Monday, 30 June 2014

Kick Ash Basket Review

Well this month I got the opportunity to try and test the Kick Ash Basket which is a basket design to allow you to shake the ashes out of your fire box and to allow your charcoal to breathe easier.  I am real excited in trying this new innovative product that make prepping and lighting the grill a lot easier.  Before we start this review I would like to thanks Chad for providing me a sample of their product to make this review possible. Let’s get this review started shall we!

If you follow lots of ceramic cookers blogs, forums, etc.., you will find that lots of folks out there have been complaining that ceramic cooker fire grate doesn't allow enough air flow for high temp cooks. Well I am kind on the fence on that one but I did experience that issue before but it was the result of dirty cooker (too much ash between the fire box and base or too many small pieces of lumps). Later in this review will put the Kick Ash Basket to the test to actually see if it actually helps the grill in obtaining desired temp faster by providing more air flow.

I received the Kick Ash Basket via USPS and it was very well packaged as you can see in the pictures bellow!

Here’s the story how the Kick Ash Basket was born (info from there website):

“After 10 amazing years with my Weber Genesis gas grill, I bought my Grill Dome Kamado Style charcoal grill in 2009. I was an instant convert to charcoal: I immediately fell in love with cooking over the hot and flavorful coals, and used my grill several times a week.  However, I learned some lessons the hard way. If you have too much smoke rolling for your first chicken, your family will not fall in love with your over-smoked blackened cooking style!  Plus, several times within the first couple months, I had a hard time getting a fire started. After trying different levels of charcoal in the cooker, I talked to my buddy at the local BBQ shop. He told me that I needed to make sure I cleared out all of the ash so the leftover charcoal could breathe.
With that advice (and my background in "gotta make things better," a.k.a. engineering), I wondered why I couldn't put some kind of perforated bucket or basket in the bottom of the grill to hold the charcoal. That way I could just lift the whole batch of cold charcoal and shake the ash out. This would help the remaining charcoal breathe and make starting the fire a lot quicker and easier. I searched the Internet for a charcoal basket to purchase, but found none. So I decided to build my own.

I made the first basket from 16-gauge expanded metal, coat hanger wire, and some amateur welding. It worked awesome and I used that basket for well over a year, cooking two to three times per week. I showed this idea to a couple of buddies who had Big Green Egg charcoal grills and they immediately said, "That's a great idea! When can I get one?!"

And that's how the Kick Ash Basket was born!”

Features of the Kick Ash Basket

They are made of 8 gauge (.162”) and 11 gauge (.1205”) Raw American Steal C1008 Bright Basic Wire;

The metal as a melting temp of 2500 degrees F which is way beyond what you will achieve in your ceramic cookers;

They are built to last;

It comes in two different sizes:

The KAB-14 fits in the Large Big Green Egg and any grill that will hold a basket with dimensions of 9" Bottom Diameter, 14" Top Diameter , 4-1/4" Deep and is 448 cubic inches;

The KAB-15 fits in the 18" Kamado Joe, Saffire Grill and Smoker, Large Vision Ceramic Grill, any grill that will hold a basket with dimensions of 9" bottom diameter, 15" top diameter, 4-1/4" Deep and is 490 cubic inches;

The spacing between the grill section of the basket varies between ~1/4" to 3/8";

It makes it real easy to remove the ashes on the remaining lump charcoal before each cook;

Its design provides more airflow allowing the lump charcoal to breath better;

It’s made in the USA

Top View

Side View

View from underneath

How its sits in the Fire Box

Basket full of Fresh lump charcoal

Well I have now been playing with the Kick Ash Basket for about a week now. Let me tell you prepping the grill before each cook is now actually quite easier and quicker.  You just grab the basket by its handles and lift it about 6 inches in the air and give it a few shakes and all the ashes immediately fall underneath the fire box. But you can also shake the basket over a metal garbage can which makes clean up a lot faster. (Safety reminder: It’s very imperative to ensure that the grill is completely extinguished and no ambers are left when removing ashes or cleaning your grill). After shaking the ashes out of the basket you just have to use your ash tool and clean out the ashes from the bottom vent underneath the fire box. After this process you just light your grill and enjoy! After doing a bunch of cooks using the Kick Ash Basket I found that the grill actually lights faster and achieves higher temp faster. Having said this you will have to pay a closer eye to you grill temp since it can creep up on you a lot faster do to the added air flow. Another point that I noticed is that on low and slow cooks it actually uses about 5 to10% more lump charcoal using the Kick Ash Basket which is quite minor and expected. Another huge benefit of using the Kick Ash Basket is that it eliminates the issue of accidentally hitting the fire box and cracking it with the ash removal tool which I seen it happened a few times! It also eliminates the issue of small pieces of lump getting stuck in the fire grate holes. I strongly recommend using the Kick Ash Basket without the fire grate.  Some folks were saying on the Egghead forums that the Kick Ash Basket bottom has tendency to warp at high temps. So I decided to ramp up my grill to 1000 degrees F which is beyond what someone would use and held it there for 30 minutes. I did this twice and it showed no sign of warping and the basket showed no sign of heat damage.  When the Basket is first used (new) I recommend to bring up grill to 600 degrees F to burn off the coating of the metal for 15 minutes then your good to go.

Kick Ash Basket at 750 degrees!

Here’s a video of a ceramic cooker put to the test to see how fast it can achieve 500 degree F without the Kick Ash Basket:

Here’s a video of a ceramic cooker put to the test to see how fast it can achieve 500 degree F with the Kick Ash Basket:

Here's a couple of demo video made by Kick Ash Basket!

I used the two video above produced by Kick Ash Basket because I didn't want to re-invent the wheel!

The Kick Ash Basket actually made it easier and faster to achieve desired temps and I am quite impressed on how easy it is to clean the ashes out of the fire box using it.  There’s other grates you can get on the market to provide more airflow but this one is definitely more bang for the money since it also provides an easy and efficient way of removing ashes. I also love the fact that these are made in the USA not in china. This is grill accessory is must have for the avid BBQER that uses ceramic cookers.

You can order the Kick Ash Basket from here: Kick Ash Basket Store

There website: Kick Ash Basket website

There Facebook Page: Facebook Page

Contact info:

Enjoy and Happy Grilling!

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