View Full Version : Question: Who Has a Karubecue, And Is It a worth It?

12-06-2017, 10:12 PM
I am intrigued by the Karubecue. As an engineer, I respect the fact the inventor analyzed fires and smoke and designed a pit to deliver ideal smoke.

To any of the Brethren out there who have a KBQ, do you like it and is it worth the money??

12-07-2017, 12:52 AM
Don't know the answer to your question, but I've always wanted one of those.

12-07-2017, 03:27 AM
I used to have one. It makes some top notch food right up there with my offset. But like everything it has pros and cons.

Its a fire hazard. It cooks with an open flame and it needs to be treated like like a camp fire. You have to sit and drink beer and watch it. The air vents on the side will spill coals out. So you wont be inside watching football, you will be outside watching this box. Also you have to consider wind, rain, etc.
It sits low on the ground. That firebox on top glows red hot in the dark. You dont want small children around it or someone will end up getting a 3rd degree burn. The box itself gets pretty hot too.
Cause it sits low and the door opens forward. You kinda have to get on your knees or squat to access it. Its odd. My friend burned the hell out of his arm removing a foil pan with liquid in it from my KBQ.
It runs on electricity. I did not like being tired to an electrical cord. Thats just me.

Small footprint
Uses real burning wood so you get offset quality food.
Portable. Can easily toss n a truck or van.
All stainless so no flaky paint, wont rust and cleans up nice.
Its consistent. The fan kicks on and off controlling the temp so you dont have use any brain cells. You just feed it wood. No abilty to get creosote nasty smoke. Just keep feeding it.
Cooks with high convection which results in crispy skin chicken and a mean brisket bark. No soggy food here.

I do think its worth $1500 if you are not worried about The fire factor or babysitting it. When I was looking for an offset I had considered buying another, and if I got rid of the offset the KBQ would be high on the list again.

12-07-2017, 06:26 AM
I purchased one in September. The first several cooks produced a flavor I was not happy with, almost a chemical taste. I tried every combination of settings I could with the poppets and nothing seemed to work.
I responded to a post on here about the taste of clean smoke and the issue I was having with my Karubecue and someone mentioned that my wood may be too dry. I keep lots of different types of wood in a covered shed for cooking with and had never worried about the moisture content before. Before my next cook I purchased a moisture meter off of Amazon and found that my wood was way too dry (11% to 17%). I contacted a friend that is in the tree business and asked if he had any post oak or hickory that was not split into firewood yet, he had plenty. I picked up a few 10 to 12 inch logs of post oak and brought them home and split some up the size it has to be to fit in the firebox. I spread them out and let them dry about a week and checked the moisture content and selected enough for a cook that was around 25%.
That made the difference I was looking for. Cooked a brisket with the bottom poppet open and the top one about 1/4 open and it was fantastic.
I have a 20 x24 covered concrete slab I cook on so the open fire issue is a non issue for me. You do have to keep an eye on the wood as it consumes it faster than I thought it would but I like to sit out there when I cook anyway. I had thought about selling the Karubecue but now consider it a keeper since the issues I was having were my fault and now know that the pit can produce excellent results.

12-07-2017, 07:38 AM
Meathead has a good review of this smoker on AmazingRibs.com:


I have never used one of these, but have always been interested in seeing one in action and trying it out.

12-07-2017, 08:36 AM
A couple members on another bbq forum I belong to have them and they've only said good things about them. The food they put out looks top notch

12-07-2017, 09:27 AM
I've got one and love it.
I've take to calling it a stick burner for pellet heads. It's as simple to use as a pellet cooker. The only real difference is that the auger and pellets have been replaced by you and small logs.

To address some of the issues mentioned thus far, here's my take on them:
The firebox does get hot but I don't see how it's any different that any other stick burner. It comes with a lid, which means you don't have flames shooting out the top.
Yes it is a bit low for loading food. I'm still young enough that it's not that big of a deal but I could see an older person or someone with back problems have issue with it.
The way that it handles grease is my only real gripe with it. The grease drains out the front corners so you need to keep a tray there to catch it. That's even with a pan inside the unit. (Although that brings up a nice design feature, it holds a full sheet pan perfectly on the rails for its racks)

All in all I'm very happy with it.

Florida Q
12-07-2017, 03:31 PM
I'm a new owner of one and really like it so far. To start with it has all of the cons listed above -- sits low, drains out the corners, particular size wood, open flame, etc... but I used the tips from others on here to mitigate most of those problems. If you can keep a fire burning then you can turn out a quality product. And the smaller footprint allows me to keep it in the garage with no problems.

So far I only have two cooks on it. I did a couple yummy butts the first run and a brisket the second. The brisket turned out to be one the best I've ever had or cooked. This was seconded by the house full of neighbors that wandered over chasing the smoke they smelled when they woke up. One of my neighbors intends on buying one after tasting the brisket.

I handle the grease draining problem the same as fattymac -- by putting a pan inside on the bottom AND having one sitting in front of it. Not ideal, but so far so good. If the weather cooperates I plan on doing another brisket this weekend to see if I can duplicate the last one.

12-07-2017, 04:00 PM
I'm with the other owners - excellent and fully satisfied. There's a guy who sells a door kit that cuts down the bending over a bit and allows it to be removed for cleaning. There's now a grid you can get from KBQ that slides over the firebox and can be used for searing.

I'm also one who likes to hang out and watch the fire, and have a good fireproof area to put it.

Food is excellent. Works for me. And I think it's worth the price.

- Ed

12-08-2017, 02:05 PM
I'd forgotten about the firebox grill grate. I ordered one but haven't used the kbq in far too long. It's too cold for yard work around here which is when I used to fire it up as I would be around outside to keep an eye on it.

Another add on I would recommend it a kindling cracker and cheap miter saw. Makes very quick work of cutting fireplace sized splits down to a KBQ friendly size.

12-09-2017, 11:39 AM
Wow, thanks for the input! Good, thorough reviews. Now I need to figure out when and how to broach the subject with my wife!

12-10-2017, 10:50 AM
Wow, thanks for the input! Good, thorough reviews. Now I need to figure out when and how to broach the subject with my wife!

"Honey, I decided I was going to get this thing sooner or later. That was six months ago. Now I realize it's February, but I know I'm going to buy this sooner or later, so what do you think"?

"Get it, Fool! And start with some ribs"!


Snippet of conversation from my kitchen.

12-10-2017, 03:26 PM
Ive had one now for a bit and have 5 cooks on it. The first cook was spares and they turned out great very tasty but no smoke flavor. Talked to BBQ Bill, the guy Ed in the above post mentioned who has had many, many cooks on a KBQ and he asked if I was using the lid on the firebox during my cook? Duh.... no I wasn't! next cook put lid back on after adding wood each time and bingo, theres my smoke and evenly cooked ribs. I think there great and worth the money, for many of the above reasons. Portability and clean up being on the top of my list. Look for Bill on amazing ribs.com. He is a wealth of information and happy to share his knowledge with you.
Best of luck to you

12-10-2017, 03:39 PM
Here is what i'm talking about.
This is BBQ_BILL on amazing ribs.com talking about the C-60 Karubecue and cooking 3 large briskets. Pretty amazing when you consider its size.

Starting off, the bark is built mainly by the smoke and how LONG the brisket is in that smoke.
"Good" smoke, from going through the coals and being purified, is what MOST of us want on our product.
Therefore, for customers and "non-hawked" watching of the smoke and poppets, I would go bottom poppet only on this one.
Bark and color will take longer so I would put the three dry-brined briskets into my large freezer for one hour before they go into my smoker.
From the freezer, I would spritz with Apple Cider vinegar with a FINE spray, not wash it and make it run.
Then, I would rub EVENLY including the sides with 1/16" cracked black peppercorn, press it in, and into the KBQ they would go.
I would run at 165F for an hour, maybe a bit longer to get a little extra smoke on there.
Then, I would bump the temperature up to 230F average.
I would THEN have a cold one and relax.
At this point, they are not bothered.
They are just gathering smoke for maybe three hours.
I then go in and fine mist spritz, just lightly so the smoke doesn't wash off. I also add water to the pans below.
Every hour from there I repeat.
The next important thing in my head is COLOR.
I like the central Texas style dark bark.
My customers and family also like it.
Each spritz and water pan check I look at the bark that is building.
Yeah, I am increasing my total cook time, but I start early, so I don't care.
No pressure... enjoy the cook Billy.
When my bark is nice and dark I lay out two sheets of overlapped butcher paper on my stovetop.
With my helpers, I pull one rack out of the KBQ go to the stove and using "Man Claws" (bought 'em on eBay) I transfer the brisket from that rack onto the the paper.
I spritz the brisket and the paper lightly, just like Aaron Franklin's pit master does.
I wrap tightly and it goes into the MOIST oven pre-warmed to 230F.
After all three are lined up side by side in the oven, I take care of my KBQ, pulling the firebox off and putting it in the gravel in a safe area to cool.
I set my alarm and get some short, but well deserved sleep.
Alarm goes off, I pull one brisket at a time to the stovetop.
I open and probe the special spot on the flat.
I probe the flat outside that spot.
I'm comparing the tenderness of the special spot to the other areas outside that spot.
If all is still tough and equal, I spritz a touch and back it goes into the oven.
The other two get the same treatment.
When they seem to be getting tender I remember the all important fact that the "Window" of doneness perfection is quite small.
If I mess up now, my flats will be dry.
THEY will suddenly be at the point of perfection, and then minutes later, that time will be gone forever for that brisket.
This was a tough lesson to learn.
When the special spot is still not as soft as the other areas around it, I pull it and set it on the stovetop in a cookie pan to rest.
I slide a temperature probe into that same special spot in the flat.
I heat my liquid and add it inside that wrapping.
That brisket alarm is set for 150F.
Here is where it can get tricky.
I want all three to be at the point of almost being done and on the stovetop, resting so I can drop the moist oven temperature to 150F.
Each brisket will hit 150F internal and at different times.
When one drops to 150F the probe is pulled and it goes from its rest into HOLDING in the MOIST oven at 150F.
The next alarm to sing it's "song" signals that it is done resting and it then goes into to oven.
Number three, same deal.
Time for more sleep...
The "wake up Bill" alarm sounds for me to get up and get ready.
I shower and dress in my Cowboy outfit, complete with a nice black hat when I head out the door.
I heat water in the microwave, pour it into empty Pepsi bottles and place them in my pre-heated cooler.
Towels are then placed over the bottles.
My briskets are pulled from the oven and put in my cooler.
More towels on top.
It is closed and not opened until I open it to pull the 1st one to start slicing, weighing and selling.
Well, I have told it like it has happened for me.
May God be with you, and keep you.
BBQ Bill

12-11-2017, 02:09 PM
So THAT'S my brisket problem: I'm not hitting the special spot with my probe . . . .

12-11-2017, 05:49 PM
That BBQ Bill is very particular about his product. But he knows his stuff!

12-11-2017, 06:46 PM
Yes, I can tell he knows his stuff, he seems very precise.

I am surprised by his brisket temp goal, however. I always learned to hold brisket a little higher, in the high 190's/low 200's, as that temp causes the internal collagen to break down and moisten/lubricate the meat.

12-12-2017, 10:30 AM
You are right about the collagen break down that gives brisket it's meat jello deliciousness.

However collagen break down is not temperature dependent, it just happens faster at higher temps. The long hold in moist oven will do wonders for a brisket.

Search out the posts on here by Pitmaster T. Once you crack his code you will unlock vast amounts of knowledge.