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wilburpan

11 months in with a KK 23" Ultimate

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This is what Smaug looked like when he arrived last October.

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Since then, I've been getting a lot of use out of him. I was going to wait until a full year went by to write this, but I think that now's as good a time as any to share my experience with him.

There's plenty of information available on the Komodo Kamado website as to what you get out of a KK grill that you don't from the ceramic grill companies (BGE, Primo, KJ, etc.). For me, here are the salient points.

  • Made of refractory cement instead of ceramic. Heat deflector and baking stones are also refractory cement instead of ceramic.
  • Better insulation, which means that you can maintain temperature with less air flow, which means less moisture loss during cooking, which means that your meat will lose less moisture during the cooking process.
  • Better insulation also means that you don't have to worry as much about burns if you touch the outside of the grill during a cook. Without exaggeration, I can touch the outside of my KK 23" with the thermometer above 600ºF without fear of a burn.
  • Tiled on the outside instead of glazed ceramic.
  • Food grade silicone gasket, which is more durable than a felt gasket, and not prone to failure from dripping sauce on it.
  • 3/8" stainless steel rod grills instead of 1/4" rod.
  • Stainless steel hardware all over.
  • Stainless steel charcoal basket instead of ceramic firebox.
  • Firebox is a two piece design instead of one piece, which reduces the chance of it cracking from heat.
  • Design of firebox forces all air through the charcoal, unlike other brands where the air can circulate around the firebox, reducing efficiency.
  • Superior hinge and latch mechanism to other brands.
  • Incorporation of hinge into the body and lid means never having to worry about a lid falling off or having to maintain band tightness.
  • Easier to open, even with a heavier lid.
  • Bottom vent truly airtight.
  • Vent cap design prevents rain from getting into grill and is rust proof.
  • Vent cap design also prevents change in setting when opening grill.
  • Set up for rotisserie cooking out of the box. No need to wait for a rotisserie add on that’s still not on the market.

It's true that a KK grill is more expensive than the KJ/BGE/Primo grills for sure, but it's still in line with and even less expensive than many high-end stainless steel gas grills, and I would argue that it is more durable and more flexible than a high-end stainless steel gas grill. I would also argue that it's more durable than the BGE/KJ/Primo grills as well, given the reports of hinge and band failures, gasket failures, firebox cracking, vents that are not quite airtight, and so on.
 
But even better than the feature set of a KK grill is what you can cook with it. Here's some of the food I've made with Smaug since he arrived.

 

Pulled pork.

 
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Brisket.

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Ribs.

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Korean BBQ.

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Leg of lamb.

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Prime rib roast.

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Grilled salmon and asparagus.

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And steak, of course.

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But beyond the great food that Smaug has helped me make, I have to emphasize this key thing from my experience with a KK grill. I was able to do this despite the fact that I had no experience with low and slow cooks prior to getting my KK grill. Everything I have tried has been a huge success, even though it was the very first time I've tried smoking brisket, ribs, pulled pork, a prime rib roast, and so on.

 

I often read people say that it's not the grill, it's the chef, and that the food tastes the same regardless of what grill is used. I'm not so sure about that. I have to believe that the ease of temperature control of the KK grill is a factor in my success. I've had the chance to try out a BGE, and the ability of a KK grill to control air flow and temperature is so much nicer and easier. I doubt that I could have nailed these cooks the way that I did if I had a BGE, KJ, or Primo grill.
 
As I mentioned, prior to getting Smaug, I had zero experience with low and slow cooking, and I've had fantastic results with a variety of low and slow cooks. So either it is the grill that's making a difference, in which case that shows that it's worthwhile getting a KK grill, or I'm a really amazing BBQ genius, in which case you should listen when I say that a KK grill is completely worth buying. ^_^
 
And it's only been 11 months. I can only imagine what the next 20 years will be like.
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Great post.. thank you for this any all your support on this and other forums..

It's working.. People are seeing the light and climbing over the fence..

That brisket, considered the most difficult L&S cook is a masterpiece..

Does not get any better than that. Great photo too..

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On 9/9/2015 at 1:00 AM, bosco said:

buddy what a great post!!

 

I only wished that I listened to you a year ago... and I wouldn't be waiting for mine to be made!!!

 

It is a truism that the only bad thing anyone says after buying a KK grill is that they wish they had done it sooner. ^_^

 

(I'm remembering our discussion from a while ago about the USD/CAD dollar exchange rate. Not so much of a concern after all, right?  ^_^ )

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Nice description of your 11 month journey Wilbur.  I hope to one day join the ranks of you KK'ers.  Thank you for this post as it would be nice to not have to worry about failed bands, hinge or lid falling down, cracked firebox, etc.

 

I'm sure there may be other issues to be concerned over, but not like the other manufacturers.  

 

Again, thanks for sharing.

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When I was gathering information on kamado grills in general, I started hearing about cracked fireboxes. I wondered if that was a possibility with a KK grill.

 

Do a search for “firebox†on this forum. There are zero mentions of a cracked firebox in a KK grill, and this forum goes back 9 years. That doesn’t mean that it’s impossible to crack a KK firebox, but the likelihood has got to be really small.

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Yup really great write up. Cracked firebox and band/hinge issues were the main reasons I went KK.

I cook on my kk however I want without worrying. Also the perfectly balanced spring/dome with its super easy opening and closing is another huge advantage. No worries about the dome slamming down on your fingers sending you to the hospital.

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Yup really great write up. Cracked firebox and band/hinge issues were the main reasons I went KK.

I cook on my kk however I want without worrying. Also the perfectly balanced spring/dome with its super easy opening and closing is another huge advantage. No worries about the dome slamming down on your fingers sending you to the hospital.

 

This ^^^ is so true. It's why I'm here now with a KK on the way. I can't wait!

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