Thursday, 18 May 2017

Kamado Joe Divide and Conquer system review

The Kamado Joe Divide and Conquer system came out in 2014 and quickly came extremely popular in the Kamado cooking world since it came out.  Back in 2015 they started to include this rack system with all there Kamado Joe grill which is good news for us end users.

The Kamado Joe Company describes it has: “Our patented Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking System is a revolutionary multi-level, half rack design that frees you to cook different foods in different styles at different temperatures all at the same time. You’ll end up with a perfect, well-rounded meal without ever leaving the grill.” Source:

Source of picture:

As you can see in the photo the divide and conquer system is very innovative in its design in providing different heat zone. By utilizing the Half-moon heat deflector stones, you can easily transform your Joe for indirect and direct cooking zone in your Joe. The Direct cooking zone provides you the heat and open flames. As for the indirect zone, it provides you the heat without the direct flame, which is excellent for grilling chicken, baking, etc.

The versatility of the Divide and Conquer was design to expend your cooking space inside your BBQ. Which allows you to cook vegetables, meats or deserts at the same time. It accomplishes this by allowing you to grill direct on one side and indirect on the other side. Its design also allow you to use various level of cooking surface, which comes handy when you need to grill for a larger crowed. Also you can easily control the indirect heat or direct heat by placing the racks or heat deflectors at different levels which is pretty convenient.

From what I can see so far about this system and from what I have been told by many users. This is definitely the most versatile accessories out there for a ceramic grill. It can accommodate up to three separate cooking surfaces dramatically increasing your total cooking area. The Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking System works with many of Kamado Joe's custom cooking surfaces like the cast iron cooking grate, cast iron reversible griddle, heat deflector, and many more. Which makes it possible to cook almost anything with the Divide & Conquer Flexible Cooking Rack which is pretty amazing.

You can get these various attachment for your Divide and conquer system:

1. Flexible Cooking System Rack (Which is the main component of the Divide and Conquer System);

The Kamado Joe Divide and Conquer is a revolutionary, multilevel half-rack design that allows you to mix and match cooking surfaces in endless combinations to suit any need or style of cooking. It also gives the user the advantage to cook on two different levels at the same time, effectively doubling your cooking space of your grill. 

Its also serves as the foundation for the Divide and Conquer cooking system which is made of high quality and durable 304 grade stainless steel.


2. Halved Stainless Steel Cooking Grate;

The traditional half stainless steel grate is made with fine rods to allow more radiant heat through for charcoal grilling. They are made from 304-grade stainless steel for durability; it can withstand high temperatures of up to 1000 degrees. However I recommend that you removed them from your BBQ when doing any high temperature cleaning or it can inhibit rust on your grates.

Two half grates installed

3. Two Halved Heat Deflectors;

This set of two ceramic heat deflectors allows you to create heat zones in the BBQ, which partially blocks off heat to provide both indirect and open flame.

These two halved heat deflectors are extremely convenient by allowing you to split your grill in half to allow one side for indirect and the other side for direct. You can even make both sided indirect if needed. A bonus of using them with the Divide and conquer system is that you can place your heat deflectors at different height levels inside your BBQ.

Never use water and soap to clean them. To clean them use a scraper or a brush to remove the biggest grime then use a rag to wipe the rest off. You can also clean them by burning the grime off them by placing them in your Joe at a temp of 700 degrees for about 15 minutes.

When using heat deflectors or pizza stone always bring them up to temp with the grill, meaning ounce you have established fire place your heat deflectors and/or stones inside and let them come up gradually to the desired temp. If you place a cold stone in a hot grill there’s a strong possibility they will crack or break due to thermal shock.

 7 3/4" Wide
 14 3/4" in Length
 1/2" Thick

4. Accessory Rack (X-Rack);

Use in conjunction with the Kamado Joe Divide and Conquer system to hold drip pan, Wok, heat deflector, pizza stone, and Dutch ovens.

This accessory rack also known as the X-Rack is pretty convenient for using a wok you can place it close to the fire or away from the fire which is pretty handy. There's so many uses for this accessory rack such as holding the split heat deflector, Holding a drip pan, holding a cast iron Dutch oven, small cast iron grate for searing steaks close to the coals, pizza stone holder, etc., and the possibilities are endless!

 Wok in top position
 Wok in lower position
X-rack pizza set-up

5. Stainless Steel Grate;

The traditional stainless steel grate is made with fine rods to allow more radiant heat through for charcoal grilling. This is the 18" diameter cooking grate which is made from 304-grade stainless steel for durability; it can withstand high temperatures of up to 1000 degrees. However I recommend that you removed them from your Kamado Joe when doing any high temperature cleaning or it can inhibit rust on your grates. This cooking grate also comes with a hinge section which can be used to add wood chunks for smoking.

6. Laser Cut Stainless Steel Cooking Surface;

This double-thick, laser cut stainless steel surface is ultra-smooth and ideal for an even cook with delicate fish and vegetables.

I did some salmon and rainbow trout using this cooking surface and was very impressed with it. My fillet never sticked to the surface which was pretty impressive. If you cook a lot of fish like me its the best cooking surface to use by far.

7. Soapstone;

This thick bacteria- and stain-resistant slab provides an even cook with fewer flare-ups all while allowing meats to cook in their own juices.

It is made of top quality 3/4 inch thick soapstone and it’s heavy in weight. Just looking at this Kamado Joe soapstone you can tell lots of care was taken in its manufacturing process and it’s designed. It surface is extremely smooth making it perfect for grilling. What is really nice about this soapstone it can be used on a cook top stoves or in the oven as well.

Here's some pretty cool features of the Kamado Joe Soapstone:
  • You can put this stone in the freezer and use it as a cold serving tray for sushi or raw meats;
  • Soapstone's are rated to 1200 degrees Fahrenheit which is very impressive which means you will not have to worry about the Soapstone cracking on your BBQ however do not place frozen items on hot stone or it will crack;
  • The soapstone retains heat extremely well and has even heat cooking area which is actually pretty amazing;
  • You will not have to worry about any flare ups cooking fatty meats like chicken;
  • It actually retains the heat very well and for a long period of time;
  • You can reverse sear steaks at very high temperature;
  • It can also be used as a cutting board;
  • There the best for cooking burgers.

The soapstone is well packaged
 Its 3/4" in thickness
 Its 8 3/4" in width
 Its 18 1/8" in length
 Top view of the Soapstone

After using the Kamado Soapstone for a few weeks I highly recommended you to use a laser thermometer to check the stone for proper cooking temperature. In doing this it will prevent you from burning your food accidentally due to your stone being actually warmer then you tough it was! What was really impressive was the fact that the Soapstone had a pretty good uniform heat distribution, that it’s naturally non porous, odorless and tasteless, and will not alter the taste of your food in any way or shape. I found that cooking on soapstone was actually a lot better than using cast iron griddles and the juices from meats sizzled and didn't evaporate as fast as cast iron griddles which is a huge bonus! By using soapstone’s ability to heat evenly and consistently, you can turn any ordinary grilling experience into a phenomenal one. A huge bonus of the soap stone is that it will retain heat for extremely long period thus making the grill a little more efficient. Another great features that many folks don't know is that you can actually freeze your soap stone and use it as a serving tray for cold meat cuts since it will stay cold for a prolong period.

I found that the Kamado Joe Soapstone’s makes the best smash burgers and many users will also tell you the same. It also cooks the best scallops and shrimps!

Cleaning and care of the Soapstone:

They are pretty easy to clean, dish soap and warm water can be used to wash the stone. For tough grime you can use a scrubby or a SKRAPR from TheSkrapr.

Avoid Thermal Shock: Do not subject soapstone to sudden hot or cold temperature changes. Allow it to cool on its own before washing. When cooling soapstone for cold-serving, make sure it’s at room temperature before placing it in the refrigerator.

8. Cast Iron Grate;

The excellent heat retention and long lasting durability make cast iron ideal for all cuts, and the hearty grate marks sear meats and seal in flavor. These cast iron grates are awesome for creating perfect sear marks on your meats or for charring some vegetables for making salsas. An important point to remember when using cast iron grates is that you have to keep them seasoned by giving them a light coat of Canola oil from time to time to prevent them from rusting.

9. Cast Iron Reversible Griddle;

This two-sided griddle offers a smooth surface and a ribbed surface, perfect for all cast iron cooking. The smooth surface of this griddle is perfect for cooking eggs and pancakes for breakfast. The ribbed surface is perfect for cooking bacon and prevents the flare ups from its grease. I found that the smooth surface work very wear for reverse searing steaks and for a quick sear of burgers to seal in its juices. Cleaning is also pretty easy all you have to do is wet an old rag and use your tongs and rub the rag on the hot Griddle or Ribbed surface and watch the grime wash off. Its that easy but remember to give them a very light Canola oil coating after each use to prevent rusting.

Ribbed surface
 Griddle Surface


10. Grill Expander;

Add up to 60% more cooking surface to your grill with the Kamado Joe Grill Expander. It sits directly on the grill grate with slotted feet for added stability. It also allows you to elevate vegetables and delicate meats up away from the fire.

It is made from 304-grade stainless steel for durability; it can withstand high temperatures of up to 1000 degrees Fahrenheit, however, I do not recommend you leaving any rack or the flexible cooking system inside your Joe during high temperature cleaning doing so can inhabit rust on the stainless.

With this optional Grill Expander you can now cook on three levels. This grill expander sits on top of your top grates of the cooking system which gives you a generous four-inch clearance between the grill expander and the top cooking surface that it sits on.

Some of the different configuration of the Flexible Cooking system:

As you can see from the pictures above the different configuration that you can do with the Divide and Conquer System is endless. This system is most definitely the most versatile cooking rack system in the Kamado cooker market. It doesn't waste any space available for grilling inside your grill. The system is so easy to configure to any configuration you need.

You can view the Kamado Joe accessories brochure to see some of its configuration and available accessories here:

After using the Divide and Conquer system for a few weeks now I can definitely say it's by far the best and most versatile rack system for the ceramic cookers. I have been using the adjustable rig from the ceramic grilling store in the past and can say with confidence that the Kamado Joe system is way more intuitive and easier to use. If you want to compare apple to apple both rack system are built solid but the Kamado Joe Divide and Conquer system offers more configuration and is in fact easier to switch between different configurations. I can now actually see why many user such as the Big Green Egg Eggheads and Kamado Joe users are lining up to buy the Divide and Conquer System to use in their cookers.

I am quite impress to see that Kamado Joe now includes the Divide and Conquer system with all their new 2017 ceramic cookers.

There's so many extra optional accessories you can get for this flexible cooking system. My ultimate favorite ones are the Soapstone, Laser Cut Stainless Steel Cooking Surface, and the Cast Iron Cooking grates. However my favorite one is definitely the Soapstone.

If you don't own a Divide and Conquer system for your Ceramic Cooker you don't know what you’re missing. I definitely recommend this flexible cooking rack system and it’s worth every penny in gold! It’s built solid and built to last however ensure that you remove your rack system from the cooker before you do any high temp cleaning of your BBQ. Also all the stainless steel components are dish washer safe for easy cleaning. Also another point to remember is that you can grab the flexible rack by two of the three tab with gloves to lift the entire rack out of your Joe during a cook to add extra lump or wood chunks for smoking which is pretty convenient. I definitely rate this one a star out 5 stars!

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