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PK Grills Introduces The New OriginalLock Icon

2 min read

Calm down, PK Grills cultists. Life as you know it is not coming to an end.

Panicky online posts about the Little Rock maker of poured aluminum charcoal grills discontinuing its iconic Original model and moving all manufacturing to China are muddled, Chief Marketing Officer Scott Moody tells Whispers. First, the Original model, aka PKAR, is being retired and replaced with PK300, aka the New Original. It’s an updated model in response to customer feedback, Moody said. The New Original is a bit taller with a little more shelf space, better vents and better ash control.

“The New Original retains the same shape, same basic architecture, but it fixes some things that just needed to be fixed,” Moody said. “Car manufacturers tend to do that every three or four years, and it took us seven decades.”

It is true that the New Original will be poured at an aluminum foundry in China rather than in Iowa. Some other PK models are already being poured in China, he said.

However, the PKTX — the same aluminum “capsule” as the Original but on a scissors-style foldable cart — will continue to be poured in Iowa. Its parts fit the original Original, so replacement parts are readily available for both, and every model has a 20-year warranty.

The aluminum “Portable Kitchen” grill dates to the 1950s and was manufactured near Little Rock in the 1960s and ‘70s. Little Rock attorney Paul James resurrected the product in 1998, brought in some partners (including Moody), and the company and its cultlike following have been growing.

PK Grills now employs 15 people working in 30,000 SF on Doyle Springs Road in southwest Little Rock. Neither the redesigned New Original nor the decision to have it poured in China has any impact on the Arkansas operation, where grills are finished, packed and shipped.

“Our presence here in Arkansas is going to continue and continue to grow,” Moody said. “It’s a vibrant, growing Arkansas business, and I bristle when this question of manufacturing comes up. We make manufacturing decisions every time a new product comes out.”

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