to the desired heat worked. With both this test and the chicken wing test, I observed that the area closest to the back of the grill, coincidentally closest to the fan, didn’t get as much heat as the areas farther from it, despite an evenly-banked fire. I also found the thermometer probe needed a thicker place to insert than a chicken thigh, as it read the ambient temperature of the grill more than the meat, giving me a much higher temperature than my probe thermometer.

Fuel Efficiency and Cleaning

When using lump hardwood charcoal, the Joe is extremely fuel efficient. On my initial testing day, I ran the grill for four hours, varying temperatures from 250°F to 600°F without running out of charcoal. Its ash management is impressive, as well. The average fuel load is about four pounds of lump charcoal, which almost wholly combusts and reduces to a point where it fits into a four-by-9-inch catch pan that slides out for easy removal.

The Verdict

Though I'm newer to the kamado grill space, I’ve worked with enough to understand the heat management pieces of grilling with them. The control panel and app take much of the trial and error out of the process, making this an easier, more efficient experience for spur-of-the-moment cooking. As Gephart said during our initial tests, when it comes to outdoor cooking, "Kamado Joe owns the weekend; we want to own the weeknight, too." I can see the Konnected Joe accomplishing that, making charcoal grilling almost as easy as using a gas grill.

kamado joe konnected joe grill

Kamado Joe

Our Expertise

Greg Baker is an award-winning chef, restaurateur, and food writer with four decades of experience in the food industry. His written work appears in Food & Wine, Food Republic, and other publications.

Was this page helpful?
Related Articles