Meet Bobby Brennan and the Kamado Joe® Smoker

A trendsetter in the increasingly popular outdoor ceramic smoker cooking industry is Kamado Joe®. Along with the many advantages recognized by converts to the Kamado method of slow-cooked smoking came an unwelcome feature that affected the user experience. The dome-shaped ceramic lid design that contributes to the high-quality cooking experience also results in a heavy (45 lb. to 75 lb.) lid that many customers found to be extremely difficult to lift. After several attempts to address this issue with a traditional spring-assisted hinge, Bobby Brennan, co-founder of Kamado Joe®, contacted Weber Knapp.

“I knew that Weber Knapp had addressed a similar application in the past, and thought they might be able to help us,” Brennan said. “Boy, did they come through with a design that meets and exceeds our specifications. They gave us the wow factor for our customers.”

Through its proprietary software, Weber Knapp was able to design and build a single springloaded counterbalance hinge mechanism that provides a feather-light feel throughout the opening range of the lid, helping it to remain stationary until it is manually moved to another position.

This also provides the additional advantage of being able to vent excess heat to whatever extent is necessary without having to hold open a heavy lid with one hand while trying to tend to the food with the other. At the almost-closed angle, the mechanism is designed to apply enough pressure to ensure a tight gasket seal – the key to preparing successful, delicious meals in a smoker. Kamado Joe® will be introducing this feature on two products in 2016.

“We were so excited about the results with the Big Joe™ that we also had Weber Knapp design one for the Classic Joe™,” said Brennan. “Initial reaction to the prototypes has been overwhelmingly positive. This will be a game changer, addressing a common concern from end users regarding the weight and mobility of the lids.”