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An Open Letter To Dennis

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Hi Dennis!

I just got back in town from an extended trip, first to Houston and then to Australia. Over the course of this trip, I had absolutely no access to my KKs, Beauty! & TheBeast. Talk about going through withdrawal! All I had to cook on we're friends cheap gassers, stick burners, the odd kettle, and a kamado that was a hideous color of green and just another Joe kind of kamado.

During my travels (or travails, if you will) I cooked a lot of good food for my hosts, and I did it on their equipment. Dennis, I'd frankly grown complacent cooking on my KKs. Familiarity does tend to breed complacency. Your KKs are just too good and make cooking way too easy and enjoyable.

I've always said that the KK experience is very tacit in nature. Everything about the KK is uncompromised. And you get used to that in a big hurry. You get used to uncompromised excellence at every turn. And as the saying goes, "You don't know what you have 'til it's gone!" I certainly didn't realize how deep your design thinking went until I had to use something else to cook.

Look, I'm not even going to talk about the differences between gassers, stick burners, kettles etc. those cooks can't haul water for the KK. The differences are stunning. Trying to cook ribs in those cookers is real work! Mopping, spritzing, temp control, having to reload fuels, etc. is just too dadgummed much work! Let's not even talk about the restrictions on the types of cooks you can do. Pizza is generally out of the question and who wants that!? Let's not even talk about breads, deserts, etc.

The KKs that you've designed are exceptional in the depth of analysis and attention to detail you've poured into each model. And we who use the KK get so used to so much we take a lot of the whole experience for granted. It might be that our purchase decisions are based on the KK reputation.

From the top vent to the casters, the KK never disappoints. In fact it always exceeds expectations. Take the top hat vent on a KK. First, compared to other vents which are monkey see, monkey do, the KK top vent is remarkable. It's gorgeous; the other vents are just butt ugly in comparison. A detail of the KK top vent too often overlooked is the square threads. Those threads solve a host of problems other kamados build in. That square threaded KK top vent doesn't change position when the lid is raised. I've never had a KK top vent jamb shut. Other kamado makers don't even want to go there. Let's not even begin the differences in temperature control because the KK top vent is so good. I also don't have to jury rig something to fit over my top vent so I can cook in a driving Oklahoma thunderstorm!

Take the hinge on any KK and compare it to hinges on other kamados. Talk about the difference between chicken salad and chicken crap! Dennis, as you know I've had experience on kamados ranging from the least expensive pos you can buy, to BGEs, KJs, and Primos. The hinge systems on every single one of those kamados isn't even in the same league as the KK hinge. With a KK all you do is pop the front latch and the lid majestically raises to fully open all by itself. That has never happened with those other lids. Never! The KK hinge is rock solid. It's not rickety, it never lets the lid slam shut! OUCH! I know of guys who have owned those other kamados and the lids shattered they slammed shut so hard. The KK hinge system so perfectly balances its heavy lid that every woman who has every been around my 32", TheBeast, was able to open the lid with two fingers and absolutely no effort whatsoever. That never happened on my other kamados.

Your gaskets are simply genius. Food grade silicone! Why doesn't any other kamado manufacturer use this type of gasket material! Why do they cheapen their product with those stupid felt gaskets that burn so easily, get grease soaked so readily, that pull apart so readily in cold weather? Why do they build problems into their kamados? Again, your deep thought did away with problems from the onset simply by specifying a better gasket. Again, uncompromised excellence!

The firebox on the KK is something special. Refractory. Two piece. No broken fire bowls in a KK as is all too common on every ceramic I know of. As you say, "You can't get away from the physics of it!" but it's absolutely true and you'd think the other manufacturers would take a page from your KK book! Replacement cost have got to be killing them! And speaking of refractory, I've gotta tell you how much I appreciate that choice. I was cooking pizza on a ceramic down in Houston and burned the ever living daylights out of my kneecap when my bare leg hit the side of kamado during a 700° pizza cook. That has never happened with my KKs because of the superior insulating capabilities of your unique refractory.

The way the KK handles airflow is something few of us think about. Dennis, you've obviously put an incredible amount of thought into such a subtle process. You've designed the KK to force all airflow through the lump pile. The others haven't. Now that may not sound like much to some, but to me it is the pinnacle of the KK. This simple little fact translates to more advantages than might be readily apparent. First, our KKs get up to temp in a BIG hurry! That means a lot to those of us who want to do a quick cook on a weekday evening. The KK firebox divider works in concert with the airflow capabilities and directs all the air thought the lump pile. Again, it's all about efficiency. Further, the divider allows for a couple of different configurations and again, we're talking about efficiency. The fact that the KK is more efficient in its use of air means less airflow through the cooker and that translates to cooks that are, ceterus paribus, more moist! When you consider the air control dual dial manifold, one really begins to understand how deep your thought processes really are. Those two dials changed the way I looked at airflow, temperature control, and cookin in a kamado. Nobody has anything remotely like it. You couple that air control manifold with the infinitely adjustable top hat vent and you've got a kamado that lends itself to really low temp smoking that even the best conventional kamados can't match. Low air flow equates to longer than normal residence times for the smoke component. Again, the hallmark of the KK, efficiency, come to the forefront. I could rave about your air control system and it's dynamic because I'm an engineer by training, but most folks don't care to get that deep in the weeds! all I'm going to say is that there isn't another kamado on the market as well engineered from an airflow perspective and kamado cooking is all about controlling airflow. That's a simple and undeniable fact.

Being away from Beauty! & TheBeast for almost two months was bad enough. Being forced to cook on a host of other cookers compounded the pain. BUT (there is always a but, right?!) cooking on those other kamados again, gave me a real perspective of the KK that I came to take for granted in the year plus that I've had my KKs. Until recently, I was a real fan of the KK for its ease of use and the stunning results it produces.

I could go on and on because while you're sitting up tending a fire at 3:00 AM there is a lot to do but think and drink fine bourbon! I examined your designs through an engineer's lens and I came to the conclusion that the KK is the most over engineered Kamado in the world! Now I understand your design so much more. And what amazes me is that you've had not one iota of formal engineering training is some very sublime subject like fluid mechanics and heat transfer!

I've rambled on and on here, probably much longer than I should have, but if you're a potential KK customer, what are you waiting for? Nothing comes close to the KK on every dimension you can imagine. The KK is uncompromised excellence in every area. A KK must be experienced because mere words will never do the KK justice.

Call Dennis. Get a KK. Enjoy life as never before!

Thanks for reading this tome.

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Great post, CC! I especially like this part:


I've always said that the KK experience is very tacit in nature. Everything about the KK is uncompromised. And you get used to that in a big hurry. You get used to uncompromised excellence at every turn. And as the saying goes, "You don't know what you have 'til it's gone!" I certainly didn't realize how deep your design thinking went until I had to use something else to cook.

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What, you just lit a fire and watch it burn? Where's the food porn? You know the rules, Ken!


Heck Guys!  Cooking on all those unworthy appliances, I never took one single photo.  I was just food; there was nothing special.  Pulled pork is just pulled pork and hamburgers are just hamburgers!

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