Seasoning Your Kamado Joe Grill

Welcome to the world of Kamado grilling, where the fusion of ancient ceramic cooking technology and modern innovation creates culinary magic. If you are new to the realm of Kamado grills, one of the first rites of passage is seasoning your grill properly. In this guide, we will explore what seasoning entails, why it is crucial, and the steps to ensure your Kamado Joe grill is primed for culinary greatness.

What is Seasoning?

Seasoning a grill is the process of heating and oiling its surface to create a protective layer that prevents rust and enhances your food's natural flavor. This gives your Kamado Joe its unique flavor profile, ensuring that every meal cooked on it reaches its full potential.

Why Seasoning a Grill is Important?

These egg-shaped wonders are designed to retain heat efficiently, but they also require a bit of care to maintain their integrity. An initial burn and continued maintenance not only protect the grill from rust, but creates a non-stick surface that makes cooking and cleaning a breeze. Additionally, it adds a layer of flavor to your dishes, imparting a subtle smokiness that enhances every bite.

Close-up of the stainless steel latch and wire mesh gasket on the base of a Kamado Joe grill A person raised the lid of a Kamado Joe grill, showing a rack full of chicken wings cooking insideSmoke escapes from the top vent in the dome of a Kamado Joe grill. 

Initial Heating Guide for Your Kamado Joe

Pre-seasoning is not required for the first use of your Kamado Joe, but we recommend following these steps for your initial heating to ensure optimal performance:

  • Inspect Hardware: Before starting the grill, ensure all hardware is securely tightened. Check the bands, hinge, shelf brackets, and latch hardware to guarantee everything is in place.
  • Clean Grates: Wash the cooking grates with mild dish detergent and allow them to dry thoroughly. Clean grates provide a clean cooking surface for your inaugural grilling session.
  • Start the Grill: Follow the lighting instructions provided with your Kamado Joe manual or watch our how to light your Kamado Joe video. Build a small to medium-sized fire, using no more than 3 lbs. (1.36 kg) of charcoal. Always place the charcoal on the charcoal tray or in a charcoal basket for even heat distribution.
  • Control Temperature: Keep the grill temperature under 400°F (204°C) for the first hour of heating or cooking. This moderate temperature allows the grill components to acclimate and ensures a smooth start to your grilling adventures.
  • Shut Down: After the initial hour, you may shut down the grill. This completes the first heating process, preparing your Kamado Joe for future culinary endeavors.

After the First Heating: Due to the natural process of thermal expansion and contraction, some adjustments or tightening may be necessary after the initial heating. Check the tightness of the hardware components and make any necessary adjustments.

"It couldn't be any simpler"

How to Season- Post Initial Cleaning

Kamado Joe grill is made of quality materials, so general care and maintenance is minimal. The best way to protect your Kamado Joe from the elements is with a Kamado Joe Grill Cover. Light cracked porcelain called crazing is part of the natural characteristic.

  1. Add charcoal and light it.
  2. Install the Divide & Conquer® flexible cooking rack in the top position and both heat deflectors on the accessory rack.
  3. Open the top and bottom air vents fully and let the temperature inside the grill rise to 600°F (315°C) with the dome closed.
  4. Hold the temperature at around 600°F (315°C) for 15-20 minutes.
  5. Close the bottom vent fully and wait another 15-20 minutes to close the top vent. This process will burn off any unwanted residue from the inside of your grill.
  6. Before cooking again, brush the cooking grate with a standard grill brush. Use a soft bristle brush on the ceramics to remove any residue.
  7. After this process, your heat deflector plates should also be free of burn residue. Brush them down with a soft bristle brush after cleaning.
    1. When your heat deflectors get dirty during normal use, flip them over with the dirty side down for the next cook and the heat from the fire will self-clean that side of the deflector plate.

Once or twice a year, you should do a more thorough cleaning of the inside of the grill. Remove the internal components and remove any residual ash or debris that has collected between the grill body and the internal components. Use a plastic bristle brush to clean the inside ceramic surface and scoop or vacuum debris from the bottom of the grill before replacing the internal components.

How Often to Season Grates

The frequency of seasoning your grates depends on how often you use your Kamado grill. It is a good idea to season your grates every few months or when you notice food starting to stick. Regular seasoning will keep your grill in top condition and ensure that your culinary creations are always top-notch.


Seasoning your Kamado Joe grill is more than just a maintenance task—it is a ritual that connects you to centuries of culinary tradition. By following these steps, you are not only preserving the integrity of your grill but also enhancing the flavor of every dish you create. So, fire up that Kamado, embrace the sizzle, and let the aromatic symphony of smoke and seasoning transport you to grilling nirvana. Happy grilling!