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jdbower

19.5" vs. 23" first impressions

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Having always had a simple grill (be it propane or a Weber kettle) and generally only making one thing on it at a time I questioned the sanity of some of the members here who have multiple cookers. Then I moved into a house that had two ovens. At first it was a luxury item I didn’t understand either, then I started cooking in the new kitchen. Wouldn’t it be nice to have fresh bread along with the casserole? Or to bake dessert while still cooking dinner? I found myself using both fairly regularly and then I saw the light. And I had to have a matched set of KKs.

First of all, sorry about the lighting and background. There isn’t much direct sunlight in the winter on my property. If I can find the “magic hour†I’ll try for some better shots. Or maybe I'll just do a long exposure once it gets dark.

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At first glance they’re identical, albeit slightly size disparate, copies of each other. Upon further inspection there are some subtle and well-thought-out differences. The cooking surface of the noticeably smaller 19.5†model is nearly the same comfortable height as the 23†model. This is thanks to a more narrow body as well as taller legs. This also raises the ash door slightly which would allow someone cooking on a terrace to remove ashes into a larger container – perhaps saving their downstairs neighbor from a smoky snowstorm.

The casters are a bit smaller which make it a little harder to push around my crack-filled driveway. But this is also a blessing to the MTU-dweller who probably doesn’t want their KK moving about on their smooth balcony in the high winds found 9 stories up. Either way, both models have casters that are nicely proportioned to their size and weight.

Aesthetically I prefer the 23†model’s sloping rear cover to the 19.5†model’s vertical lines. But those lines do accentuate the tallness of the 19.5†so even if it were technically possible to make a wider rear cover without affecting the internals I don’t know if it would look as nice as it does on the 23â€.

Most of the accessory components are exactly the same size on the two of them. The same power draft port, rotisserie bearings, polder port and thermometer so anything that works with a 23†will likely work in the same manner on the 19.5â€. Only the draft door needed to be reshaped to allow for the tall-and-skinny body style. Another “quirk†is that the 19.5†is a bit too small to share the same gas lighter door of the 23â€. A reasonable workaround may be to use a 23†lighter assembly and manually hold it in the ash door until the charcoal lights. Of course, using a chimney starter, weed burner or any of the variety of other options available would also suffice.

Internally the 19.5†is just a tall and skinny version of the 23â€. It’s nominally the same as a Gen II.2 23†model with all stainless accessories, high quality casters, and the beveled interlocking lid. The construction seems very similar, even down to a lot of the tile patterning. The grate bar diameters have not been downsized; it’s the same 3/8†stainless as the 23â€. The main grill even still has the same trap door design that I find so clever.

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It lacks a few features out of necessity. For example, there is no lower grill but the sear grill rests at the same level the lower grill would rest at so I don’t think you’re missing anything. Although Dennis was wise enough to include the rotisserie bearings even the 6†EZ-Que basket is too big for the cooker. I’m sure once an alternative solution is available Dennis will come up with an associated rotisserie kit for his existing users. Also missing is the ash screen, I’m sure if there’s enough demand for one Dennis can create one for us but I’m not sure it’s something I’ll be using even in the 23†so I won’t miss it – and the lack of a gas burner door means that I’d want to use the ash door to light my chimney starter form underneath anyway.

The fit and finish of the 23†seems a bit nicer. Nothing major, just little things like how the tiles below the ash door on the 23†line up with the rest of the body while the 19.5†is offset slightly. It’s nothing I’d ever notice if I didn’t have the two side-by-side. And for now the 23†has a nice golden color inside while the 19.5†is a stark white. :D Both are definitely worthy of the Komodo name.

Below are the sizes of the cookers, mostly from things I’ve gleaned off the forum from Dennis but I did have to fill in a few gaps. The weight of a 23†is 476lbs (216kg) while the 19.5†weighs in at 368lbs (167kg).

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Eventually I’d like to do some side-by-side Whizzy-style experiments. Things like starting each with a full basket and seeing how long they go at the same temperature; or starting each out with the same amount of charcoal to see which one is more efficient. I’d also be curious as to startup times; my guess is that the 19.5†will get to temperature faster but that the 23†will be a bit more stable. But really it’s the results that matter. I’ll hold off on using it a bit in case anyone wants any snapshots of anything when it’s nice and clean, but once I do I’ll let you know if there are any real differences in the results compared to Big Brother.

My first impression:

Both are excellent cookers, choosing between them is like choosing a favorite child (OK, choosing a favorite child when both of them are listening!). If I had a house or a large enough space for it I’d go for the 23â€. I like the aesthetics of it better plus I’d rather have the extra cooking space if I need it. If I had an apartment where a 23†wouldn’t fit or would be pushing the limits then a 19.5†is a clear choice. The 19.5†is cheaper (and much less money than it is less grill) so if it’s a matter of getting a 19.5†or nothing at all then the choice is made for you. Then again, regardless of funding, if you like the way the 19.5†looks and find it as unlikely as I do that you’ll be able to fill it with food (let alone a 23â€) then the smaller cooker may be just right for you.

If I had to do it over again I think I like my decision. I believe that the mismatched but color-coordinated pair is better aesthetically than the potentially more useful pair of 23†grills (the same color or not). It adds a certain hierarchy to them rather than just a pair of equals that I find pleasing in a feng shui sort of way.

If anyone has any questions about the two I'd be happy to answer them as best as I can.

Edit: Minor correction to the "B" dimension for the 19.5" model

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Phew! You had me concerned overnight that the 19.5" model was not going to work for me after all, because of the B dimension in your earlier posting. The correction works for me.

Thank you very much for posting the detailed dimensions. I have been looking forward to getting this info in order to determine if this unit will fit in the BBQ Wet Bar built-in space currently occupied by my 13 year old Imperial Kamado.

With this info I can now conclude that the 19.5" will fit and work in the space I have. I now await a quote from Dennis for the 19.5" unit without its feet (and Floor to Lip dimension of 24") for my built-in application. Many thanks again for your write up.

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Glad it fits, but you are of course required to post pictures once you get one. :D

Some measurements are easier to make than others so I may be off by an inch or two, if something looks tight or just wrong I can doublecheck to make sure (I should probably roll it against a wall to make this measurement more precisely). Since I took off 20" from the measurement in question I think it would make just a minor difference in your plans :) Now the only measurement that should be larger on the 19.5" is the height of the bottom of the damper which is observable in the pictures.

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gx25IWFJ.jpg

This is the Imperial Kamado waiting to be bumped off the BBQ Wet Bar by the 19.5" KK. The wet bar is still under construction (but functinal now) awaiting delivery of SS doors, and SS charcoal drawer for the opening under the KK platform.

Will definitely post pictures once the baby is delivered and installed.

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That is a pretty sweet setup, except the gasser :P

Are the CFL lamps in the fixtures underneath to light up the glass blocks on the front?

Thanks. I am partial to the Kamado as well. But the gasser does come in handy every now and again to feed a crowd.

Yes, the CFL lamps are indeed to light up the glass blocks.

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gx25IWFJ.jpg

This is the Imperial Kamado waiting to be bumped off the BBQ Wet Bar by the 19.5" KK. The wet bar is still under construction (but functional now) awaiting delivery of SS doors, and SS charcoal drawer for the opening under the KK platform.

Will definitely post pictures once the baby is delivered and installed.

Well after 13 years of dedicated service, the Imperial Kamado has now been relegated to a full time reserve role. Here is the modified legless 19.5' KK in all its glory taking its place. I would like to express my profound gratitude to Dennis for agreeing to make and deliver this modified KK. I am delighted with it.

I would also like to thank Professor Salt for allowing me and my architect to see and touch his KK early one Saturday morning in Irvine, CA, since that was also instrumental in my decision to buy.

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Dennis constructed it to fit the dimensions perfectly, here it is with grill surface at nominal counter height as requested.

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Here it is bathed in a glow, during a 24 hour test run of the Stoker modified with Doc Guerra's retrofits.

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The first official cook will have to be a Chuck Roll, pics to follow.

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Re: 19.5" vs. 23" first impressions

Apologies for posting on an older thread; I'm highly interested in these side-by-side comparison photos of jdbower's as well as the pics of swalatees outdoor set-up. The resolution at the bottom of the pics read "2492x1944" but I only seem to be able to view the thumbnail-size of the photo when I click them. Any ideas on how to see them full-res? Thanks!

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Re: 19.5" vs. 23" first impressions

Apologies for posting on an older thread; I'm highly interested in these side-by-side comparison photos of jdbower's as well as the pics of swalatees outdoor set-up. The resolution at the bottom of the pics read "2492x1944" but I only seem to be able to view the thumbnail-size of the photo when I click them. Any ideas on how to see them full-res? Thanks!

Try to right click and open in a new tab or window. For some reason, that is the only way I can view them full size.

-=J

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Re: 19.5" vs. 23" first impressions

Thanks very much, Drunk_K. I tried opening in new tab and new window in firefox and chrome -- the photos just don't seem to want to work for me :? . I messaged JDbower and Swalatee both to ask if they might pass the photos along a to me. Thanks, non the less, Drunk_J.

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