So you got a Visa gift card for Christmas and it's burning a hole in your pocket? If you use a kamado style grill, the Kick Ash Basket might be just the ticket.
I have to admit something up front. I almost didn't accept this product review because I had seen this accessory online and I had some preformed notions about it before ever seeing it in person**. I thought it was a solution to a problem that wasn't really a problem. I thought it was a little silly, I mean, how hard is it to stir your ash?
My BBQ teammate and neighbor, John, echoed those thoughts when we first got it. For three months we have heavily used the Kick Ash Basket for low and slow BBQ, hot and fast grilling, and even the extreme high temps of pizza cooks. In that process, our skeptical (i.e. prejudiced) minds have been changed.
While relatively new in the kamado world, the Kick Ash Basket is actually not a new concept in the barbecue world. Charcoal baskets are pretty common for ugly drum smokers (aka "UDS" - homemade rigs made from 55 gallon drums) and offset smokers. They are used for preventing air flow problems and for easier refueling. They are most often made with expanded metal and maybe some metal edges, like this one from my Pit Barrel Cooker.
|Charcoal basket from my Pit Barrel Cooker (UDS style smoker)|
The nicer models have baffles to make the fire burn in a pattern (called a snake, wick, or fuse burn) instead of the coal all catching fire at once. This gives a longer burn and more temperature control. Here is a typical coal basket for a nice offset smoker.
|Quality charcoal basket ($155) for an offset smoker. Photo credit: Gator Pits of Texas|
But for some reason, this idea never caught on with the kamado grilling crowd. Perhaps it is because kamados can go 20+ hours on a batch of coal whereas UDS have to be refueled every 10-12 hours and some charcoal pits every 4-8 hours.
Back in 2009, creator Chad Romzek, was bumping into the typical learning curve issues on his first kamado grill - a Grill Dome. He thought there had to be a better way and came up with this.
The Kick Ash Basket is such a charcoal basket but made specifically for kamado style grills. They are made from raw American steel and come in three shapes/sizes to accommodate almost any standard kamado (Big Green Egg, Kamado Joe, some Primo, Vision Grills, etc).