First cook on my new KUDU with Surprise Ending

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Sven Svensson

Master of the Pit
Original poster
OTBS Member
Dec 5, 2021
Sonoma County, California
I got home around 4 and started the charcoal & oak burning process. KUDU recommends 80% charcoal and 20% wood. We have live oak here in the North Bay in CA so live oak it is. The KUDU is a very versatile grill/smoker. I did both grilling and smoking on this first run.

I brined a whole fancy cage free, organic chicken I got for $6. Not too bad. I also brined 6 huge chicken breasts at the same time, overnight. I prepped both with a favorite chicken seasoning and a lemon-pepper rub. The whole chicken went on the rotisserie. I trussed it and stabbed it with the rotisserie stabby things. A couple of good twists on the rod and on it went. The KUDU has a unique rotisserie in that it’s a single-point system. The picture shows what that means. It’s rated for 25 lbs. It runs on 2 D-cell batteries. I used my hand as the temperature gauge and found the 3-second spot.

After I got the whole bird settled it was time for the breasts. I used the unique smoker lid. I put the grill grate just a bit over the fire and let the smoke and heat fill the dome and do the work. Remarkably, all the breasts stayed within 2-3 degrees of each other no matter where they were on the grates. They turned out beautifully and will be cubed up for our diet salads all week.

Now for the surprise. My rotisserie chicken was looking amazing and I was within 5 degrees of being done. I went inside to get a pan and some gloves and came back outside and the chicken was resting on the hot coals on its back, thankfully. The pictures will show the post-mortem. I lost a wing (my favorite) and a drumstick. I was able to save most of the rest. It was as juicy and flavorful as the Costco chickens but mine was better because it was cooked over open flames.

My overall impression is great. I’ve always wanted an Argentinian style Santa Maria but my backyard can’t accommodate another big cooking device. Four smoker/grills is all my wife will tolerate, not counting the pizza oven. Open-fire grilling will be great on this new wonder. And the unique method of smoking under that giant dome worked out great. I think my next project will be a frozen chuck roast brisket style.

The bird bath. My tree has an abundance of lemons so I can be liberal with them.

Trussed and stabbed.

Fire is ready.

On it all goes.

Time for the smoker dome. You can see how I put it just a bit over the fire. I also had to account for the breeze that pushed the heat that direction.

This is where you put the dome when checking temps.

Super juicy and they were done about 45 minutes to an hour before the rotisserie bird.

Chickens can’t fly very far and this one only made it off the spit. I learned to check the screws more than once by doing it the wrong way, tonight. Oops. At least it fell on its back. Not a lot of good meat there anyway except the oysters.

Here’s the good side. You can see the ash coated wing and the demolished drumstick.

And here’s the damaged backside. There’s still a couple of coals hanging on. Not too bad and it only sat on the coals a couple of minutes. I guess it could have been much worse.
I thought it all looked good even the campfire direct sear.

I'm trying to figure how the chicken slid off the spit rod and still landed in the fire instead of the patio.
Which screw was loose?

Sorry, I couldn't resist the chance for a bit of humor in the situation.
  • Haha
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I’ve always had a screw loose so it wasn’t a surprise. Haha! It was the toward the unsupported end. But I think the back side moved, too. It held long enough to rip the drumstick off as it was tangled in the twine. I’ll have to check the tightness each time I stop it to check the temp.
Wow! That is awesome! What a great cook and unique cooker. If I wasn't going all in on an offset, Id be getting a KUDU based on this write up and results. Real bummer about the bird, but at least it wasn't due to faulty or bad equipment and you were able to salvage most of it. Thank you for sharing a great meal and new toy!
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Very cool Sven, I want one too. I wonder how it would work as a fire pit? That might be the only way I could sell it to the wife:emoji_joy:
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Thats a pretty awesome set up!! Both the bird and the breasts look fantastic!! Dont worry about the misshap! It happens to the best of us.... And that charcoal wont hurt anyone.. Ive actually done a few cooks with steak directly on the coals...bush off the loose stuff and enjoy!!☺

You could have played it differently though.. Think about how a top named overrated TV chef (that cant own up to unforseen problems in a cook ) would aproach this situation on a live show....

It would go something like this.....

" and now at right about 5° before our target temp we'll place this beautiful bird directly on the coals...this will enhance the crispness of the skin and give that true over the fire experience to this wonderful dish!".. 😂😂😂😂

Just kidding! Im glad you shared this cook with us! That rig is gonna put out some great food! Looking forward to seeng more stuff cooked on it!
Nice work and a big like from me!!
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Very cool Sven, I want one too. I wonder how it would work as a fire pit? That might be the only way I could sell it to the wife:emoji_joy:
The legs are removable and it will sit about 6” off the ground. Also, go to their website and look for the fire rings. They are made specifically for campfires. That accessory is next on my list. I’ve read if you leave the legs on the smoke doesn’t get in your eyes as the fire is higher up. I’ve not tested that, though.
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