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Is the KUDU 2.0 Worth Buying?
This open-fire grill has tons of celebrity chef endorsements. Is it any good?
Published Apr. 14, 2023.
KUDU has just unveiled a new version of the open-fire grill we tested, the KUDU 3.0. We look forward to testing it and updating this review soon.
Top PicksSee 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, the KUDU 2.0 was everywhere you 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).
The KUDU is a fairly simple grill. It’s got a 2-foot-diameter firepit base on legs that hold it about 32 inches off the ground. Two vertical bars attach to the base; one holds a stainless-steel grill grate and the other a cast-iron pan. Both can be adjusted to different heights and can swing out of the way of the flames. They can also hold other attachments, including a Dutch oven or a rotisserie, both sold separately.
We used the KUDU 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: You’ll need two people to put the KUDU together, but as long as you have a buddy, it’s a quick and straightforward process. Because the KUDU is large and heavy, though, it might be a little more challenging for one person to assemble.
- Large Firepit: Because the pit itself is so large, 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: We loved being able to use both 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 KUDU as a grill, we also liked that we could take its legs off and use it as a more conventional firepit if we wanted; on its own, the base has legs that lift it about 4 inches off the ground.
- It’s Easy to Use: It’s a cinch to adjust the height of the grill 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. You can also vary your cooking distance to help achieve different effects: Char a thick steak up close to the coals and then back it up so that it can finish cooking at ...
Everything We Tested
- Performance: 3 stars out of 3.
- Ease Of Use: 2.5 stars out of 3.
- Durability: 3 stars out of 3.
We loved cooking on this large, well-made open-fire grill. Its base was big enough that we were able to create a bed of coals to cook on while simultaneously developing a new fire to produce fresh coals. And its grill grate and skillet provided plenty of room for lots of food. Attached to two vertical bars, the grate and skillet were also easy to adjust to exactly the right height above the coals, ensuring the proper cooking temperature for any task we wanted to accomplish. We also appreciated how solid and durable the grill was, though its heavy weight did make it a touch challenging to set up and move.
Reviews you can trust
Reviews you can trust
The mission of America’s Test Kitchen Reviews is to find the best equipment and ingredients for the home cook through rigorous, hands-on testing. We stand behind our winners so much that we even put our seal of approval on them.
Dan is the executive food editor of ATK's books team. He's a former restaurant chef who joined ATK 13 years ago as a test cook.
Miye is a senior editor for ATK Reviews. She covers booze, blades, and gadgets of questionable value.