Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker Review: A Great Modern Kamado Grill

As any grill enthusiast knows, working with a charcoal grill takes experience, skill, and patience. For those of us who don’t have any of those qualities, the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker takes the guesswork out of charcoal grilling and smoking and can make anyone look like the next Bobby Flay.

The red Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker in the author's yard.

The Konnected Joe is what happens when you cross the Kamado Joe you know and love with the ease and accessibility of an electric pellet smoker.

Thanks to the Digital Kontrol Board, you get the heat retention of a ceramic cooker with automatic fire starting and temperature control.

The Kamado Joe App allows you to set and monitor the temperature, receive alerts, and view the temperature graph. The Kontrol Fan maintains your desired temperature between 225F and 700F.

However, no worries if you don’t want to use the connected features; you can also go manual.

The grill inside the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe

The Kamado Joe Konnected Joe features a 250-square-inch cooking area on the 18-inch-diameter grill. It has a built-in Air-Lift hinge that makes lifting the heavy dome a breeze. The cook-and-conquer system allows you to cook foods at various temperatures.

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Receiving and Assembly

The Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker is a beast. It came palletized and well-protected. While it is a heavy piece of cooking equipment—over 210 pounds fully assembled—the pieces are solid but easy to assemble.

With a friend, neither of us being particularly strong, we had it unpacked and put together within an hour and didn’t really break a sweat. Once assembled and on its mobile stand, while heavy, it is completely manageable for one person to move and operate.

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Setup and Features

The Kamado Joe Konnected Joe is a very attractive grill. There is a large clear display panel that is well-lit and visible in bright sunlight or darkness. The cushioned gasket on both the top lid and base and a metal clasp ensures no loss of heat.

With a built-in thermometer for the ambient temperature and 3 separate ports for meat thermometer probes, all the guesswork is removed from the cooking process. After downloading the app and easily connecting to Wi-Fi, everything is extremely user-friendly and effortless to operate.

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First Cook

So, we’re going to call this one user error. The instructions, which are probably taken from their original grills, suggest methods for lighting the Kamado grill, including fire starters. I normally start this process with manual lighting, but this is NOT needed with the Konnected Joe.

Because I was so excited to try this thing out and hadn’t prepped a brisket or the like, we started with a simple high-heat grilling session, hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken.

To start, I used both the built-in automatic fire starter and the Kamado Joe fire starter squares. This was overkill and resulted in temperatures that were way hotter than I intended them to be.

The meal was great, but in the process of finishing, I closed and sealed the lid while the temperatures were very high. Doing so resulted in the glue adhering the gasket to the lid failing and the gasket peeling away.

The customer service team at Kamado Joe was incredibly helpful and responsive, and I had a replacement gasket within 3 days. It was easy to install, so as far as I see it, no harm, no foul.

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Second Cook

Learning my lesson from round one, I picked an easier and lower temperature cook for my second attempt, beer butt chicken.

This time, I set the dial on the Kamado Joe Konnected Joe to 375ºF and pressed the AFS (Automatic Fire Starter) button to light the grill at 4:00 p.m. Keeping the lid closed and locked and not touching anything else, the Konnected Joe reached the desired temperature at 4:10 p.m.

Ten minutes — that’s all it took for the built-in mechanism to get my charcoal to where it needed to be.

The chicken, atop a porcelain mount filled with Kane Head High IPA, hit the grill at 4:45 p.m. Once closed, the temperature didn’t move at all. The only time it changed was when I opened it to occasionally spray the chicken with a beer and apple cider mixture.

Two hours and 15 minutes later, the chicken thigh had reached its desired temperature. The skin was crispy and mahogany in color, and the meat was juicy.

Round two was a resounding success.

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Third Cook

For the true test of any Kamado Grill, we smoked a brisket.

Learning from my previous failure and success, I finally felt confident and ready to spend the next 8 to 10 hours staring at a grill. I set the temperature to 225ºF and again started it up with the press of a button.

The Kamado Joe Konnected Joe reached temperature very quickly and, once preheated with the meat on the grill, stayed at temp perfectly.

When I say perfectly, I mean it did not vary one degree for at least three full hours (see photo below). Unlike the chicken I had cooked previously, I had no need to open and spray the meat.

I followed the tried-and-true motto that all grill masters abide by: “If you’re looking, you ain’t cooking.” I kept it closed and trusted the tools. The Kamado Joe Konnected Joe did not disappoint.

The meat pushed through the stall and formed a nice bark using the Kamado Lump Charcoal and nothing else. The fat was well rendered, and the meat was tender.

The only excitement during this session was when a tree fell in a neighboring yard, pulling down power lines but not disconnecting them. Panic set in as I was four hours into this smoking session and did not know what would happen if I were to lose power mid-cook.

Luckily, that did not happen, and I have since learned that you can switch to a manual cook mode for an authentic experience if that’s your thing.

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The Kamado Joe Konnected Joe is a great grill and worth the investment. When done properly, it will light and get to temperature nearly as fast as a gas grill. The gasket and clasp seal tightly and prevent heat from escaping. Through the app, you can easily monitor and modify temperatures. The biggest problem with the Konnected Joe is that I really don’t have an excuse not to cook on this thing all summer long.

The Kamado Joe Konnected Joe Digital Charcoal Grill and Smoker retails for $1699; it is available directly from the manufacturer and other retailers, including Home Depot.

Source: Manufacturer Supplied review sample

What I Like: It is easy to start with the press of a button and nothing else; It gets to temperature and holds it nearly perfectly for the entire cook; The app is easy and intuitive, and the grill responds almost immediately to adjustments; The pull-out tray to remove ash makes cleanup super easy

What Needs Improvement: If you get caught during a rainstorm during a cook, moisture can get behind the display and fog it up; Cooking at too high of a temperature can cause the glue to fail on the cushioned gasket. (This was probably my fault); You may have to calibrate the thermometers; The app, while very easy to operate, still needs some tweaking — I don’t need to cook my chicken rare, medium rare, or medium, which are all options

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About the Author

Perry Brauner
I'm an architect by trade, but the overarching theme of my life has always been trying to keep up with the newest, coolest technology. Ever since I picked up an NES controller, I've been hooked on the latest and greatest gadgets, gizmos, and toys. Whether it's gaming, mobile phones, and accessories, or PCs and Apple products, I'm interested. I use many Apple products in my daily life, such as the iPhone, iPad, and my MacBook Pro. I've also built a few PCs in my day, so I'd like to say that I'm a pretty well-rounded techie.

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