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Ready for summer cookouts? All you need to know about Kamado grills

When you hear 'Big Green Egg,' do you think of Dr. Seuss or a great type of grill?

For over 30 years, grill enthusiasts have obsessed over the egg-shaped grill, also known as a kamado grill. Kamado grills are a combination of a charcoal grill, smoker, and outdoor oven.

Their airtight design gives them the ability to deliver controlled heat, extremely high for searing meats or low and steady for smoking them.

Consumer Reports tested eight kamado grills that you might see in your home center, wholesale club, or hardware store. You can pay $300 to almost $2,000 for one of them. There are heavy ceramic models and lighter steel versions.

Which ones did best in CR tests ranging from grilling pizzas to slow cooking roasts?

Topping CR`s list is the Kamado Joe Classic II. It features a spring-assisted lid that makes it easy to lift open. The upper and lower dampers adjust easily, and split racks let you cook at different heights. Testers give it excellent marks for cooking performance. It costs $1,300.

The Vision Kamado Professional also got an excellent score for cooking. It has two lower dampers for fine-tuning the temperature. The Vision is $700 and comes in five colors.

For just $400, Char-Broil introduced their first kamado, the Kamander. It got high marks for cooking, convenience, and cleaning. It`s made of double-walled stainless steel with a powder- coated finish. Airflow is controlled with upper and lower dampers. It can get to 1,000 degrees, charring pizza crust to perfection.

Consumer Reports says that no matter what type of grill you buy - it egg-style, gas, or charcoal - don`t just look it over in a store. Grasp the handle and give it a shake.

Open up the shelves, too, and check to see whether the grill feels like it`s built to last. Does it seem like it will be easy to maintain or will you have to get way underneath it to reach the ash pan?

In addition to cooking well, your grill should be a pleasure to use.

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