Ever since being introduced to America by returning servicemen after World War II, kamado-style ceramic cookers have quickly grown in popularity thanks to their ability to efficiently grill, steam, smoke, roast, and bake. Now there are lots of different kamado options from several different manufacturers including Big Green Egg. But none of those other options are as awe-inspiring as the Kamado Joe ProJoe (shown above with optional stainless steel table).
Kamado Joe got its start in Duluth, GA (outside Atlanta) in 2008 when two Big Green Egg aficionados, Bobby Brennan and Kerry Coker, set out to improve the grill’s design. And achieving some incremental improvements with the ClassicJoe (such as a wider, more durable cart), they eventually launched their flagship ProJoe with every bell and whistle they could imagine.
The ProJoe features a gigantic 905 square inches of cooking surface split into an upper grate for basic cooking and a lower grate for high temperature searing. It also has a counterbalance-hinged top (so “only 8 lbs of force is required to raise the 175 lb lid”), a firebox divider (for direct and indirect cooking), and redesigned airflow gaskets (for improved fuel efficiency). Additionally, the ProJoe core is covered with ceramic fiber insulation and a stainless steel shell (instead of a basic ceramic glaze), which increase heat retention, decrease external touch temperature, and give the ProJoe its unique all stainless steel look.
To give a more specific example of how refined the ProJoe’s design is, the mirror-polished stainless steel vents are made by investment casting, a high-precision/high-cost manufacturing process more familiar to aircraft engineers than grill-makers. (The draft door vent is shown below)
Like Kamado Joe’s ClassicJoe, the ProJoe is designed and engineered at Kamado Joe’s corporate headquarters in Duluth, GA. But unlike the ClassicJoe, which is made in China, the ProJoe and all of its parts are made in the USA. The ceramics are made by Harbison-Walker, a Pennsylvania based company within the ANH Refractories family of companies, in a Harbison-Walker factory located in Georgia. The counterbalancing stainless steel hinge comes from New York, and all of the rest of the stainless steel parts (ranging from the vents to the cooking grates) come from Indiana. Then each ProJoe is assembled at Kamado Joe’s facility in Georgia.
The ProJoe is 100% American-made and 200% beautiful. But it’s also $8000! So if you’ve got that much to spend and you’re ready to take your outdoor cooking to the next level, you won’t find a better choice. If you’re just looking for a basic-level kamado (which can still cost around $1000), we recommend getting one of the Primo kamados . Or if you’re just looking for a basic-grill (and to save yourself a bunch of money), we recommend the 5-star American Alternative rated Weber One-Touch Kettles. You can also check out how the ProJoe stacked up against all the kamados and grills that we reviewed in our Charcoal Grill Category Recap.