Primo XL Oval 400 Jack Daniels Edition Ceramic Charcoal Smoker Grill Review
To tick all the important boxes, a high-quality kamado grill needs to be thermally efficient as well as versatile. Primo has spent years carving out a reputation for offering kamado grills that are well worth the investment.
Their XL Oval 44 Jack Daniels Edition boasts dual-wall ceramic wall construction for improved thermal efficiency. The oval-shaped fire bowl and grate provides up to 400 total square inches of cooking space. It also has a removable divider, and a split grate, which allows you to produce two distinct heat zones.
The lid comes with a coil spring hinge and sealed lip. There is an upper air control damper which pairs with the highly accurate lid thermometer for sensitive heat control.
The Primo XL Oval 44 Jack Daniels Edition is proudly made in the USA and is backed by a superior limited lifetime warranty.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
Primo makes it a point to infuse their product line with the quality you demand in an investment of this magnitude. The dual ceramic wall construction maximizes thermal efficiency. Yet the interior wall of the fire bowl is more porous than the competition.
It’s unclear if this is on purposes, as many of the competitors highly glaze their interior fire bowl walls. The porous nature of the Primo Jack Daniels Edition collects the trace essence of your earliest grilling or smoking sessions. If you use lighter fluid to start the charcoal, you might notice hints of its aroma in later sessions.
To make the most out of the porous walls, you should break the Primo Jack Daniels Edition with jumbo lump charcoal and applewood started in a charcoal chimney. This will perfume the slightly porous ceramic surface for future sessions.
Assembly is relatively straight forward. It shouldn’t take you more than an hour to fully put it together. There are also some online manufacturers who offer an expert assembly service.
One knock on the Primo Jack Daniels Edition is the lack of a cart or cabinet base. Primo does offer a secondary accessory cart as an additional purchase, or you could try to build one of your own. This might be a little tough when you consider that it rings in at nearly 190-pounds. So, take your time to consider exactly where you want to set it up and plan on keeping it there.
The Primo Jack Daniels Edition will do pretty much everything you expect a high-quality kamado grill to do. The inclusion of a divider for the fire bowl and a split grill grates is a nice touch that you don’t always see from the competition. It allows you to build a low fire on one side and a hot fire on the other for hybrid grilling.
The divider is easy to remove which allows you to use the entire 400 square inch grill grate on one direct heat source. The upper damper in the lid and lower damper in the fire bowl make it easy for you to dial in the heat for temperatures as low as 180 degrees to as high as 700 degrees Fahrenheit.
If you plan to do a lot of smoking, you might want to take advantage of the slightly porous interior ceramic walls. Breaking it in with two or three lump charcoal sessions mixed with smoking woods will pay dividends later on. Considering it’s their Jack Daniels Edition, you might want to see if you can add some ground whiskey or wine barrel wood to add to the fire.
The seal between the lid and the fire bowl starts out nice and tight. Yet as time goes on, it can be compressed and might lead to air minor air or smoke leaks.
The Primo Jack Daniels Edition has a split grill which provides 400 square inches. The split in the grill is perfectly even and is in line with the divider, which can provide you with dual 200 square inch heat zones.
The split grill and fire bowl divider are nice for hybrid grilling. When you dial in the air and coal bed just right you can potentially have one size at 250 degrees and the other as high as 400.
I don’t know if you can count the semi-porous inner ceramic walls like a special feature. However, if you “Season” then with quality smoke, instead of lighter fluid fumes in the early going, you will notice a difference later on down the road.
Ease to Clean
The Primo Jack Daniels Edition is relatively easy to clean. The split grates make it easy to clean both sides. Just make sure to scrape away any stuck-on gunk near the joint of the grates or they won’t jam each other up on the ends.
Removing the ash from the bottom of the Primo’s fire bowl can be a little bit fiddly. If you let ash and spent coals get trapped in the damper it can jam. Just be careful pulling out the ashtray and take an extra second or two to brush off any lingering debris.
The Primo Jack Daniels Edition comes with a lifetime limited warranty. They also point out that there are proudly made in the USA.
The Primo Jack Daniels Edition is a high-quality kamado grill that does everything you expect it to do, for it’s given price tag. The heat divider and split grill grates mean you can maintain two distinct heat zones when you want them.
It also has a wide temperature range. You can go as low as 180 to 200 degrees for slow and low smoking. If you prefer, you can crank the air dampers wide open to let the temperature soar to over 600!
Made in the USA and backed with a limited lifetime warranty, gives a measure of trust that you will get what you pay for.
- High-quality materials
- Made in the USA
- Backed with a Lifetime Limited Warranty
- Split grill grates
- Divider for dual heat zones
- Doesn’t come with a cart or cabinet
- Too heavy to move with one person
- Lid seal can weaken over time