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The Primo Story
It all began with an American tourist and a turkey.
When George Samaras completed his tour of duty as a pharmacist in the Greek military in 1986, he needed to find a career so he turned to his love of the sea. He began racing sailboats and captaining a yacht for tourist excursions throughout the Greek islands.
In 1988, he met his future wife Kelley, an American who was vacationing with her family and had chartered Samaras’ boat. George was taken with Kelley and they stayed in touch after she returned home. She eventually moved to Greece and later the two were married. Seven years later, the couple decided to move to the United States.
George’s father-in-law had a Kamado cooker and on Thanksgiving Day, George had roasted turkey for the first time. He was amazed at the juiciness and delicious flavor of the bird that was cooked on the kamado. It looked and performed unlike any grill he had ever used.
He bought a kamado for himself and cooked on it regularly. He told his friends and family about it and began shipping them back to Greece for them to use. Eventually George had over 80 people in his homeland that wanted a kamado, so he asked the manufacturer if he could start a distributorship in Greece, but they declined.
Not to be deterred, George saw a niche in the market and decided that he would make his own kamado cookers. Many people, including ceramic engineers, told him that it couldn’t be done, but he pressed on and spent the next several years developing and testing his own formula for the refractory material to get the right blend.
In 1996, he was ready to sell his ceramic grills. Samaras chose the name, “Primo” which means “the best” in Italian. His first manufacturing facility was a 700 sq. ft. space he rented. Due to the limited space he could only make two grills at a time and he had to drive across town to a kiln to have them fired.
Over the next several years, the Primo kamado style grill grew in popularity as word spread about their quality and as the only ceramic grill made in the United States.
Samaras has a love for improving his ceramic grills and innovative products and in 2000 he introduced the Primo 2000, a combination gas and ceramic grill. His idea was to use the superior heat and moisture retention characteristics of a ceramic grill and the convenience of gas as a heat source that so many outdoor cookers prefer.
It was an unrivaled product never before seen in the industry, and over 700 were sold. Production was discontinued a few years later due to the shipping and assembly requirements.
George was also looking beyond the round shape of the traditional kamado and discovered that an oval-shape offered a much higher cooking versatility and efficiency. It forever changed the direction of Primo.
The introduction of the patented oval-shaped grill in 2002 established Primo as a major manufacturer in the ceramic grill market.
Today, Primo is headquartered in a 92,000 sq. ft. facility in Tucker, Georgia where their ceramic grills are produced. Primo is available in more than 24 countries around the world.
Creative Ceramic Technologies, Inc. (CCT) warrants to the original purchaser of this Primo Ceramic Grill that it is free of defects in material and workmanship at the date of purchase for the following periods:
- Limited Lifetime Warranty Backed by a Twenty (20) year guarantee on all ceramic parts.
- Five (5) years on all metal parts (excluding cast-iron parts).
- One (1) year on all cast-iron parts.
- Thirty (30) days on thermometers and felt gaskets.
This warranty shall be limited to the repair or replacement of any part (s) which, under normal use, Primo determines, after reasonable examination, to be defective. In order to invoke this Warranty, Purchaser has two options for submitting a warranty claim:
Purchaser may contact Primo at 770-492-3920 for instructions to submit a Warranty Claim by standard mail.
Primo shall replace parts found defective as provided above with equivalent parts and shall ship such parts at the Purchaser‘s expense to the Purchaser‘s designated shipping address. THIS LIMITED WARRANTY SHALL NOT COVER THE FOLLOWING: Any damage, failure, or operating difficulties caused by accident, abuse, misuse, alteration, misapplication, vandalism, improper installation or improper maintenance; cracks or chips in the exterior glazing after delivery to an authorized Primo dealer or distributor; damage or failure caused by tampering with or altering the original Primo design, except when directed or authorized by CCT; damage or failure caused by Purchaser‘s failure to follow federal, national, state, city or county building and fire codes.
New to Primo
If you're new to ceramic grills or a new Primo owner, a Primo Ceramic Grill is one of the most versatile outdoor cookers in the world. You can use it as a grill, an oven, a roaster, or a smoker with a simple adjustment to the airflow and cooking configuration. Here is an overview of our grills and the basics for using and enjoying our ceramic grills.
Primo Ceramic Grills can be used as a grill, an oven, a roaster, or a smoker.
Grilling & Searing
Use this configuration for grilling meat such as steaks, chicken breasts, or any foods that benefit from cooking directly over the charcoal fire.
Grilling & Roasting
Use direct and indirect cooking zones to grill meat on the direct side, while roasting tender foods like seafood and vegetables on the indirect side.
Baking, Roasting & Smoking
Use this configuration for indirect cooking such as an oven or smoker. Cook at low to medium temperatures for baking pizza or smoking meat. (Heat Deflectors/Racks required).
Lighting the Grill
Build a mound of natural lump charcoal. Use full firebox of charcoal for smoking and searing temperatures (Figure 1), or half a firebox of charcoal for two-zone cooking (Fig. 2).
- Light the charcoal with a fire starter cube or two, and you can also use chimney starter or electric starter. Leave the dome open.
- Wait 5-10 minutes for the charcoal to build a small bed of embers.
- Close the dome, then fully open the draft door (Figure 3) and fully open the top vent (Figure 4) by sliding the top disk all the way to the right.
Tip: Charcoal can be relit 2-3 times for multiple cooks. Use the ash tool to stir the used charcoal, so the ashes will drop through the fire grate. Add 30% new charcoal to the existing charcoal and build a new mound. This works well for roasting and grilling temperatures.
Tip: You can't have too much charcoal, but you can have too little.
Advisory: NEVER use lighter fluid or any other combustible liquid to light the charcoal. It will be absorbed by the ceramics and impart a "fuel" taste to food.
Controlling the Temperature (Grilling)
- Close the dome and fully open the top vent.
- When you are 25°F (14°C) from your target temperature, close the top vent down to one-third open.
- Wait 1-2 minutes for the temperature to stabilize. Increase or decrease the airflow of the top vent as needed. A 1/4” (6mm) move can change the temperature by as much as 25°F (14°C).
Low Temperature Cooking (Smoking)
- For "low and slow" temperatures like 225°F (107°C), start with a very small fire in one area of the charcoal.
- Close the dome after 5 minutes with the draft door and top vent fully open. Allow the temperature to come up slowly until it reaches 200°F (93°C), set the draft door to 1” (25mm) open (Fig. 5) and the top vent to 1/2” (13mm) open with the daisy wheel holes fully open. Adjust the top vent as needed to maintain the target temperature.
Tip: Allow the temperature to rise slowly up to your target temperature. It is easy to raise the temperature, but very difficult to lower it.
Oval XL 400
Our most popular ceramic grill, and no wonder. It offers the largest cooking area and the patented oval shape offers superior cooking efficiency and accessibility. Grill, bake, roast or smoke any food. Grill shown with Primo Grill Cart and 1-Piece Island Top.
|Cooking Area||400 sq in.||2,580cm2|
|+ Rack System||280 sq in.||1,806cm2|
|Total Cooking Area||680 sq in.||4,386cm2|
|Cooking Grid||18.5" x 25"||47cm x 64cm|