With the introduction of the Kudu, grilling enthusiast and entrepreneur Stebin Horne has established a singular goal of introducing American diners to the social and culinary joys of braai—the Afrikaans term for what Americans consider a barbecue. His true purpose, however, goes beyond a simple meal. Horne wants to highlight the social and cultural characteristics that help define the gathering as well.
“What I wanted to create was a company that was bigger than the grill itself,” Horne said. “Something that inspired me so much was Africa, and the African lifestyle.
“I had a friend that was a plumber, and we started putting together kind of our first prototype. We’d sort of have people come over, and we wouldn’t say much to them. We’d just start cooking with it, [and] they were fascinated with it.”
Thanks to its ability to suspend a variety of cooking surfaces over the fire, a Kudu allows its users to prepare multiple dishes at the same time. The grill can handle anything from burgers, flank steak, and stir-fry to pancakes and homemade breads.
More importantly, it provides an outdoor centerpiece around which friends and family can gather together, away from daily stressors (and electronic devices) that limit interpersonal relationships.
“We’re on a mission to destroy the term ‘manning the grill,’” Horne said. “If you’re going to spend the time and energy and money to bring people together that you care about, then your experience should probably be better than sitting over in the corner while everybody else is having a good time.”
The Kudu’s simplicity and versatility means that even the most novice cook can start grilling right away. If you’re a little more seasoned in the kitchen, you’ll find a wealth of online recipes and tutorials to help you take your culinary skills to the next level.
Above all, if the Kudu brings a little sense of braai stateside, then Horne’s mission will be accomplished.
“I’ve had customers call me and say, ‘Stebin, I’ve owned the Kudu for six months and, in just that short period of time, I’ve had more incredible conversations around this grill than all my other grills combined,’” Horne said. “You can just do so much with it, but what you get out of it is something totally different than something I think a lot of Americans are accustomed to.”