The Kamado Joe Jr. Experience: A Real-World Review and Support Saga - Updated

 #Kamado Joe #My Kamado Journey #Kamado Joe Jr. #Kamado Grill #Team Red 

5/11/2024 - Well the new fire ring arrived, and while it is an improvement it still is not the right size for the fire box. Going back to support again to try and get the right thing.

Setting Up the Grill

When I first got the Kamado Joe Jr. assembled, I noticed right off the bat that the fire ring seemed too small compared to the fire box. This discrepancy looked like it would definitely mess with the airflow, and sure enough, the Heat Deflector Assembly was an incredibly tight squeeze.

Initial Cooking Tests

I was eager to fire it up and see how it performed. The burn-in and my first cooking session (I've got content and videos coming soon on this) were a bit of a head-scratcher. The fire acted all kinds of weird, almost like it was gasping for air. Even with the bottom vent wide open, the grill got some decent heat, but it never hit the high temps I was expecting. And when I adjusted the vent to just one or two finger widths, the temperature plummeted no matter what I did with the top vent.

After a bit of digging, I found out the specs for the fire ring. It should have a Fire Box outer diameter of 13 1/2" and an inner diameter of 11 3/8". Well, mine didn’t match that at all. The outer diameter was only 12 3/4" and the inner was about 11", which didn't leave enough space for the heat deflector to do its job properly by deflecting heat around the edges and up.

Dealing with Kamado Joe Support

I thought, "Okay, no biggie. Stuff happens in mass manufacturing. Kamado Joe is a premium brand, and their support will sort this out, right?" Wrong. It took five days just to get a response from Kamado Joe Support, and after they asked for more details and I sent over some photos, I got crickets. Another five days and still no word from them. And there’s no direct support number to call, which is frustrating.

I even looked into ordering a replacement Fire Ring myself, but found out it would take three weeks just to process before it even shipped. For a premium-priced product, this kind of wait time for a $29 part seems pretty unreasonable.

Regrets on the Purchase?

Do I regret buying the Kamado Joe Jr.? Not yet. Despite the support hiccups, the initial cook was impressive—it held heat well and there’s something truly enjoyable about cooking with real fire and lump charcoal.

Should I Have Bought It on Craigslist?

Maybe buying it on Craigslist wasn’t the best idea. If I had bought it from a retail store, I could have talked to someone directly about these issues, or maybe even returned it if things weren’t right.

Final Thoughts

The Kamado Joe Jr. is still a solid product based on its performance, but the support and customer service are definitely lacking. The process has been a bit disappointing for what you’d expect from a top-tier brand. Plus, without any specialized Kamado Joe retailers around other than big box stores, there’s really no place to go and talk shop about BBQ and Kamado grills.

So, here’s hoping the support saga resolves soon. I'm hanging in there to see what happens next.


5/11/2024 - Well the new fire ring arrived, and while it is an improvement it still is not the right size for the fire box. Going back to support again to try and get the right thing.

5/6/2024 - Kamado Joe Support has come through, my replacement part has shipped, and will be here this weekend.

4/25/2024 - Support notified me that they ordered a warranty replacement part, and that I would be notified when it shipped. So progress in the right direction.

Kamado Joe Jr. FAQs: Insights and Solutions

Dive into our comprehensive FAQ section to find answers to common questions about the Kamado Joe Jr., from setup and troubleshooting to support and parts replacement. Get the most out of your grill with expert tips and practical advice.

The optimal outer diameter of the Fire Box should be 13 1/2 inches, and the inner diameter should be 11 3/8 inches. This allows enough space for proper airflow and heat distribution.

A properly fitting fire ring ensures adequate airflow, which is crucial for maintaining consistent temperatures. If the fire ring is too small, it can restrict airflow and cause the grill to become air starved, affecting cooking performance.

First, ensure that the fire ring and fire box are correctly sized and positioned. Check that the vents are clear of obstructions. If issues persist, consider reaching out to Kamado Joe support for further assistance.

Response times can vary, but it may take up to five days to hear back from Kamado Joe support based on recent experiences.

Currently, there is no direct phone number for Kamado Joe support; communication is primarily handled through email or their website support form.

Yes, replacement parts can be ordered directly from Kamado Joe. However, processing times can be lengthy, with an initial wait of up to three weeks before the part even ships.

Buying from a secondary market may complicate support issues as warranties might not transfer, and getting support or replacement parts could be more challenging without direct proof of purchase from an authorized retailer.

Refer to the official assembly instructions provided by Kamado Joe. Ensure all parts fit snugly and that the dimensions match those specified by the manufacturer. Videos and tutorials from Kamado Joe or other users can also be helpful.

If you're unsatisfied with the support received, you might consider reaching out again and escalating the issue within their support system. You can also share your experience on social media or forums to potentially get faster attention from Kamado Joe.

Yes, there are several online communities and forums dedicated to Kamado Joe products where users share their experiences, advice, and solutions. Websites like Reddit, BBQ forums, and specific barbecue enthusiast groups on Facebook are great places to start.