The Initial Bubba Keg Review - BBQ Central

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Old 04-28-2009, 12:47 PM   #1
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The Initial Bubba Keg Review

Well I was lucky enough to get a Bubba Keg from the company "In-Zone" almost 2 weeks ago. They are at www.bubbakeg.com if you haven't seen it yet.

I have taken a number of photos of the unit which I will post in a bit. But, I did want to take a minute to post my initial thoughts about the product since I have now gotten a few cooks under my belt.

So, if you are familiar with the ceramic cookers on the market, like the big green egg or Primo, then you will be able to visualize the shape of the cooker. There is only one size currently which is probably the same size as the large bge.

Admitedly, when Derrick Riches of About.com told me about this cooker on the radio show a few weeks ago I was more than skeptical...especially after seeing the "cheesy" video of the product. But I tried to remain impartial when doing these first few cooks in order to really evaluate this cooker.

It was shipped to me from Smyrna, GA in a nice sized box...it was packaged very well. I was able to assemble it in about 15 minutes...the back portion of the lid was already pre assembled from the factory so I just checked to make sure the bolts were tight and then moved on to the rest of the assembly.

One thing that I noticed about the BK was that it came with the cooker itself (obviously) but it also came with a mobile stand (the BGE, Primo etc. do not), 2 side shelves, a multi-tool for cleaning out ashes, adjusting the grate and a number of other cool uses and one of the coolest items, a trailer hitch to take the Bubba Keg wherever you go! All of this for the $599 price tag! NICE!!

So, how does it perform...IT KICKS SOME SERIOUS ASS!! The Bubba Keg is not ceramic...it is made out of steel...it has dual walls. The inner and outer wall are separated with 1100* oven grade insulation which helps it retain maximum heat and conserve the fuel consumption.

Another positive for the Bubba Keg is that unlike the felt type gasket on the BGE the Bubba Keg has a gasket that is made for ovens...kind of that metal type material that is also 1100* rated so no burn ups like the eggheads talk about. The BK comes with a cast iron main cooking grate and an additional topside grate that fits in to the main grate and swings out of the way to get access to the main grate...again, all for the initial purchase price.

I am still getting used to controlling the air flow...a nice feature is that the BK has numbers on both the top and bottom damper to help you regulate the airflow easier...the operating manual gives you ideas of where to set the numbers in order to achieve certain temps. All in all the numbers work pretty well. Both of my cooks have been higher temp cooks...steak the first time and chicken thighs the 2nd time.

The Bubba Keg lights up quickly and gets to 500* within 15 minutes from first light...just as quick as a gas grill for the most part. You cook with the top down and the BK maintained 600* without waiver during the steak cook and the meat was GREAT! Very juicy and cooked quicker than I thought.

The chicken thighs cooked quickly as well...which I guess reasons since the heat is high and the top is down! Very juicy again with great crispy skin to eat!

So, while I have not done a true low & slow yet, I am going to give it a go this weekend if the weather holds out. But the 2 high temps I did were outstanding...and the use of lump charcoal makes for little to know ash when the cook is over. I actually had enough lump left from the steak cook to do my chicken cook a week later.

Here are the draw backs:

- NO COVER! (it is being addressed at BK currently)
- No Diffuser plates or water pans for heat sinks (although a BGE plate might work)
- You need at least 2 people to get it from the box on to the cart...3 would make it much easier but once secured it rolls very well thanks to the over-sized wheels
- I personally don't like Raw Cast Iron...I know that grate will rust sooner than later! I would like to see a PCI grate option or just put in as a standard.

These will be or are in HD and some wholesale type clubs and were originally listed in the $800+ range...however, I did read on the BBQ Addicts website that the price has been reduced to $599!!!!! If that is indeed the case then you should go out and get one NOW! You can't get any ceramic cooker for $599 that is in the large size range...let alone all of the other accessories you get with the Bubba Keg.

I will continue to update this as time wears on but at initial punch, this thing is a WINNER!!!
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Old 05-01-2009, 08:49 PM   #2
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Are you burning lump or charcoal? Does have a firebox like the ceramics or is more like a weber kettle?

I looked at the site, kind of lame for technical stuff -seems like they rather sell mugs.

As for a cover I wouldn't sweat it. I don't use a cover on either my Imperial or Primo. OK, an occasional bird crap but it washes off in the rain
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Old 05-02-2009, 06:04 AM   #3
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Burning lump in it. There isn't a firebox really...more on the verge of a kettle type deal. I'll take some video of it when it stops raining!
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Old 05-28-2009, 03:58 PM   #4
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Greg is it still raining? When is the next part of the review happening?
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Old 05-29-2009, 08:38 AM   #5
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BH, I actually talked about it with Derrick Riches on the radio show this past Tuesday...you can get that at www.thebbqcentralshow.com.

I am going to try the MM for slow cooking this weekend to see if I can hold temp in the 235* range...I am going to put a few briauettes over the lump to start.

Derrick did mention that his leaks through the top vent when it rains or if your un sprinklers...however, I bought a cover for mine so I have not run in to that issue yet.

They did reduce the price to $599...so in the overall Quality/Price Ratio is awesome...I give it a 9 out of 10 when you include all the pros and cons.
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Old 06-15-2009, 11:16 PM   #6
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Well still waiting on that slow cooking review On a more serious note, I think those things would sell much better with a different name. The folks I know are turned off by the name. Guess I don't hang out with Clintonesta crowd. If they renamed them the ME 1000 (metal egg) or SE 1000 (steel egg) or anything else that didn't lable the owner as a Bubba or closet Bubba, those cookers fly out the door at the HD.
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Old 07-01-2009, 11:10 PM   #7
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Bump.

I gather you've lost interest in the Bubba or your camera broke. or you had to send it back.

In case you didn't have to send it back my brother lives south east of ChiTown. He's going to visit me this summer. Maybe, just maybe, he could pick up the Bubba on his way to the airport.

I'd hire a videogragher to document a low and slow cook. I promise you'll get it back. Just not when

Better yet, I respectfully request that you post a review about the low & slow abiitities with this cooker.
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Old 07-03-2009, 02:54 AM   #8
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Lets get some pics going here !!
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Old 07-03-2009, 05:20 AM   #9
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There has been pics posted...I use it quite a bit and I have no issues with it at all. I would suggest that if anyone of you are looking at a ceramic cooker to give the Bubba Keg a serious look. You get A LOT more for the $599 price tag than you do with any of the other Kamado style cookers!!

I will get some more pics this weekend and post them in this thread.

Dats...its some what disturbing how much you look like Woodman...VEEERRRY FREAKY!!
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Old 07-03-2009, 09:45 AM   #10
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Well, the Woodman looks like Antony Bourdain? Looking forward to the pics.
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