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Should You Buy a KUDU Grill?

This open-fire grill has tons of celebrity chef endorsements. Is it any good?

By and

Last Updated Aug. 7, 2023.

Update, August 2023

KUDU has just unveiled a new grill, the KUDU 3.0. We tested it and found we like it even better than the KUDU 2.0, though both models are great. The KUDU 3.0 is our new winner.

See Everything We Tested

What You Need To Know

We’re big fans of open-fire cooking. There are few things more satisfying—or more fun—than getting outside and grilling or roasting some food over a wood fire. While most of us are content to do our open-fire cooking in a firepit, though, we were intrigued by a fancier open-fire grill that we’d seen on Instagram and beyond. For a time, KUDUs were everywhere we looked, garnering endorsements from a host of prominent chefs, including Atlanta’s Kevin Gillespie (Red Beard Restaurants) and Asheville, N.C.’s Katie Button (Cúrate). 

There are currently two versions of the KUDU on the market. Both are fairly simple grills that can be used with either wood or charcoal. Each model has a 2-foot-diameter base on legs that holds the firepit about 32 inches off the ground. Two vertical bars attach to the base; one holds a stainless-steel cooking grate and the other a cast-iron pan. Each of these can be adjusted to different heights. They can also hold other attachments, including a Dutch oven or a rotisserie, both sold separately. 

We used both KUDUs to cook a wide variety of foods, from simple chicken souvlaki to grilled racks of lamb. Here’s what we found.

What We Liked:

  • Fairly Easy Setup:  Because these grills are large and heavy, you’ll need two people to put either of these KUDU together; as long as you have a buddy, it’s a quick and straightforward process.
  • Large Firepit: The pit itself is so large that there was enough space to create a bed of coals to cook on while simultaneously developing a new fire to produce fresh coals. With smaller firepits we’ve tested, we’ve found that it’s hard to build a new fire without having it change the heat output of the pit as a whole, making cooking challenging.
  • Versatility: With both models, we loved being able to use the grill and the skillet simultaneously, as this vastly expanded both the range of things we could cook and the amount of food we could put out. It’s nice to be able to cook chicken skewers on the grill while sautéing vegetables in the skillet, for example, or to toast bread while making scrambled eggs. And while we mainly used the KUDUs as grills, we also liked that we could take each model’s legs off and use them as more conventional firepits, sitting just 4 inches off the ground, if we wanted.
  • They're Easy to Use: Both models make it a cinch to adjust the height of the cooking grate and skillet so that you get just the right distance from the heat, ensuring that your food cooks properly without falling prey to flare-ups. (The KUDU 3.0 has a slight edge here. While the cantilever locks take some practice to use properly, they are easier to adjust than the KUDU 2.0’s ...

Everything We Tested

Good : 3 stars out of 3.Fair : 2 stars out of 3.Poor : 1 stars out of 3.
*All products reviewed by America’s Test Kitchen are independently chosen, researched, and reviewed by our editors. We buy products for testing at retail locations and do not accept unsolicited samples for testing. We list suggested sources for recommended products as a convenience to our readers but do not endorse specific retailers. When you choose to purchase our editorial recommendations from the links we provide, we may earn an affiliate commission. Prices are subject to change.
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