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Thursday
Jan282010

Big Steel Keg (Formerly the Bubba Keg)

As you know, I've been a fan of the kamado style cooker for awhile now and about a year ago I acquired a Bubba Keg to go along side my Big Green Egg.  I've been largely satisfied with the Bubba Keg and an active member of their community over at the BubbaBoard.

I've documented the differences of cooking head to head on the Bubba Keg vs. the Big Green Egg, because they cook completely different from one another but both turn out some really good BBQ.

Imagine the surprise of all the early adopters of the Bubba Keg when we discovered that the company had decided that the brand was too narrowly focused and that in order to appeal to a larger crowd, they would be changing the name of the cooker to the "Big Steel Keg ". 

I'm surprised that they would abandon the brand that they've built around the cooker and their other Bubba Keg products (insulated mugs and drink holders) that are shaped like beer kegs.  But I guess I can understand that "bubba" could be a turn off to some folks.

They've also made some enhancements to the product to help it maintain low temps better.  While I certainly can't fault the comapny for improving the product, I am disappointed that the company apparently doesn't intend to provide a way to retrofit these enhancements to the first generation products.  The thing about this that really annoys me is that most of the enhancements were learned on the backs of the first generation users and their experience. 

Come on In-Zone, at least make the new vents and damper controls available for the Bubba Keg Grill owners to purchase.  I think you owe that to the community.

Cheers,
Braddog

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Reader Comments (10)

Wow, I hadn't heard about this change. I can see some positives and negatives to this strategy and the implementation thereof. I thought "Bubba Keg" was marketable and an easy thing to remember. Big Steel Keg seems like a "me too" to the Big Green Egg.

January 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterChris

I couldn't agree more.
Sometimes I wonder if In-Zone is 100% committed to this grill.
Seems even things like the diffuser are not important.
Looks to me like they are sitting on the fence to see if this thing takes off.
Hope I'm wrong. See you on the board.

February 28, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterPorchpup

Porchpup;

Thanks for the note. I posted my thoughts on the board and got mixed responses, so I just let it drop. But I really feel like InZone learned some lessons from the early adopters. I'm not suggesting they owe us anything for free, but making the parts available seems like the least they could do.

Cheers,
Braddog

February 28, 2010 | Registered CommenterBraddog

Welcome to the world of being a first time adopter. Sometimes the retrofit option isn't technically possible, or fiscally feasible. You were able to enjoy the grill for almost a year. While it might not take the sting of now InZone having a moderately better product, your stomach probably couldn't tell the difference.

March 2, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterFavre4Lif
Brad, you have been MIA on the Bubba Board, you ever coming back?

Im not thrilled with the changes myself being unable to retrofit, but I am still happy with my keg, and the price of the BSK is more expensive then I paid for the Bubba keg so I cant complain.

Hope to see you on the board again.in the meantime.
April 29, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterUSFMD82
Braddog,

Finally got over here for a visit :) It's been to long... I've thanked you before for being very fair minded. This is no exception. I've been told the new vents are not backward compatible and I believe that, but I think a backward compatible one could be easily produced and made available. I would love to upgrade my 1st gen Kegs!!!
June 8, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterBoat-n-BBQ
Boat;

Thanks for visiting the site and I appreciate the kind words.

I've talked myself down out of the tree by now, but I was a little miffed when I found out that they weren't going to make the new vent configuration backwards compatible. Oh well, I'm still pretty happy with my cooking aresenal.

Thanks again,

Braddog
June 11, 2010 | Registered CommenterBraddog
I was thinking about purchasing a Big Green Egg and I happened to see one of these in my local Ace Hardware store. It certainly is tempting considering it is at least $400 less than a comparably equipped BGE.

Would you recommend the Keg over the egg? It seems based on price and performance the Keg is the clear advantage, but I wonder about long term use/customer service.
June 17, 2010 | Unregistered CommenterJP
My Big Steel Keg arrived in April, been having problems keeping the fire going for long and slow low temp smoking cooks.
Planning to import a DIGIQ DX temp controller with 10cfm fan and bulkhead adaptor.
I imported the official Diffuser but in my opinion it is not dense enough, I will try using an inverted camp oven lid in the Diffuser holder.
Hope you agree Braddog.
David,
Queensland Australia
(in mid-winter, not BBQ time at all)
July 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKingsthorpedavid
btw the term Bubba is not known Down Under, so Big Steel Keg is a wide decision for Australian sales.

David
July 10, 2011 | Unregistered CommenterKingsthorpedavid
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