Bubba Keg Grills
Many of you may not have heard of the Bubba Keg Convection Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill). You’re probably thinking I’ve got this mixed up with the insulated mugs and coolers. They seem to be all over the place these days. But, something few of us knew about was an imminent attack on a few high priced ceramic cookersenjoying very little competition.
Not only is there one more ceramic style cooker withKamado origins, it comes in at well below (as much as half) the price of the competition. Yet, it delivers more features (or extras) at this low price while the others make you pay even more.
Based on initial reviews from various BBQ bloggers, this thing is the real deal. There was a little concern that this was a gimmick but that soon vanished as the first reviews came in. Even owners of the Big Green Egg seem to be fairly impressed with the results they are getting. Nothing taken away from the BGE, but the same results at half the price? Makes you think.
So let’s take a look at the main features of the Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) and see if we can’t figure out if this cooker is going to challenge some other pretty cooler units
At first glance, it looks like a beer keg. But the only thing linking it to beer are the bottle openers conveniently located under the dome handle. But what else should you know about the Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) ?
- Bubba Keg Convection Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill)s are double walled steel construction with foam insulation (also known as Bubba FAT™). This may be even more efficient than the ceramic cookers it’s competing with. One blogger put a small load of lump charcoal in thinking it would burn it in short order. The temperature got to 700° F. At 6 hours, it was still 400° F.
- It comes with a built in hood thermometer.
- Numbered upper and lower vent positions. While this may seem like over kill for the super experienced BBQ’ers, anyone new to smoking or low and slow cooking could struggle with temperature control without a simple guide like this.
- Bottle openers under the front handle. It’s not often that I’m cooking without a beer. It makes it even more important on camping trips…one less loose item to carry along.
- The grilling grates are adjustable and removable. This is important for those who do a variety of different cooking scenarios from gilling to smoking.
- It comes with removable side trays, normally something the competition consider to be an optional accessories. These are cool because they come off with the simple push of a button.
- It has an ultra cool base with wheels so it can be repostioned with ease.
- It comes with an adaptor for your trailer hitch which makes it easy to take with you for tailgaiting or camping. Much better than trying to fit a large smoker or grill inside your vehicle. The competition has nothing like this.
How Does The Bubba Keg Convection Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) Compare?
One thing right off the bat that you can get with Primo’s and Big Green Eggs are some means for creating indirect heat. With the BGE, you can use a ceramic plate setter which is an optional $50 accessory. So here is the good news, while the Bubba Keg Convection Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) does not yet have an accessory for this, the plate setter for the BGE fits perfectly in the Bubba Keg. Don’t believe me? Here’s a picture (I found this atwww.bbq-brethren.com which is a great BBQ forum to check out.)
That was kind of a big deal for me because I’m so into smoking things these days that I almost don’t care to do any high temperature grilling. But, if you are into grilling, I watched one video over at SmokeInDaEye where he had his initial burn up to 800° F. He then proceeded to grill a flat iron steak and some asparagus. Looked pretty good.
From what I can tell so far, this thing is at least as efficient in maintaining heat as it’s more expensive brethren. With that, comes potential problems maintaining a low temperature because once it’s hot, it’s almost impossible to bring it down. That’s about the only negative I’ve heard so far from guys that know their stuff.
Bubba Keg Convection Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) Pros
- Extremely efficient insulation which allows temperatures to be maintained for extended periods on very little fuel. Actually stays cool to the touch (or warm if you really run it up to the high end).
- The only full sized grill / smoker that can easily be taken on the road
- A number of freebie extras the competition doesn’t have.
- While they all look different, this one looks different while infiltrating the warm and fuzzy place of a beer drinker.
- The price comes in at nearly half the comparable competitor model.
- There is currently no heat deflector or plate setter for indirect cooking available thru the manufacturer; although I hear they are working on one. It’s not clear if this will be an extra cost but any serious Q’er will need it.
- Most tail-gaiting venues don’t allow charcoal grills!
I have to say that I’ve been hoping, begging and praying for the day when I can get a ceramic grill. But after the Bubba Keg Convection Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) hit the market, I decided that maybe it doesn’t have to be ceramic. I can see fraternities across America getting one of these to compliment the rest of their decor.
Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) Details and Consumer Reviews - Here are some Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) details I was able to scrounge up. It’s not a lot, because I don’t have one to do a thorough analysis on.
Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) At Home Depot - I just saw theBubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) at Home Depot hear in the Woodstock, GA area. Apparently, the only one they have in stock is the floor model, already assembled. I chatted with one of the store personnel about it and she told me that they were only ordering one at a time and when this one sold, they would place an order for a new one.
My New Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) From Home Depot - I broke down and purchased a new Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) from Home Depot yesterday. Since they are only ordering two at a time, and one had sold, I was left with the pre-assembled unit on display. I always like to get things in the box so there’s a less chance of missing parts. In this case, my theory was proven correct.
Beer Butt Chicken on a Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) - I figured I would do Beer Butt chicken on a Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill)since I just got the grill, and I love to cook chicken like this. Since my results varied from my norm, I will probably be updating this page as I fine tune the procedure. I definitely didn’t get the same results I got on my Char-griller with side fire box, or even my gas grill. So let’s see what I did.
Smoking Spareribs on a Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) – St. Louis Style - My second low and slow cook was spareribs on a Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill). After my slight problem with beer butt chicken, I was a little wary. Decided I was definitely not using a water pan in a Bubba Keg again. No one had recommended it, so I’m not sure why I did it other than I was following a WSM recipe. Live and learn.
Pizza on the Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) - Costco has really good homemade pizza’s, so I thought I’d try a Margherita Pizza on the Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill). I was lazy, and it looked really good. I’ve also been meaning to try something like this every since I got it.
Bubba Keg Beer Can Chicken - I was told to prepare Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) Beer Can Chicken at my wife’s horse barn for a gathering on Memorial Day. So, instead of watching the French Open while I was cooking, I was swatting flies. But, it was a great opportunity for me to check out the portability of this baby and also to cook for more than 2 people.
Smoked Pork Butt on the Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) - I just had to have smoked pork button on the Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) the other day. Man, my wife had swiped the camera so I don’t have any pictures to share with you. I will correct that situation the next time I do it.
The Bubba Keg Grill (now the Big Steel Keg Grill) Does Leak - I know I said it doesn’t, but full out thunderstorms in the open are definitely a problem.