Duluth Forge 140031 DF-CC-21-BK Kamado Grill Review
Kamado grills continue to grow in popularity in the United States and around the world. One of the earliest front runners was green and egg-shaped, yet also carried a very high price tag. This essentially robbed it from being able to make the most out of its stunning popularity and versatility. Today the market is full of high-quality imitators that all put their own little spin on the somewhat simplistic Kamado design features.
The Duluth Forge 140031 employs the classic ceramic wall body that you see with most kamado grills and smokers. The 1.25-inch thick ceramic material absorbs the heat from the fire and distributes it evenly throughout the cooking chamber. Not only does this make it incredibly efficient for burning charcoal and hardwoods, it also allows you to use it as a low-temperature smoker and a direct heat grill.
The exterior of the ceramic cooking chamber is powder coated black and a glossy sheen. The band, hinges, springs, and other hardware components are made from “Commercial Grade” 304 stainless steel. This gives the Duluth Forge Kamado the kind of gleam on your deck that also doubles as a nice little conversation piece.
The lid features stainless steel, easy to read thermometer which is very accurate and allows you to closely monitor the internal temperature. It also has a dual action damper, which helps you to better control air flow and temperature.
Inside there is a primary cooking grid and warming rack. Both are made from stainless steel with a light porcelain glaze, to give them non-stick properties. There is also an ash collection pan at the bottom.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
On paper, the Duluth Forge Kamado is well designed and it uses high-quality materials that are at or exceed the quality you find in the majority of the Kamado niche. The thick ceramic interior really does provide superior heat retention.
Yet there is one glaring problem with the Duluth Forge Kamado, in that it does not come with any sort of base, cart, or stand. Duluth Forge recognizes this is an issue, but they only offer a stand as an accessory. When you also consider that it rings in over 100 pounds, it’s also a challenge to just keep on your average picnic table.
Like most kamado grills the Duluth Forge is relatively easy to assemble. It even comes with a little wrench tool to help you put it together. All told it shouldn’t take you more than an hour to put it together from start to finish.
The Duluth Forge Kamado is very versatile. The thick ceramic walls in the primary cooking chamber make it very efficient. This means you will use a lot less charcoal, while still getting maximum smoky, fire-kissed flavors.
With a little practice, you should be able to easily dial it down to the 200 to the 250-degree range for smoking pork shoulder, whole chickens, or even a portion-cut rack of ribs. When you dial it up, the Duluth Forge Kamado can get up to 500-degrees for searing and other direct heat grilling applications.
This level of versatility can allow you to mimic dual heat zone charcoal grills. Let’s say you wanted to prepare some grilled hot wings for your fantasy football draft. If you make them over direct fire, you will be fighting one blazing flare up after another, yet you also want the skin to have a little crisp to it in the end product.
To make this happen without turning your deck into a remake of Hiroshima, you simply dial the heat down to the 250-degree range. Lay the chicken wings down on the grate, with the dimpled skin facing up. Let them slowly take up some smoke, while the chewy fat renders out of the skin and the connective tissues in the joints render.
Give them a solid 20 minutes before flipping, with the dimpled skin facing down. After ten minutes they should be nicely tender and nearly cooked all the way through. At that point, you simply open up the damper at the top to let more air in. In about five minutes the flames should flare up, and you’ll be rewarded with the pleasant odor of smoky chicken fat.
Give them a close look, to make sure the skin is marked, yet not burning. This should take another five minutes. At that point, you just have to warm a bowl of your favorite hot sauce, toss the wings in it and you are ready to serve. Once you have chicken wings this way, it’s hard to go back to the stuff they serve in restaurants and pubs.
The primary grill grate measures in at a 19.1875-inch diameter, which provides you with 288.9 square inches of grilling space. The 18.75-inch diameter warming rack also provides a little over 276 square inches.
When you set up the Duluth Forge Kamado as a smoker, you can use both racks as viable cooking space.
The dual feature damper with the accurate lid thermometer allows you to use the Duluth Forge Kamado as a hybrid grill, smoker, and direct heat grill.
Ease to Clean
The Duluth Forge Kamado isn’t hard to clean. The ash collector is a little on the small side, which means it can clog up if you overload the charcoal, or there is a lot of ash from a, particularly long cooking session.
The Duluth Forge Kamado comes with a 30-day satisfaction guarantee, which is less than most of the competition offer in this price range.
The Duluth Forge Kamado has some definite strengths in its versatility and quality material components. It’s a pity that they don’t offer it with a stand included. If you do pony up the extra money for the stand, or you are handy enough to build one yourself on the cheap, then this kamado grill should be able to take care of your outdoor cooking needs for a long time to come.
- Quality material components
- Versatile and easy to control
- Very accurate thermometer
- Grill, smoke or hybrid grill functionality
- Stand is not included
- Inferior warranty
- Ash collector is small.