Ever think to yourself “where is the PK360 grill made?”
Well, you are not alone and as an owner of both a PKGO and the Graphite PK300 Original (all new version), I wondered the same thing.
So, I did some digging and here is what I found.
PK Stands for Portable Kitchen and if you’ve never seen a PK360 Grill before, that’s basically what it is.
It comes with everything that you would expect in a grill with both kitchen aesthetics and kitchen-like hardware to boot.
It’s a neat concept that works great, but where are PK360 Grills made?
There once was a time when all PK grills were manufactured right here at home, in the United States of America.
However, times have changed and my most recently purchased PKGrill was labeled with a big sticker that said “Made in China”.
Trust me, this bummed me out, big time. I own the PKGO and the All-New Original PK300.
There was a time when PK placed the quality of their designs and the materials that go into them over labor and manufacturing costs because they have a product they believe in.
Unfortunately, PK made the decision to move manufacturing PK grills over to China, including the PK360 are very popular and highly rated grills.
While many manufacturers today stick with China to offset their manufacturing costs (mostly at the expense of their own humanitarian ideals).
History of the PK Grill
So you might be surprised to hear that PK has been around since the 1950s and their modern grills certainly seem to rock that 50s nostalgia aesthetic very well.
Originally, the PK grill was just called the Portable Kitchen and was manufactured by Hilton Meigs out of Tyler, Texas.
Fortunately, the design and the moniker took off and the company was purchased by Lewis Hamlin.
He moved the entire manufacturing operation to Little Rock, Arkansas, where it has remained to this day.
Unfortunately, once PK Grill manufacturing moved to Arkansas, it literally fell off the map.
No one in 1970 could have told you what a PK Grill was.
It is because the grill, the concept, and the design went down into the black void of history.
It is due to poorly managed business concepts and a massive fire at the production facility itself.
For whatever reason, beneath the ash heap of history’s thousands of failed businesses, the PK Grill retained a weak pulse.
In 1998, after purchasing a PK Grill at a yard sale of all places, a man by the name of Paul James rediscovered the appeal of the PK Grill.
He decided to resurrect the business by purchasing the PK Grill name.
He probably acquired it by spending pennies on the dollar for a business that everyone, including the original owners, had long thought was dead and gone.
Paul James didn’t go out of his way to make something altogether different that would be associated with the name, PK Grill and nothing else.
He used casts of the original model to begin manufacturing the PK Grill all over again, in all of its original glory……however, at some point, he moved this to China.
What Materials Go Into the Manufacturing of PK Grills?
PK grills get their classic vibe from cast aluminum, through which all of them are molded and poured by hand.
Aluminum is a fantastic material for use in a grill because it resists the deterioration effects of intense heat and is largely resistant to all outdoor elements.
In other words, if you decide to fork over the money for a PK Grill, you will have something that will last for many, many years to come.
So long as you keep the grill closed when not in use, the aluminum oxide repels the corrosive effects of inclement weather and keeps the interior, and steel components well protected.
The final, exterior component that goes into a PK Grill is the exterior paint, which is a heat-resistant paint that never completely cures until the first time you use the grill.
When you light up a PK Grill for the first time, you essentially are responsible for the final curing stage of the exterior paint.
What is Special About the PK360 Grill?
There are a lot of things to love about the PK360 grill and it comes loaded with features to go right along with its classic aesthetic and 1950s “kitchenesque” vibes, including some unexpected innovations as well.
- Entirely rust-proof, cast aluminum material
- Comes with two-zone heating
- The name belies its function, as it has a 360 sq. ft. cooking surface
- Multiple air vents (vented tubes) for great temperature control
- Built-in Tel-Tru thermometer that PK guarantees will remain within + or – 1° accuracy
- Includes two fiberglass shelves that are reinforced with polyester
It’s truly a remarkable grill but it won’t blow you away in terms of being a very large grill, despite the surface area available for cooking.
PK did a good job of packing everything in without making the grill seem like it was overcrowded.
The sad part is, previously, none of the parts inside or outside of the grill were manufactured outside of the USA. Times have changed.
I take that back, according to Tel-Tru (the thermometer used by PK) all of their products are manufactured in the USA.
How Sturdy are the Materials?
When you have things that are manufactured in China, it’s often the case that the materials are shoddy in terms of using cheap materials to manufacture something that is marketed as an expensive product.
However, when it comes to the PK360 grill, and all PK Grills for that matter, the materials are actually still very high quality.
The aluminum was clearly a good choice, especially when it comes to getting excellent heat conduction.
Its non-corrosive, thick aluminum, and built to last.
According to PK, many grillers return their original PKs, not because something is wrong with them.
But because they’ve had theirs for well over a decade and are looking to upgrade.
Both of the exterior shelves are reinforced, heat resistant, and can hold a good deal of weight while also leaving space for tongs and other utensils.
It has an excellent, controllable venting system as well, with four of them strategically located around the grill.
All Things Considered
PK360 Grills, along with all PK grills were once all manufactured here in the United States, in the state of Arkansas, but these days it seems all but the original PK is manufactured in China.