Kick Ash Connections
That's what was going through my mind several years ago as I was getting my hands filthy for the umpteenth time separating the ashes from the unburned charcoal in my Big Green Egg. "Somebody should make a wire basket that you could put the charcoal in. Then it would be easy to separate ashes from reusable charcoal."
I emailed the owner of a small company I'd bought some other grilling accessories from, to see if he might be interested in offering one. He responded "Nice idea, but I think somebody is already doing it…" and linked me to Kick Ash Basket.
Kick Ash Basket was a pretty tiny operation back then, and I struck up a friendship with founder/owner Chad Romzek. We bonded immediately when I learned he too was an engineer with inventing tendencies, and in fact used to live just a short hop from my home here in Puget Sound (we both have plenty of stories about grilling in the rain). It turned out he could use some help with marketing literature, and I definitely could use one of his baskets, so we struck a deal. And my grilling life took a big leap for the better.
Years later, that original basket still gets used every time I fire up the Egg, and it's holding up very well, thank you. When a friend told me he'd just bought his own Egg, I wrote him back with the simple message: YOU NEED THIS! He's now a happy Kick Ash Basket user too.
The Kick Ash Basket product line has grown considerably since those early years, with an upgraded basket, support for more grill and smoker models, and several interesting new accessories (about which more later).
The new basket is now made of stainless steel, and is dramatically heavier than the old one. The model that fits my large Egg weighs over four pounds—compared with a little over a pound and a half for my previous one. At $80, it's a significant purchase, but the reality is that quality stainless steel is costly. The basket is beautifully made and should last a long time.
This new, heavier basket also solves a concern I had with the previous one. I always set my original basket on the BGE's standard charcoal grate, because I was worried that without support, the relatively thin wire might soften and sag in a hot fire. For moderate temperatures, this works fine, but on those occasions when you want to open the vents and really crank up the heat, the stock BGE grate limits airflow and hence the temps you can achieve. With the new basket and no charcoal grate, I easily hit 550°F with the vents open only about 1/3. I see some great wood-fired pizza in my future!