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Kamado Joe Outdoor Kitchen: 4 Key Considerations & The Best Options To Make It Happen

By Daniel Cdebaca

July 14, 2023

Kamado smokers are visually stunning, outstandingly versatile, and all-around incredible outdoor cooking appliances.

And one of the absolute best kamado smokers on the market is none other than the bright and bold Kamado Joe.

Of course, a Kamado Joe smoker is a grilling powerhouse on its own…

But what if we told you there was a way to make it even better?

By including it in a BBQ island!

kamado joe outdoor kitchen featured image

An outdoor kitchen will make cooking on your ceramic grill all the more enjoyable.

You’ll have plenty of counter space, storage room, and other cooking conveniences right at your fingertips… And right beside your trusty smoker.

Sounds like a dream come true!

But, hold on… Is there really a way to make a Kamado Joe a seamless addition to a summer kitchen?

With their unique elliptical shape and huge domed hood… It can admittedly be tough to picture how a Kamado Joe will fit into your design.

But we’re happy to report that it is very much possible… And today, we’ll give you the know-how to design your own Kamado Joe outdoor kitchen!

Let’s get started.

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Kamado Joe Company Overview

Before we get to the best setup for an outdoor kitchen and Kamado Joe… Let’s get things going with a company overview.

Fueled by a passion for all things outdoor cooking… Bobby Brennan and Kerry Coker founded Kamado Joe in 2009.

Though the company’s been around for a while… Kamado Joe is still a relative newcomer to the kamado-cooking scene. (Big Green Egg had a 35 year head start to perfect their ceramic smokers!)

Despite this, Kamado Joe quickly came to be well-known… And today, they’re one of the top names in the industry.

This quick emergence into the spotlight can likely be attributed to the company’s unwavering innovation.

By taking a centuries-old cooking style and souping it up with smart features and modern functionality… Kamado Joe is truly in a league of its own!

Even today, Kamado Joe continues to churn out new and improved ceramic grill designs from their warehouse in Yixing, China. (The company itself is headquartered in Atlanta, GA.)

But, let’s circle back to the point.

Can a Kamado Joe grill be built into an outdoor kitchen?

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Can You Build A Kamado Joe Into An Outdoor Kitchen? Key Considerations

men sitting at outdoor kitchen with kamado grill on patio

Most Kamado Joe smokers are sold with a freestanding grill cart on casters.

And while the cart is a convenient solution for housing your Kamado Joe… It’s likely not the look you’ve been envisioning for your streamlined Kamado Joe grill outdoor kitchen.

So, is there a way to actually build a Kamado Joe into your BBQ station?

Well… You can’t truly build a Kamado Joe into an outdoor kitchen.

Unlike built-in grills, which are specially designed to fit in a cutout in your BBQ island… The one-of-a-kind design of kamado charcoal grills makes it impossible to manufacture genuine built-in models.

That said, there are still plenty of ways to give your Kamado Joe that built-in look and feel, to make it a more cohesive addition to your outdoor grill station! (We’ll show you some popular options momentarily!)

But to do so, there are a few important considerations to bear in mind.

Let’s go into more detail, shall we?

Your Kamado Joe Should Sit At Exactly The Right Height In Your Kitchen

linear outdoor kitchen with power burner and coyote asado smoker

When factoring a Kamado Joe (or any kamado smoker, for that matter) into an outdoor kitchen, there are a few unique challenges to overcome.

First and foremost, most kamado BBQ grills are quite tall. So, unlike a typical built-in gas grill, they can’t be placed at counter height.

If you were to place your kamado on your kitchen’s counters... You wouldn’t be able to reach the cooking grids!

So, to ensure that your smoker’s at a comfortable height for cooking… Your Kamado Joe will need to be placed lower in your outdoor kitchen.

That way, the cooktop will be level with your kitchen’s countertops.

To make sure that your Kamado Joe is at just the right height in your kitchen… You’ll want to familiarize yourself with its dimensions, as well as the exact counter height of your island.

That way, you can factor a cutout into your island with the proper depth for your specific Kamado Joe model.

Now, when measuring the height of your Kamado Joe, there’s another factor to keep in mind…

When Placed In Your Kitchen, A Kamado Joe Needs Feet

kamado classic joe standalone grill series 3

As you measure the height of your Kamado Joe… You’ll want to make sure that the total height includes its feet.

…The feet?

That’s right! When placing a standalone Kamado Joe in an outdoor kitchen design… The base should be slightly elevated above the surface it’s placed on.

And to elevate your Kamado Joe… You’ll need to place it on a set of supporting feet!

If you don’t already have a set of feet for your Kamado Joe… You can purchase them right on their company website. (The Kamado Joe Classic requires three feet, while the Big Joe models need four.)

These create some space between your kamado and the surface it’s on… Allowing for airflow below the grill.

That airflow will dissipate excessive heat buildup… And help to prevent potential safety hazards in your kitchen!

While we’re on the topic of airflow…

You’ll Need To Account For Airflow & Vent Accessibility

kamado joe lid and vent

When planning a Kamado Joe kitchen, you’ll also have to account for vent accessibility. 

Kamado Joe grills feature both top and bottom air vents. These work in tandem to control the internal temp of your ceramic grill.

Because vents are placed at the base of kamado grills… You can’t fully enclose a Kamado Joe in an outdoor kitchen!

Not only would that prevent you from controlling the internal cooking temps of your ceramic smoker… But it’ll completely cut off all airflow.

And with no airflow… You won’t be getting much use from your Kamado Joe. (You need air to ignite your coals!)

On a similar note… There’s a slide-out ash drawer located on the bottom of Kamado Joe grills. You’ll also need full access to that, so you can properly clean your smoker between uses.

Point is, a Kamado Joe can’t be fully closed off by your kitchen island. It would make it downright unusable!

What else should you keep in mind?

Don’t Pair Your Kamado Joe With Combustible Kitchen Materials

kamado joe and combustible materials should not be together

When coming up with Kamado Joe outdoor kitchen plans… It’s important that you choose your outdoor kitchen materials wisely!

This goes for any and all outdoor cooking appliances… But we’d strongly discourage pairing your Kamado Joe with a wooden outdoor kitchen.

Even with structural feet giving your kamado some clearance from a combustible kitchen frame… Building a scorching hot smoker into a wood outdoor kitchen can quickly lead to disaster.

So, steer away from wood! Instead, aim to build your Kamado Joe kitchen with non-combustible materials like brick, stone, cinderblock, or (our personal favorite) concrete!

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How To Add A Kamado Joe To Your Outdoor Kitchen: Your 3 Best Options

Alright. At this point, you have a better idea of how to plan an outdoor kitchen with Kamado Joe.

And depending on your preferences… There are a few different options to set up your own outdoor kitchen for Kamado Joe.

What are they?

Kamado Joe Pedestal Stand

coyote asado on asado stand

Pedestal stands are a popular choice for kamado grill outdoor kitchens.

Similar to a grill table, this option is simple and straightforward… But still allows you to achieve a more intentional Kamado Joe in outdoor kitchen look.

The stand will be a lower height than the rest of your grill station… So your kamado will be level with your kitchen’s countertops.

And since these stands are open on all sides… You’ll have completely unrestricted airflow!

The open design also makes a pedestal stand a great choice for both smaller Kamado Joe Classic models, or the larger Big Joes.

Drop-In Kamado Joe Stand

If you want more of a Kamado Joe built-in outdoor kitchen design… A drop-in stand may be a better choice for you!

Similar to the previous option, a drop-in stand will be shorter than the rest of your kitchen island… So your Kamado Joe won’t tower over your built-in grill and other appliances.

But for a more streamlined look… This option allows you to build the walls and countertops of your outside kitchen around your kamado, with an opening to easily access the bottom vent and slide-out ash drawer.

Just know that if you do go with a drop-in stand… You’ll have to be more wary of your Kamado Joe’s exact measurements, so the cutouts can be perfectly designed to fit your smoker.

Recessed Kamado Joe Stand

dark plank outdoor kitchen with built in asado cooker

Lastly, there are recessed kamado stands.

Again, these sit at a lower height in your kitchen island.

With a recessed stand… Your countertops won’t be snug around your Kamado Joe.

However, your kitchen island will surround this stand on either side. Only the front will be completely open!

Again, this’ll allow your Kamado Joe to look like a more purposeful, built-in component in your outdoor kitchen… Without actually “building it in.”

But since recessed stands aren’t completely open, you will want to confirm that your Kamado Joe will actually fit between the walls of your kitchen. 

With a recessed stand, you’ll also have the option to add a kamado sleeve, if desired.

These metal inserts sit atop the stand, to give your kitchen island some additional protection from heat buildup.

Not to mention, many kamado sleeves come with an integrated storage drawer for housing your kamado accessories!

But, no matter what type of Kamado Joe stand is speaking to you…

How are you actually going to make this happen?

How Will Your Kamado Joe Outdoor Kitchen Come Together?

Before your Kamado Joe outdoor kitchen can take shape… You’ll need to determine how it’s actually going to come together!

And as with all outdoor kitchen projects, there are a few methods to choose from.

Off-The-Shelf Kamado Joe Kitchen

If you’re looking for a simple solution for your Kamado Joe outdoor kitchen… An off-the-shelf grill station may pique your interest.

There are a couple predesigned options that may appeal… So let’s run through each.

Prefabricated Kamado Joe Kitchen

A prefab kamado kitchen will come pre-designed for you, right out of the box…. And won’t require much in the way of installation. Nearly all of the work will be done for you!

Planning a prefab kitchen will also be straightforward… Since prefabricated outdoor kitchens don’t require much creative thought.

Rather, they’ll come already equipped with all the components you need for your kitchen design, including a stand for your Kamado Joe.

But though a prefab kamado kitchen may be a quick and simple option… This doesn’t exactly mean it’s the best method.

Prefab islands offer little (if any) room for customization… Which means finding a predesigned kitchen kit that’ll fit your specific Kamado Joe model may pose a challenge. (And as it is, there aren’t tons of options on the market for prefab kamado kitchens!)

What’s more… You may have a hard time finding a prefabricated design that meets your exact vision. For instance, it might not have all the appliances or accessories you want… Or, the finish may not match your backyard design.

And it’s also worth keeping in mind that many prefab kitchens are on the cheaper side… And that lower price usually implies poor construction quality.

Typically, you’ll see prefab kitchens made with cheap metal frames… Which doesn’t bode well for the longevity of your kitchen! (Say hello to rust, corrosion, and structural damage.)

And if you want the most from your Kamado Joe kitchen… You shouldn’t be making any sacrifices.

So, what are your other options?

Modular Kamado Joe Kitchen

If you like the ease of prefab, but would like a bit more creative control… Modular kamado kitchens are another simple, off-the-shelf option.

Like prefab, these come pre designed for you.

But rather than every component being in one cohesive kitchen island… Modular islands are composed of individual kitchen cabinets.

Of course, one unit will support your Kamado Joe…

But you’ll also be able to pick and choose which other units you’d like to include in your design, as well as how they’ll be laid out.

Now, modular kitchens may give you some more creative control… But as with prefab, there tends to be a sizable list of downsides with this method.

For starters, identifying an outdoor kitchen module that’ll perfectly fit your Kamado Joe’s dimensions may not be the easiest thing in the world.

And like prefab… Modular grill cabinets typically aren’t the best quality.

So, while an off-the-shelf Kamado Joe outdoor kitchen may be a decent choice for those looking for an inexpensive, short-term solution…

If you want a kitchen that’ll last the long haul (and is perfectly tailored to your needs!)These methods aren’t for you.

But luckily, there are other ways to get an outdoor kitchen with Kamado Joe grill!

Scratch Built, Custom Kamado Joe Outdoor Kitchen

If you want your Kamado Joe kitchen to last for years to come… Should you consider building it from scratch?

When you take this route, you’ll have endless options for customization.

From the design and layout of your island… To the appliances and accessories you include… To the material quality and aesthetic… You won’t be limited!

While this all sounds great… You should know that building an outdoor kitchen from scratch isn’t necessarily a walk in the park.

In fact, this is an incredibly involved project!

And to be frank, it’s one that’s best left in the hands of a professional contractor. It’s definitely not something that’s easy to DIY!

And unfortunately, hiring a contractor to build your outdoor kitchen isn’t always a great idea.

Unless you can identify a specialized outdoor kitchen builder… There’s a good chance that you’ll be working with a general contractor.

And when you work with a generalist… They may not have the relevant experience for your custom outdoor kitchen build.

Not to mention… They may have their hands in countless other projects, which means yours won’t be their top priority! In this case, prepare to have limited access to your backyard for a significant period of time.

What’s more… You may have to pay an arm and a leg when you work with a contractor for your Kamado Joe kitchen.

You’ll be paying for labor and materials… Plus every other component in your kitchen. With all of these expenses… Your budget may quickly get out of control.

If you can find a specialized builder for a fair price… A custom Kamado Joe outdoor kitchen may be the perfect solution for you!

But before you start researching local contractors… Let’s talk about one final solution.

Ready To Assemble Kamado Joe Outdoor Kitchen

l shaped outdoor kitchen with asado attachment refrigerator and umbrella stand

If only there was a simple solution for your Kamado Joe kitchen… That didn’t limit your customization… And that would last for a lifetime.

Does such a thing actually exist?

Absolutely!

Our outdoor kitchen kits here at RTA Outdoor Living allow for the customization of scratch-built, with the convenience of prefab.

Here’s how it works…

With our free design tool, you can easily whip up your personalized vision for your Kamado Joe kitchen.

And to make factoring in a Kamado Joe even easier… We’ve made it possible to include a pedestal stand in your initial design.

Once you’re happy with your custom kamado island… One of our Design Experts will reach out to ensure everything is ready to go.

With expert guidance… You can feel confident that your Kamado Joe will fit in your design!

And if you prefer, our team can even help you work a recessed stand and built-in sleeve into your design. (Unfortunately, we don’t offer drop-in stands.)

But from there, we’ll build your kitchen panels for you… And then ship everything straight to your door. This includes countertops, your choice of appliances (you’ll have full access to Coyote’s top-notch line!), and the finished kitchen surround.

Then, it’s time to install. You can choose to work with one of our specialized Pro-Installers… Or, you can easily piece your island together on your own!

Even with no formal experience, installing an RTA kitchen is a breeze.

The panels will bolt together… Your countertop will be placed… Your appliances will slide in… Your Kamado Joe will be set on its stand… And that’s that! Your custom kitchen can be fully constructed in mere hours.

And once it’s set up… You can feel confident that it’ll stick around.

Our kitchen panels are constructed with high performance concrete… Backed by a structural guarantee… As well as a limited lifetime structural warranty! There’s no question when it comes to quality.

But after going through your different options…. You may still not be sure which route to take.

So, what’s the best way to go?

The Best Way To Get Your Outdoor Kitchen Kamado Joe Design

image of a built in coyote asado in an rta outdoor kitchen

Alright… We’ve covered a lot of information today!

And as you can see, there’s quite a bit that goes into planning the perfect Kamado Joe outdoor kitchen.

But it goes without saying… The most important consideration of all is how your kitchen will actually come together.

Not only will knowing this allow you to start planning your project in earnest…

It’ll also determine how long it’ll be before you can enjoy your new kamado kitchen…

As well as how many years of enjoyment you’ll get, once it’s set up.

Perhaps you’re still on the fence about which method is best for your Kamado Joe outdoor kitchen. 

But if you’re looking to keep your kitchen project as convenient as possible… Without sacrificing quality or creativity…

We’d say that RTA is the perfect solution for you!

If you want to get a better feel for what’s possible… Testing out our design tool is a great place to start.

Here, you can see how a kamado will fit into your layout… As well as how other outdoor appliances will complement your kitchen (a pizza oven or flat top griddle would look great alongside your Kamado Joe)!

And if any other questions arise… Our Learning Hub is a treasure trove of helpful information.

For many, factoring a Kamado Joe into an outdoor kitchen would be a dream come true…

And we’d be honored to help you make that dream happen!

Need Help With Your Plans?

Talk to one of our expert designers and they will guide you from planning to installation. Schedule a call today.

FAQ

A Kamado Joe can’t truly be built into an outdoor kitchen… But there are ways to factor a Kamado Joe into your kitchen island to give it an integrated appearance.

Lowered pedestal stands, drop-in kamado stands, and recessed stands are all popular options to include a Kamado Joe into your kitchen design! (This’ll also work with other kamados, like Primo Grills or Green Egg Grills!)

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