Product Review: The KUDU Grill

I’ve been hearing quite a bit about the KUDU grill of late. Honestly, I was a bit skeptical, as it really looked like a simple raised firepit with adjustable cooking grates, so I didn’t give it much thought as I already own 8 grills and smokers.

But then I started thinking about the KUDU more seriously. I bought a fairly good sized Santa Maria grill about a year ago, and it’s only been used twice, since I’m usually cooking for two. With the KUDU’s compact size, I knew I would be cooking a lot more Santa Maria style cooks than I would with the much larger Santa Maria behemoth I have sitting covered and not getting used, so I decided to get one.

I opted for the Blaze package, which includes the KUDU smoker lid and a cover. Less than a week later, the KUDU arrived in a neat 76lb package. I eagerly unpacked it, and found set up a breeze, taking less than 20 minutes. Due to high winds at the time, I wasn’t able to use it the first few days. This actually gave me some time to think about what I was going to cook on my KUDU’s maiden voyage. Originally, I had planned to cook tri-tip Santa Maria style, but then I realized the KUDU would also potentially make a superb Roadside chicken cooker, so that’s what I went with. If you’re not familiar with Roadside chicken, it is a simple, yet utterly delicious way of cooking chicken by basting chicken pieces with an apple cider vinegar sauce  that not only helps render the chicken fat, ultimately leading to the holy grail of thin, crispy, melt in your mouth chicken skin. Roadside chicken MUST be cooked on an open pit to achieve the coveted crispy chicken skin.

The Maiden Voyage Cook:

When the winds died down, I found the perfect opportunity to fire up the KUDU. We moved the KUDU to our front lawn under our huge ash tree with some chairs and a table so we could enjoy the experience more fully. I lit a large chimney starter full of briquettes, and when they were ready, dumped them in the bottom of the pit. Then I added some smaller oak splits, and sat back and let them burn down for a while, probably around 30 minutes or so.

When the coals were sufficiently burned down, I positioned the large grate on the KUDO on a fairly high position, oiled the grate, and added the chicken pieces. Over the next 45 minutes, the chicken pieces were basted and turned every 5 minutes or so. As the coals burned down, I moved the cooking grate closer to the coals. The finished results were stupendous, and the Missus declared it was the best Roadside Chicken I’ve ever cooked. I was inclined to agree. Here’s some pictures of our cook, along with some pictures of that tasty roadside chicken:

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Initial Impressions:

The KUDU delivered the results I was hoping for in a big way, and I’m looking forward to many more delicious meals courtesy of this versatile cooker.

The smoker lid functions very handily as a coal snuffer. When we were finished cooking, I swung the cooking grate off to the side, and raked the coals to the middle of the bottom of the cooker and placed the Smoker Lid over them.

I also see the KUDU serving as a very practical tool for cooking steaks in a hybrid “Caveman Style” by positioning the cooking grate an inch or less over the coals. This way, you’d get the same results as cooking them directly on the coals, without having your meat covered with ash.

With two adjustable position cooking grates, you can cook two different types of foods simultaneously, and at either the same distance from the coals or two completely different heights, thus giving you greater heat/temperature control.

The KUDU also functions as a standalone fire pit – when you’re done cooking, just add some more wood and sit back and enjoy.

Needless to say, the KUDU would not be safe to cook on in windy situations, but the same applies to any open pit grill.

Overall, the KUDU is an extremely versatile grill/cooker that can perform many functions equally well, from direct cooking over high heat, indirect cooking, searing, and even smoking smaller pieces of meat using the smoker lid, which I highly recommend.

There is something very intimate and primal about cooking food over a wood-fueled fire, and with the perfect height of the KUDU, it’s way more convenient and easier on one’s back than cooking over an in-ground fire pit.

Finally, the KUDU is easily transportable – remove the two rods that hold the cooking grates, put the KUDU upside down, remove the legs, and it’s ready to go wherever you want to take it. The KUDU would be an ideal grill for someone who is considering a Santa Maria style grill, but wants  a more compact size and more versatility, and anyone who appreciates the incomparable taste of wood cooked over a live fire.

To learn more about the KUDU, click HERE.