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marinmatt

Help me choose, 23 or 32

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I've been eyeing a Komodo Kamado for a while now and am planning to get one soon.

I'm not sure if the 23 or 32 is the right size for me. Most of the time it will be used for every-day-grilling for a family of 5, but I plan to do some smoking and pizzas from time to time. On the one hand I'm concerned that the 23 could be a bit tight for grilling, especially if we have guests. On the other hand I like the 23's aesthetic proportions a bit more and saving $1,500 isn't the worst thing in the world.

As a secondary question, can the gas burner attachment be used for cooking? I know it is not ideal, but my wife insists that we have a gas grill because she won't do charcoal. If we can use the gas burner for cooking we can get rid of the weber.

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@marinmatt - I recently went through the same decision process, chose the 32 BB and haven't had a single regret.  the versatility of the 32 was the deciding factor for me.  True two zone cooking capability, gobs of grill space for big cookouts, totally manageable for small cooks.  I've loaded the thing up with racks upon racks for weekend get-togethers and have used the basket splitter for smaller cooks (say, when its just a streak or two for my wife and me).  Admittedly, I tend to have a "go big" mentality (comes with being 6'4"!), but I really do think its a great choice if cash, space or other considerations aren't a factor.

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I have both. Get the 32. Don’t bother with the gas burner attachment. It isn’t for cooking.

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59 minutes ago, marinmatt said:

On the other hand I like the 23's aesthetic proportions a bit more and saving $1,500 isn't the worst thing in the world.

I went with my heart when I got my KKs.  I picked the 21 and the 23 because I liked the way they looked.  The 23 was my first KK love and I couldn't quite bring myself to transfer my affection to the 32.  It also sounds like a 23 will do most of what you would like  

That said, I agree with what others have said.   The 32 is very versatile and if you are only to have one KK it is probably the one to get.

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I have the 23 and it for sure takes care of all my needs however if i had to do it all over again i would get the 32 having the extra space on the main grate is excellent not often but at times with the 23 i feel i need more space to have less juggling food around

 

good luck on your choice they are both excellent grills as well as the rest of the KK line

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First off, an "up front" welcome to the Obsession! You won't regret whichever size you finally decide upon.

As noted, the gas attachment isn't for cooking, but to just jumpstart heating up the grill. Most of us never bought it and have had to retrofit the rear door to prevent leaks. Dennis has stopped making the rear door a default feature - it's a special order now. 

I own a 23" and can easily cook for a dinner party of 8 people. If you plan to entertain more folks than that on a regular basis (more than a couple of times a year), the 32" would probably be a better fit for your situation. As you noted, $1500 will buy a lot of meat and charcoal (and/or a cold smoker, Guru, pizza stone, rotisserie, etc.!!)

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You have so much great advice already that I can't add much except I would not get the gas burner if it was me. Good luck with your decision. :) 

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I think if you are going to pay that much to start with, the uptick for the 32" is well worth it relative to the additional flexibility. I got the 32" and love it....three separate cooking levels, I think I could do six large briskets or 8 to 9 pork shoulders. Right now I have six baby back ribs on (and need to go check on them) but last time I did nine with no problem. Love, love, love, my KK. Thank you, Dennis and crew!

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15 hours ago, marinmatt said:

I'm not sure if the 23 or 32 is the right size for me. Most of the time it will be used for every-day-grilling for a family of 5, but I plan to do some smoking and pizzas from time to time. On the one hand I'm concerned that the 23 could be a bit tight for grilling, especially if we have guests. On the other hand I like the 23's aesthetic proportions a bit more and saving $1,500 isn't the worst thing in the world.

As a secondary question, can the gas burner attachment be used for cooking? I know it is not ideal, but my wife insists that we have a gas grill because she won't do charcoal. If we can use the gas burner for cooking we can get rid of the weber.

I'm in the exact same position as you regarding purchasing consideration - I am looking to upgrade from a 19" and have been toying with 23 vs 32 on the grounds of grilling area. Since turning up here, I'm keeping the 19" and looking at a 32"! 😄

My learnings, partly a result of discussion with Dennis and the KK forum together with my experience of owning one for a fair few years:

- The 32" is a large ceramic cooker but is a modest grill in proportion to a Weber equivalent but that's the only comparison worth making. We are a family of 2 cooking for up to 8-10 at the top end but it's pain doing a larger cook when you don't have sufficient space on the grill surface.

- You can't increase the size of a small cooker but you can scale a cook down in a large cooker.

- It's possible to manage larger cooks on a small cooker - it just requires a strategy for your timings and keeping food warm but speaking from experience, it's hassle and if you can afford the larger, I'd edge toward the 32".

- Your questions regarding gas and the Weber I am assuming tie to convenience. I may be telling you something you know already but lighting the charcoal and getting a stable temp is incredibly easy in the KK. I use a wood shaving starter cube and a Looftligher in preference to something like a chimney to start it as it gently heat soaks versus putting hot charcoal in a cold KK. It takes maybe 5 minutes. Using extruded coco char briquettes makes it easier than a big bag of lump wood. I think everyone will have their own preferences and methods but I like the Looftlighter as I don't have to worry about consumables for it.

KK quality is superb and mine looks like new and performs brilliantly after about five years. The Weber gas grill we had as part of the BBQ lineup is not even in the same realm of quality and looks 10 years older despite having had to upgrade various parts. You really won't be disappointed. 

I asked Dennis if he'd do me a favour and photograph the grates of the main grill for the 19, 23 and 32 next to each with a can of coke for scale reference. That's been one of my problems in terms of getting a real world understanding of comparative scale between the sizes.

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12 hours ago, Braai-Q said:

I asked Dennis if he'd do me a favour and photograph the grates of the main grill for the 19, 23 and 32 next to each with a can of coke for scale reference. That's been one of my problems in terms of getting a real world understanding of comparative scale between the sizes.

I had the same problem when I came to decide myself. Created this thread to compare the 21 to the 23 because I think it is less about pure square foot area but how many whole lumps of meat you can fit on each.  There was not a great deal of difference from 21 to 23 but expect a step change to the 32. 

 

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1 hour ago, tekobo said:

I had the same problem when I came to decide myself. Created this thread to compare the 21 to the 23 because I think it is less about pure square foot area but how many whole lumps of meat you can fit on each.  There was not a great deal of difference from 21 to 23 but expect a step change to the 32. 

 

Thanks, that's really useful. I'm going from 19" to 23" so would expect a bigger difference but the 32" would be a big step up from there. I love the industrial scale of catering you do, 50-70 people...no big deal, just a casual mid-week evening meal! I keep coming back to wanting more grill area but then going 'damn, 32" is big!' I'm genuinely a bit stuck on what to do.

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Well there is that old saying “it’s better to have it and not need than to need it and not have it” i bought the BB32 and have never regretted it. These cookers are not only great grills but works of art. No matter witch one you buy I guarantee you will love it. Good luck on your choice and welcome to the forum. Looking forward to uncrating and cooking pictures.

EBDA921A-3D4E-49B7-9899-D7ADEED51031.jpeg

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I just went straight to the 32”. I cook for 2-4 most of the time but I’ve cooked for thirty plus several times in the last year and it was well worth having the extra space.


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I had the same decision to make last year, i ended up with the 32 and i'm really glad i went down that path.

I usually only cook for two people but the space means you can fit things like baking pans with handles and other odd shaped dishes on with no issues. The charcoal usage is practically on par with my old cheap 18" Kamado, so its a win win.

A couple of weeks ago the Wife and I had a BabyQ - Baby shower for around 50 people and the 32 handled it with no issue whatsoever, in fact the 3rd grill was used to hold the drip pans, i could have fit a lot more on:

This is 2 x 6kg briskets, 2 x 3kg pork shoulders, 4 x racks of beef ribs.

KK1.thumb.jpg.f89ddcfba982d766a6b1bc028396fafe.jpg

 

Then there are the times where you want to bake, the 32 is an amazingly capable bread oven and has plenty of capacity:

KK2.thumb.JPG.d90f1379b0b784775b8a024ab44f994e.JPG

KK3.thumb.JPG.d2db7467a3bdbf54f0d13aa2b3388c90.JPG

Another nice thing is how easy it is to make a true 2 zone setup, i'm a massive fan of reverse searing steak, in the pic below i brought the steak up to temp on the upper right grate, then took it out and let it rest whilst the grill come up to temperature for the final sear:

KK4.thumb.JPG.0b68427a7a3df1e7b2f1ceedf09ad811.JPG

If i had my time again then i wouldn't change anything about my decision to get the 32. You'll be really happy with whatever you choose, but for me the 32 was the way to go.

 

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I listened to similar advice when I bought my 32 a year ago with no regrets. Most of the time, I am cooking just for me and my wife, and firing up the 32 is not a problem, even for two of us. It certainly gives a lot of versatility for two zone cooking, and has the capacity for the occasional cook for a group. I recently cooked six Boston butts for a group of about 50, all on the main grate. Either one will be great. We have had gas and charcoal grills for decades and we recently noted that our grilling quality had taken a quantum leap up in the last year, seemed to coincide with the arrival of the KK. Our old gas grill is gathering dust. I wouldn't get the gas attachment either. Charcoal is too easy, and so tasty, but you do what you gotta do.

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Well there is that old saying “it’s better to have it and not need than to need it and not have it” i bought the BB32 and have never regretted it. These cookers are not only great grills but works of art. No matter witch one you buy I guarantee you will love it. Good luck on your choice and welcome to the forum. Looking forward to uncrating and cooking pictures.
EBDA921A-3D4E-49B7-9899-D7ADEED51031.thumb.jpeg.ecb37d0dbfa49faadba12305a10ac818.jpeg


Gorgeous setup Bruce!

To the OP: Go big or go home... better to have more than not enough when grilling.


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