Update 2 (07/09/15): Kick Ash Basket has just released their model for the Kamado Joe Big Joe cooker. Click here to read our update to this review.
Update (04/25/15): Kick Ash Basket recently upgraded some of their baskets to heavy duty construction. Clicking here to read our update to this review.
The makers of the Kick Ash Basket recently sent us a sample for our large Big Green Egg to review. The idea is that you place this basket in your firebox and then when time comes to "stir the lump" to knock all the ash off, you simply pick up the basket by the handles and give it a shake until the ash all falls off. You can either shake it into a bucket or shake it into the bottom of your cooker.
You can see how it was shipped in the photo below on the left. On the right, the Kick Ash Basket is out of the box. The model for the large Big Green Egg is 14" in diameter at the top and 4¼" deep. Including the handles, the overall height is 5¾".
Here you see closer photos showing the rods and welds. The rods are 8 gauge (.1620") and 11 gauge (.1205") C1008 bright basic wire, which is made from raw American steel. The wires are spaced about ½" on center.
The basket simply sits down in your existing firebox as you can see in the photo below on the left. We took out the fire grate and just let the basket sit in the firebox. Then you dump in the lump and fire it up.
We burned a load of charcoal with the vents fully open until the charcoal burned out. After the basket cooled, you can see that there was no drooping or warping. We had wondered if the basket needed support, i.e., should we leave the fire grate in the cooker to support the basket. Of course, doing so would negate some of the advantages of using the Kick Ash Basket, which is the ability to just shake the ash into the bottom of your cooker instead of having to try to stir the lump and get the ash to fall through the holes in the grate. However, the basket held up to high heat just fine.
So, as of this review we have left the basket in our large Egg for 4 or 5 cooks, just picking it up and giving a shake between cooks. We will probably just leave it there as we have been quite satisfied with it. We get great airflow, ash handling is simple, and of course, you won't have any problems with holes in grates getting clogged. And once you have some ash accumulated in the bottom of the cooker, you can just scrape it out like you normally would. All in all, we think this is quite an improvement over the traditional fire grate.
They have models for the following cookers: Large Big Green Egg, 18" Kamado Joe, Saffire Grill and Smoker, Large Vision Ceramic Grill, Broil King Keg, Primo Kamado, and the Extra Large Big Green Egg. If you visit their website, you can check the dimensions and pick a model which fits your cooker. Here's their contact information:
Web: Kick Ash Basket
UPDATE: Kick Ash Basket recently upgraded some of their models to heavy duty. The model for the large Big Green Egg cooker now uses 3 gauge wire (about ¼ inch) for the handles and 3/16" wire for the rest of the basket. Whereas the original basket for the large Big Green Egg weighed 31 ounces, the heavy duty basket weighs 58 ounces, or almost double the weight of the previous model. We retrieved our original model from our large Big Green Egg, brushed it off a bit, and took some photos to show the difference:
We think any concerns about Kick Ash Baskets burning out too soon should be alleviated by this new version. Our original version shows no signs of giving up the ghost any time soon, but this new version should prove even more resilient.
UPDATE 2: Kick Ash Basket has just released a new model made specifically for the Kamado Joe BigJoe cooker. It's the same as the heavy duty model that we reviewed for the large Big Green Egg, only it's a lot bigger:
We should note that Kick Ash Basket recommends that you still use the fire grate that comes in the BigJoe cooker in order to support the bottom of the basket.
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