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Mr. Natural

I think the branding is all wrong on these...

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 We raise our own beef, pork & chicken, so some sort of meat is almost always on the menu. We also live in the middle of nowhere and love pizza, so I'm usually making that once a week, along with baking all sorts of breads. With that has come an accumulation of assorted outdoor cooking appliances that includes two gas grills, two vertical smokers, an offset smoker, a pig roaster, a BBQ pit, and a cold smoke shack. While sitting out back enjoying my morning coffee the other day, I was suddenly reminded of an old Frank Lloyd Wright quote that sticks in my head;  that "many wealthy people are little more than janitors of their possessions", and while far from being wealthy, let's just say that I had an epiphany at that moment, as a comfortably retired janitor.

I had already primed wife number last that we might be able to include some sort of pizza oven in a planned addition and backyard makeover this year, but the outdoor kitchen part of the project was growing out of control. Her sister had purchased one of those egg things, that I immediately dismissed as ridiculously small and impractical, but she enjoys cooking with it, so I sensed a bit of sibling rivalry a brewin'. Our assorted cooking gear was mostly older stuff that was not particularly efficient, nor especially fun to cook with, so I was already secretly planning on replacing a smoker or three, as well as a roaster, but here's the thing. A value line offset smoker for my brisket, by the time I mod it out and upgrade some particulars, was gonna run close to a grand, and if I wanted something much larger or more efficient, I was very quickly going to be looking at spending several thousand dollars for something that was still gonna run me ragged when I smoke. The small pig roaster is an older eye sore, but it works, and here again, any sort of acceptable replacement is more good money after bad in terms of still taking up space for a fairly singular use appliance. The big ass gas grill has pretty much always been  nothing special beyond being a convenient way to cook outside of the kitchen, 'cuz I mean, what's so special about gas cooked meal, the grill marks? And then there's the pizza oven. Building it is within my skill set, but the older I get, the more stingy I've been getting with my time. The alternative of course is to just buy one, but here again, anything that'll do a decent job on a 16" pie is going to start at another thousand dollars and up, so where does this leave me?

"Look honey, that new Old Country offset smoker is gonna be two grand with crating and shipping from Texas" (we're in Delaware)

"And a decent pizza oven is gonna be another $1,000, for something that's gonna look kinda cheap and just sits on a counter".

"Carl's Hot Box pig roaster is another $1,500 by the time we add all of the doodads and have it shipped," (a friend makes and sells them)

"And a decent sized ceramic Kamado Joe is three grand, plus almost another $1,000 for a rotisserie, a pizza cooking attachment, and    assorted geegaws. All of that for grill space that can only hold one brisket or a single large pizza."

"That's over $8,500 to basically do little more than we can do already, but wait!"

"We (this is part of the psychological warfare, where I turn 'Me' into 'We') can buy this here Komodo Kamado Big Bad that can cook twice as much food with a whole lot less hassle, AND you get to pick from all of these amazing colors and finishes, AND it'll save us over a thousand dollars!".

"Best of all, it's a whole lot nicer than that silly egg thing that your sister bought at Lowes. You know, the one that's exactly like a million others on patios all over the country..."

"The garden club girls are gonna die!"

"I can sell all of this other crap while we're at it."

"How can we not buy this?!"  :)

Yeah, this is not a luxe item, this is just common sense (or at least that's how I'm trying to sell it).  lol

Not a want, but a need.  lol

Anywho, looking forward to ordering one up later this spring, but first I have to build a place to put it.  :)


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Everyone is chasing something Mr Natural, it's an itch that comes around every once in a while and you have to act on it. I have the 23KK myself and if I were to do it again I would prefer the 32 because of the true two zone cooking as your leaning towards, it's the better choice for checking all the boxes. Actually I have two other Kamado's, a Weber Summit and a Goldens Cast Iron...both eliminate the two zone issue, have a trailered Lang offset, a Santa Maria and a Gateway drum. I like choices and tinkering around for a challenge. The KK is a quality piece, it's easy to maintain, set it and forget it, built like a tank and pleasing to the eyes. If you pull the trigger it'll be all you need and it will be there for years on end, however it's not going to do a whole hog so I'd hold on to that pig roaster. You know there's nothing wrong with having one of everything when it comes to BBQ, variety is the spice of life. Keep us posted, so many colors and choice of tiles....................

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As my off-brand POSK disintegrated, my wife bought me our 23KK.

I didn't put up much of a fight. She was tickled to talk with Dennis; people should consider putting uncertain spouses on the phone with him. I wish I had his charm.

I wouldn't go bigger, doing it over again myself. I've fed 80 people out of my 23KK. Two zones? My KK is my oven, used most often for bread, pizza, Focaccia di Recco, roast or tandoor chicken, and monumental smoked meats. My Solo Stove Ranger is my grill. Sometimes I'll be smoking pork for carnitas in the 23KK, at the same time that I'm grilling vegetables for salsa on the Solo Stove.

I have a Weber kettle we haven't touched in years. Kettles are a fundamental design, brilliant for their day, but one can now do much better. I now associated kettles with the taste of burned chicken fat, guests in someone else's yard. Worst case they make me do the grilling on a mismanaged fire, like a pitcher left out to take one for the team.

I can set a fire in my Solo Stove in a couple of minutes: wood chunks, lump charcoal partway up, a splash of 99% isopropyl alcohol, throw in a match, then come back in 30 or 40 minutes to a perfect fire. The vertical, smokeless column of hot air combines all the hype of air fryers with traditional grilling over fire. I get much more uniform cooks than I've even seen anyone get with close-to-the-fire grilling, and better flavor.

Mine is a Frankenstein rig (a Breeo Outpost adjustable grill grafted onto a Harbor Freight service cart) but Solo Stove has caught on to cooking on their fire pits, and offers some interesting options if one spelunks their site. They recommend wood as a fuel, concerned that a full load of charcoal could get too hot, but one never needs a full load. I layer wood then charcoal, as wood lights faster but charcoal lasts longer.

There's a long KK Solo Stove thread. It starts out slow as we experiment, but has more information.

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