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Classic B – Series Ceramic Kamado
My Vision Grill Review provides my initial thoughts as our grill is new. I will provide updates as it ages and we continue to learn about things we like or dislike. Now for a little background…My wife first discovered Vision Grills approximately 2 years ago after my dad purchased one. His is from the B Series offered at Sam’s Club though I have seen it on Amazon as well. It’s been on her wish list ever since because it appeared to be a cost effective alternative to a Big Green Egg.
We expected to skip this grilling season, since our backyard is still a construction zone for our new garage and deck. So, we were planning on picking one up this fall in hopes of finding one on seasonal clearance. Much to our surprise we received the grill we had been wanting as a combo Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Birthday Gift. I’m still convinced my mom got it for us in order to get a home cooked meal or two in the near future!
Bringing home our Vision Kamado Grill:
My mom placed the order online and coordinated with me to pick it up as a surprise for my wife for her birthday, Mother’s Day, and Father’s day. We opted to save $80 and do in store pick up. We avoided another $80 upcharge at the store when the clerk at Sam’s Club Pick Up area offered a 3 year Extended Warranty. When I asked for details she read off the details about electronics as if I was buying a TV. Needless to say, I jumped online and found quick details about the manufacturer warranty which includes (not transferable):
+ Limited Lifetime for all ceramic parts
+ 5 years for all metal parts
+ 1 year for cover, thermometer, and gaskets
+ 90 days for side shelves and bakelite tab
Based on this info I declined the in store warranty. If you want to read it yourself you can find it and other specs on the Vision Grills Website. After declining an in store warranty. The clerk scanned the QR code and I was on my way out the door. A rather strong young employee and I loaded it into the back of my F250 with minimal issue. But at 220 lbs I knew this would be a chore to unload and haul through our maze of rocks and construction debris currently residing at our home.
Transporting a Vision Kamado Grill:
Luckily, when we bought our new house last year I purchased a pair of ‘Forearm Forklift’ straps for moving. These are a set of 2 person moving straps that you place under an object, slide your hand through and then brace your hand against the object providing leverage. They reduce the distance you are required to squat down, eliminate smashed hands and grip strain, and allow much heavier loads to be lifted more efficiently.
For the Vision Grill we threaded the straps through the slots for a forklift in the warehouse. My wife and I positioned ourselves on each side. With the assistance of my mom and grandpa for stability we were able to get the grill lifted out of the bed of the truck. Once on the ground my wife and I were able to move the grill over to the garage slab without incident.
Unpacking and Assembling a Vision Grill:
Roller Stand Assembly:
The B Series Vision grill comes with a roller stand and 2 folding shelves. Besides the act of actually setting the Ceramic Kamado into the stand I was able to assemble all of the pieces in less than an hour without assistance. Conveniently, the packaging included all of the necessary tools for assembly. Therefore, the stand assembly went flawlessly with minimal effort.
Shelf and Handle Bracket Assembly:
Next, the instructions said to attach shelf brackets and tighten the bolts. I was cautious not to over tighten to the point of cracking the ceramic. But I noticed that the bend on the brackets wasn’t quite the same as the curvature of the kamado. I tightened it down flush and only realized later that I should have left it just snug.
Here is why…After getting help setting the kamado into the stand I began installing the drop down shelves. At this point I realized that by tightening the shelf brackets it spread them apart. Now they are barely close enough together to catch the wings of the shelf support arm. Loosening the bolt did not allow it to spring back into its original shape. Luckily it still works and should support all the weight we will need it to. You can’t have a Vision Kamado Grill Review without also pointing out any design flaws and sharing advice learned the hard way, right?
After shelf assembly I installed the handle, then pressed the damper into the top, and set the fire bowl back in. Be sure to check the cardboard debris carefully. I initially overlooked the cast iron grate that sits in the bottom of the fire bowl. Eventually I found it half hidden in one of the cardboard corner pieces. When finished assembling and admiring our new grill we put the included cover on it and locked the wheels.
First Time Cooking with our Vision Grill:
A few days after assembling our grill we made a spur of the moment trip to the local hardware. While there we purchased a bag of lump charcoal (oak and hickory) and a box of the waxy cube fire starters.
Since we have used gas in the past I just read the instruction manual about how much coal to use. It suggested filling to the first set of fire bowl holes. But since I’m smarter than the instructions I used less…. Next I got impatient and flattened my little tower of fire too early. Consequently, not all coals had solidly lit yet. Realizing my error I closed the lid with both vents set to ‘Sear’ to let the heat build up.
Expecting it to take 10-15 minutes I left the grill unattended and took a work call. Before I realized what was happening my wife had tossed the burgers on and reduced the airflow to ‘Grill’. We were now struggling to maintain heat according to the temperature gauge. In the end, the burgers cooked at more of a smoke/grill temperature. So they took longer to cook than we expected and we had a late dinner. But, it was well worth the wait because they were the best burgers we’ve had at home!
Even with the reduced amount of charcoal, the grill stayed hot for a long time after we had finished cooking. It was still too hot to empty ashes and cover at bedtime. I’m wondering if I had lit the charcoal properly if it would have turned to ash in a more timely manner. Time will tell. I expect our learning curve during our transition from gas to charcoal will continue for a while. I’ll post an update or follow up Vision Grill Review after we get it broken in!
Update: February 2020
With a full grilling season behind us we are still very happy with our Vision Kamado Grill. I am still no professional but I’m learning how to be more efficient. I learned that starting coals inside the grill is a very slow process. A small purchase of a Chimney Starter was a game changer. Now I can light the coals in the driveway with a lighter cube, wait for them to get good and hot and just dump them into the grill.
In addition my previous comment about the grill staying hot for hours and coals not turning to ash was highlighting my rookie mistakes. I learned that if you shut both vents down to smoke it will choke out the fire. Now I can save the remaining coals for a future grilling session.
We have also found our favorite meal for hosting company. Grilled tri-tip steak! It’s tasty, easy, budget friendly, seems fancier to most than it really is. In fact I’m so proud of it I wrote a little post. Check it out here.