Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Portable Kitchen Cooker (PK Grill) - Cast Aluminum Can't Be Beat

I am enjoying the heck out of my Portable Kitchen Outdoor Cooker AKA PK Grill. I grew up on a PK (which still works great after all these years), but I could not find one when I first went looking for grills. The reason I couldn't find a PK was because the company closed up, but another avid griller got in touch and worked out a deal for his family to revive the classic grills that work great and last virtually forever.

What makes the PKs different is that they are made of cast aluminum. That is kind of like cast iron but not so heavy and also cast aluminum does not rust. But, the long life and heat conduction are there. So, it is a brick house of a grill and much more versatile than most on the market.

Although the Portable Kitchen is called portable, it is sure not a tailgater size. It is full sized, but the body comes out of the frame. So, we do take it on the road with an SUV or truck. Since the frame does not fold or collapse down, it would difficult to transport this one with a car. But, if you have a really big car, the cart might fit in the trunk or back seat.

The PK is great for traditional grilled foods. The heat conduction is fabulous, so you can get those grill marks from a high sear temperature if that is what you are looking for. Many charcoal grills do not do that. This one does, since the heavy duty grates get nice and hot.

We grill steak, burgers, chicken, and brats on the PK.

And, we also use the Portable Kitchen as a smoker. Yes. It does work great for that. You just offset the coals (put them on one end) and then use the vents to lock in a temperature. The PK holds the heat and does a super job smoking.

The last smoke we did with the PK was MOINKs. Those are meatballs wrapped in bacon. They are smoked slow for around an hour and a half and taste like heaven. They are now one of my boys' very favorite grilled foods.


kitchenguy said...

I've never heard of moinks before, they look stunning. Recipe would be appreciated. I like the look of the thing you're cooking them on as well; does that come with the PK Grill or do you get it separately?

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Anonymous said...

Recently received my father's 1950's PK (bought from the originator out of the back of a car). Original metal wire grill is thinning (two vents & cast-iron grate), but the PK is still the most economical way to grill or smoke as temperature control is easy (hang a meat thermometer thru top vent and deduct slightly depending on tip placement).

I regularly re-use charcoal several times -- just close lid & vents after cooking! No wasted product for just a single steak or a few pieces of something else.

Have had other grills & smokers, but none are as versatile and predictable as a PK. Think of it as an outdoor oven that can do a great deal more: dutch ovens and a PK are a perfect complement to one another.

And can any others claim a half-century of service, at home and at the campsite?

Nice site you have here.

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RNB said...

I'm recueing a 50's vintage PK. Of course the grill and grate are shot. Does anybody know if the new replacements will work in the old grills. The old ones had 2 separate grills with protrusions that lay in shallow channels. That's how it hinged. Thanks

Anonymous said...

I'm reviving my parent's 50's PK. The grills and grate are shot. Does anybody know if the new replacements will fit the old grills? They have a different hinging system. Thanks

jrs430@jmail.com said...

Newly married, we bought our PK in early 1967. We have had MANY other grills over the years, including gas, but never one that can come close to PK performance. Yes, there are few tricks to working the fire, meat, and vents. I used to smoked huge chunks for a full day, just slowly feed new coals into front, along with soaked hickory. I don't use wood chips - not much flavor. I cut branches (at the right time of year) that are about 2" diameter, into pieces about 2" long, and water soak full day before using, then feed slowly into edge of fire. Have never been able to make this happen well except with THE GREAT PK GRILL!! Period.