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What are the disadvantages of a 32 BB?


Zukatah
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As some of you may know, I was in the market for a Big Joe to complement my Vision Classic but, just before putting my order in, I started adding the numbers up and, since I knew that I'd eventually go for a KK, I thought why not wait a bit longer and get what I really want instead?

 

After using the Vision for almost two years, I know I love kamado cooking and that I want a larger cooking surface for when I have guests over or when I decide to smoke a lot of fish or do a large batch of bacon. Now, I'm trying to decide between saving for a 32 BB  or a 23 Ultimate. I guess my thought process is that if I"m going to spend that much on a grill, might as well be as future proof as possible!

 

I believe the 23 would probably be fine for 99% of my cooks whereas the 32 would be fine for all of them. I'm trying to convince myself I'd be just as happy with a 23, so can you list possible disadvantages of the 32 vs the 23 for daily use? I imagine there must be a reason or two to justify the purchase of a smaller KK one you have a 32. 

 

I can think of: extra weight, uses more deck space, uses a bit more fuel, takes longer to warm up and more expensive. Can some owners chip in with their 2 cents? I know I'll need to use all of my brownie points to uncrate one of these beauties, so I want to make sure I'll be making the right choice and that I'm saving at the appropriate rate to allow me to get the grill home next year.

 

Thanks!

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you are talking a 1,660.00 difference in price.  that is enough for me. CC loves his 32, but has added a smaller one to his camp. 

 

If I ever get one, it will be the 23"  If you were happy with a big joe 24" than why are you going to go way over board. 

 

Do not forget that you are paying in Canadian fees too so you need to factor in shipping and delivery as well the dollar sucks.  a 32" is going to cost you 7.692.47 CAN plus shipping fees and taxes related to duty and import taxes.  You are going to be up in the 9 to 10 range when all said and done.

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Bosco: Perhaps I'm looking at this the wrong way but the difference between $6K and $8K CDN, while significant on an absolute basis, is not all that crazy when keeping in mind that you are spending that kind of coin on a cooking vessel. No matter how you want to look at it, it's a purchase that is hard to explain with a straight face to your significant other, no matter which grill is selected... except if you bring up the cost of the engagement ring you got for her or the cost of a wedding. 

 

I know it's quite a bit of money but, as a guy in my early 30s, I figure I can get a good 40 years of use from that grill without undergoing significant or constant repairs / tweaks. While the one-time cost of buying a quality item like this hurts, the relatively low overhead thereafter makes it OK from my perspective. 

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I am NOT in the bigger is better camp for daily use.

If the 23" covers 99% of your cooks then the vision + 23" should cover all of them.

If you entertain larges crowds 4-6 times a year the 32" is probably your ticket. Otherwise the smaller Komodo will be easier for daily use.

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Ok, so I don't have a KK. But when I run the numbers, for the $1600 difference in price between the 32 and the 23 you gain 600 sq in. For that price you could buy a BigJoe.

Get a bigjoe and a 23 incher

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After using the Vision for almost two years, I know I love kamado cooking and that I want a larger cooking surface for when I have guests over or when I decide to smoke a lot of fish or do a large batch of bacon. Now, I'm trying to decide between saving for a 32 BB  or a 23 Ultimate. I guess my thought process is that if I"m going to spend that much on a grill, might as well be as future proof as possible!

 

I believe the 23 would probably be fine for 99% of my cooks whereas the 32 would be fine for all of them.

 

I think this is the sort of question that ultimately only you can answer yourself. So much depends on what you mean by “a lot of fish” or “a large batch of bacon”. Not to mention what is involved in the 1% of cooks that you think only a KK 32” could handle.

 

For example, if the “1% of cooks” situation is that you want more grilling area for burgers, then that’s not a good reason to get a KK 32”, because you can cook burgers in batches. On the other hand, if once a year you want to smoke 8 turkeys at once for Thanksgiving, a KK 32” is the only grill that will do that. (And I would argue that it may be better to smoke two rounds of smoking four turkeys if that is your fringe case.)

 

Having said that, I’ve found that my KK 23” can deal with cookouts for four families pretty well, and I don’t think it’s overly big for my family of four for regular cooking. I posted this a little while ago, but I think pictures are a great way of figuring things out.

 

To put things into perspective, here’s Smaug with six racks of ribs, all laying flat, which is the biggest cook I’ve done so far.

 

15441695907_d15bbcd741_c.jpg

 

Although I barely got the top rack of ribs in there, the KK 23” dealt with this many racks of ribs really well.

 

On the other end, here’s Smaug cooking just four hotdogs, the smallest cook I’ve done so far.

 

15701033793_c76a1bd773_c.jpg

 

I know the four hotdogs look silly all by themselves, and John Setzler made fun of me for that cook  ^_^, but it’s not completely ridiculous. If I had taken the time to do so, I could have used the basket splitter to lessen the amount of charcoal I used for this cook. What I’ve found, though, is that KK grills are so efficient that I can do a quick direct grill on a small amount of food and not burn a whole lot of charcoal.

 

In fact this was the first real epiphany I had about Smaug: a KK grill is so efficient that for direct grilling, it’s like using a charcoal grill with the efficiency of a gas grill.

 

Hopefully that will help you figure out what to do for your situation.

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sorry, I own three kamado's so I understand the need/want category.  I may one day order a KK in all honesty.  But like I said you need to factor everything into this purchase for you.  If money is no object which it sounds like is the case then go for the biggest you can.  You only live once and you are right you will have it for a very long time.  But under current market value this is the worst possible time as a Canadian to import one.

 

BBQ from overseas imported to Canada are a category 4 import subject to an 8% duty as well as HST on top of the US dollar exchange.  What I was saying is that it isn't worth it right now to buy one and the dollar is projected to drop as low at .40 by next year. 

 

So 6100 US at .26 on the dollar makes it $7,698.90 CAN plus HST for QC and duty for import another 23%.  Total is going to be 9,469.65 plus shipping and handling.  So you are paying 49% more for living where you do. 

 

So you were sold on a 24" grill before you started looking at these.  Will a 32" be that much better for you for the sake of upwards of 4000.00??  You can buy 2 XL kamado types for the difference is all that I was getting at. 

 

But you and I come different lives so I do not want to tell you how to spend your cash!  Just trying to offer some input on your initial question when you asked us the question that you did.

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Zukatah - You ask a very good question that has a pretty simple answer.  As you know, I have a KK BB 32", aka TheBeast.  I also just took delivery on a 19" Hi-Cap aka Beauty!  Both are incredible works of art and engineering.

 

Let's talk about TheBeast first.  He is, simply put, the state-of-the-art in kamados.  People will tell you that it is rivaled by something that KJ has, an all stainless steel kamado, but that kamado is nothing more than a stainless steel version of the Big Joe.  On the other hand, the KK BB 32" is an entirely new design and not a reworked 23 Ultimate.  The differences are too many to list here, but let's just say that the 32 has an entirely new air control manifold for a bottom vent, the Top Hat vent is by necessity much bigger than anything you're likely to see.  Air flow is key to the understanding of the 32, and Dennis Linkletter know more about air flow control and heat transfer than most engineers specializing in heat transfer and fluid flow.  

 

I would ask you why you would consider the 32 at this point.  I got TheBeast because I throw a lot of parties and I don't want to be crowded for room when I cook.  My parties generally range from 10-25 people and TheBeast can accommodate parties that size and never break a sweat.  I can cook 50 lbs of pork butt, a couple of packer briskets, and several racks of baby back ribs as appiteasers.  If you're wanting to sear steaks for 25 people, no big deal.  Just fire up TheBeast and get after it.  The KK BB 32 is really a small commercial cooker.  And it is in that capacity that the KK BB 32 really outshines everything else on the market.

 

You asked specifically about disadvantages.  There is only one.  For very small cooks, TheBeast is like taking a strategic nuclear device after a gnat.  It's overkill.  I'm a bachelor and for a single chicken breast, a single burger, any small cook TheBeast is overkill.  That is why I ordered a second KK, the 19" Hi-Cap, Beauty!  

 

Look, the heating of TheBeast is no big deal.  Charcoal is dirt cheap.  You don't buy any KK and look to scrimp and save on charcoal.  If you're shelling out the kind of money for a KK and worry about going broke on charcoal, you should be considering a KK of any size..  Any KK is so incredibly efficient in transferring heat from charcoal to the KK itself and then to the cook that everything else pales to insignificance.  And every single KK treats heat the same way as TheBeast.  I've cooked on TheBeast, a 23" Ultimate, and now a 19" Hi-Cap.  All are more efficient than anything else yo've ever contemplated.

 

My philosophy with kamados is quite simple.  Go BIG or go home. I've said it 100 times here if I've said it once ... get the biggest kamado that makes sense for your budget.  It's better to have the size and never need it than to need it and can't get it!  The inherent nature of a kamado is that beyond a certain point, there is no more room on the grate(s).  I know this to be true since I once had a Medium BGE.  IT was a good cooker, but once you got beyond a certain point, that small grid size became a very real limiting factor for the size of the entertaining you could do.  I went out and got a bigger cooker and that was more expensive than if I had gotten a bigger cook from the onset.  Nobody takes trade-ins on kamados.  There is simply no market for used kamados that recognizes their inherent worth.

 

TheBeast is so far beyond any other cooker it's not even a contest.  It's a Formula 1 race car that you shouldn't drive on the street with every other car.  If over 20% or 25% of your cooks are going to be for large parties or a very large family, then TheBeast makes absolute sense,  That is the case with me.  But for everyday onesy twosy cooks, get a 23" Ultimate.  It's made more for the upper-middle range of cooks.  You can easily feed a family of 5-7 people off the 23" and never break a sweat.  You can entertain up to about 10-12 people quite comfortable on a 23".  

 

Someplace someone mentioned weight differentials.  Forget about that.  TheBeast weighs in at just a biscuit shy of 1,000 lbs fully loaded.  KKs are not lightweights in any sense of the word.  My new KK, the 19" H-Cap, Beauty is about 400 lbs fully loaded.  Weight is just irrelevant when you're talking about a KK.  Weight is actually a strategic asset to a KK because of  the ability to heat soak the KK.  You'll learn more about that on the KK site.

 

Forget about buying a another brand in addition to a 23" for the differential cost that a 32" costs.  People who make that argument have never cooked on a KK.  I've cooked on BGEs, Primos, Akrons, Visions, etc. and while they all cook about the same, nothing on this planet cooks like a KK.  A Big Joe won't hold a candle to a 23" KK.  Nothing heat soaks like a KK except another KK.  Every other kamado is made from steel or ceramic.  The KK is made from refractory and that provides an entirely different cooking experience.  I know this to be a fact.  I'm not trying to denigrate the other cookers; they are all quality cookers.  But they don't hold heat like a KK.  The airflow through those other cookers can't hold a candle to a KK.  That's just the fact based on the physics of heat transfer, fluid flow, etc.  

 

Do not buy the 32" KK for 1%  cooks.  It's just too much overkill.  Get the 23" and enjoy the KK experience.  

 

Finally, I would urge you to call Dennis Linkletter and begin a conversation with him.  He will NOT ever steer you wrong.  EVER.  He doesn't need to.  He is one of the most honest men with which I have ever done business.  I would do business with Dennis with a verbal commitment.  He's not about to ruin his reputation for the differential dollars between a 32" and a 23".  I trust his judgement implicitly.  

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I have a 23", and a 19". To me, the only disadvantage to the 32" is cost. All the other factors you mentioned, are basically non issues, especially the warm up, as CC has mentioned his 32" heats as fast as my 23". An owner cooked 9 butts at once, ranging from 7-9 lbs. What kk's have is the multi level cooking surfaces that allow for a lot of cooking area for larger cooks. You'll be surprised what you can get on that thing.

Quality wise, there is not one bit of difference between the models, the 16.5" is every bit as well built as the 32", with kk's you truly are just talking size. The warranty is the same, the construction, the internals, operation, all the same.

CC said it, call Dennis, he WILL NOT steer you wrong, or try to sell you anything really, he'll just give you information, and his opinion as to what would work for you.

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I have a 23", and a 19". To me, the only disadvantage to the 32" is cost. All the other factors you mentioned, are basically non issues, especially the warm up, as CC has mentioned his 32" heats as fast as my 23". An owner cooked 9 butts at once, ranging from 7-9 lbs. What kk's have is the multi level cooking surfaces that allow for a lot of cooking area for larger cooks. You'll be surprised what you can get on that thing.

Quality wise, there is not one bit of difference between the models, the 16.5" is every bit as well built as the 32", with kk's you truly are just talking size. The warranty is the same, the construction, the internals, operation, all the same.

CC said it, call Dennis, he WILL NOT steer you wrong, or try to sell you anything really, he'll just give you information, and his opinion as to what would work for you.

 

nice review robert!  

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Bosco, if you’re waiting for the CAD/USD exchange ratio to get better, that could take a while. The CAD has been slumping against the USD for the past 5 years, and I would expect it to take at least a few years to turn around.

 

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Just something to think about.

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