If you’re in the market to replace your current outdoor cooking appliance, you owe it to yourself to be educated.

So what exactly is a ceramic grill, or wood fired brick oven? Here’s a brief history on these two amazing and yet versatile outdoor cooking appliances.

Ceramic Grill (aka Kamado Grill):

A Kamado (the Japanese word for stove or cooking range) is a wood or charcoal fired earthen vessel used as a stove or oven. Today’s version are produced and sold internationally and often marketed as barbecues for outdoor uses.

Clay vessels have been used by humans to cook food for thousands of years. Clay pots have been found in every part of the world and some of the earliest dated back to 3000 years by Archaeologists and have been found in China. It’s believed that these clay-cooking vessels are the origins of the modern Kamado and the clay being superseded by ceramic materials.

This cooking vessel has evolved in many ways, the tandoor for example in India and in Japan, the mushikamado; a device used to steam rice and used in ceremonial occasions. This version was a round clay pot with a removable domed clay lid by now also included a damper and draft door for better heat control and was fueled by charcoal rather than wood. This pot also caught the attention of the Americans after the Second World War. Now the word Kamdo is a generic term for this style of ceramic cooker.

Today’s modern Kamado cookers are made from a variety of materials including high fire ceramics or refractory materials. The outsides also come in a variety of finishes from glazed to clear coated paints or textured stucco’s. The modern materials used ensure that these newer Kamado cookers will seldom crack – a common problem in the original designs. In addition to the outer shell, there is a ceramic firebox and fire ring. The box holds the charcoal and the fire ring holds the cooking surface suspended over the fire. There is a draft door at the bottom and an adjustable top vent for hot air to exit the cooker. Adjusting these two vents controls temperature. The lid also has a hole drilled for the insertion of a long stemmed temperature gauge. Digital temperature controllers can be installed to regulate and monitor the cooker using a small blower and probes.

These cookers are all fueled by a natural hardwood charcoal which create little ash, produce high temperatures, can be reused, imparts a very mild smoke flavor and, contains no additives that can contaminate your food or internal grill parts.

Uses for the Kamado are endless. By virtue of the excellent heat retention properties of the ceramic materials means temperatures of 750 degrees can be achieved and precise control of airflow means the Kamado can also be used as a wood fired oven. The Kamado is not only used for gilling, but also for smoking ribs, briskets etc, and searing steaks at high temperatures, baking pizza on pizza stones, along with baking breads and roasting is also another use for the Kamado cooker.

Grill Dome, Primo, Komodo Kamado, and The Big Green Egg are just a few of today’s manufactures of Kamado cookers.

Wood Fired Brick Ovens:

Wood Fired Brick Ovens and pizza have been with us since the dawn of civilization. Both have been discovered in the excavations of virtually every ancient civilization, with the brick oven reaching its modern form in ancient Rome. The different cooking requirements between a commercial bakery and pizzeria or homeowner created a split in brick oven design in the 18th century. Prefabricated ovens and stoves were created in Victorian England during the industrial revolution. The prefabricated refractory pizza oven was created in Italy around the turn of the century.

The prefabricated oven took off in Italy in the 1970s, with a renaissance of brick oven cooking. A large number of families began rediscovering the pleasure of wood fired cooking and the recipes and techniques that their grandparents passed down to them.

The final development in pizza oven design appeared in the 1990s, with the creation of modern refractory materials. These new materials reduce the heat-up time from 2-3 hours to about 45 minutes and have excellent heat holding properties. The modular oven design is the most popular in Italy for both restaurants and homeowners.

Whether you are in the U.S., Britain, Europe or Asia, these wonderful ovens give you the opportunity to enjoy one of the finest cooking experiences in the world.