Can a Kamado grill (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Akorn) function as a Tandoor oven?

Can a kamado-style grill like Big Green Eggs, Kamado Joes, and Akorns  function as a tandoor? Yes they can!!!

For reference, a tandoor is a clay oven shaped like a pot. Charcoal is lit at the base of the tandoor and skewered meat is lowered into it to cook via radiant heat.

Another use for a tandoor is to cook naan, which is slapped onto the walls of the tandoor. We previously tried making naan on the walls of the Big Green Egg with limited success (read about here and here).

Below is the method to use the Big Green Egg (aka “Big Green Tandoor”) as a tandoor for skewered meat. Credit Neghae for coming up with this. Also take a look at this forum thread on the Big Green Egg Forum; the pitmasters there have tried similar techniques.

Directions:

  1. Obtain skewers that can be hung from the top vent of the Big Green Egg. We used these.
  2. Prep your meat. We recommend using our own Texas Tandoori Rub.
  3. Skewer the meat. Consider using something dense (a potato or onion) at the end of the skewer that will face down toward the heat. This can help prevent meat from sliding off. We’ve also noted that using fresh rather than previously frozen meat help prevent the meat from sliding off, maybe because previously frozen meat may still have too much internal moisture (just a hypothesis).

    Skewers with meat and lime
    Skewers with meat and lime
  4. Light the Big Green Egg  (or whichever Kamado you have) to get a dome temperature of around 500-600 degrees Fahrenheit. Leave the top vent (e.g. daisy wheel) off. In an Akorn kamado, the top vent needs to be unscrewed…make sure to do this well before lighting it up.
  5. Once at a time, carefully lower a skewer into the open top vent so the handle rests on the rim. Four-to-six skewers can probably fit. Wear grilling gloves (unlike what I did in the below pic) because allot of heat (and sometimes fire) escapes from the top vent.
    Lowering skewer into egg
    Lowering skewer into egg. Make sure to wear gloves (unlike what I did)
    Top view
    Top view of skewers inside Egg

    Side view of skewers in Egg
    Side view of skewers in Egg
  6. Cook until meat is done. For the chicken cubes in the pics, it took about 20 minutes.
  7. Wearing heavy duty gloves, slowly lift each skewer (one at a time).

    Final chicken from "Big Green Tandoor"
    Final chicken from “Big Green Tandoor.” Note the chicken higher up in the skewer actually cooks faster than the lower chicken closer to the charcoal…because the highest temps are actually at the top of the dome in a kamado style grill.

13 thoughts on “Can a Kamado grill (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, Akorn) function as a Tandoor oven?

  1. How long would you say that I need to cook some skinless chicken thighs on the skewer using your technique?

    Cheers!

    Like

  2. That’s a good question.
    For white meat, it takes about 15 minutes, I’m guessing it would take a few more minutes for thigh meat.
    I would recommend experimenting with the first one …..maybe try 15 minutes, remove and check doneness. Cook longer if needed

    Like

  3. YOU GUYS! You are an inspiration! I followed your method this the other night and it’s BRILLIANT. I don’t normally write in all caps, so I’m serious here. I used chunks of boneless skinless chicken thighs, marinated for ~4 hours, total cook time was about 15 minutes. I used “sacrificial potatoes” at the end of the skewers, which worked perfectly. I had marinade leftover, so last night, I used fresh halibut chunks, cooked for less time, maybe 5 min, and the results were equally brilliant. Thank you, and I’ll keep following your exploits!

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s