The Bottom Line
Kuma Stoves have been burning wood pellets for a very long time, and after a long time in development, they have released their version of the pellet grill. The Kuma Platinum SE (formerly known under the Madera name) is a high-end, high-quality pellet grill. Using the standard controller and possessing many of the features of its competitors there isn't much that stands out. The movable barrier that makes way for direct grilling is nice and certainly adds versatility, and when lined up with other similarly priced (around $1,800USD) pellet grills, this model is a good value.
- High temperature searing capacity
- Solid construction
- Precise temperature control
- Large capacity pellet hopper
- Pellet hopper can be emptied quickly and easily
- Limited temperature range in normal cooking configuration
- 430 square inches of primary cooking area with up to 1000 square inches total cooking space
- 180 to 480 degree F/82 to 250 degrees C temperature range
- Direct grill capability at temperatures up to 600 degrees F/315 degrees C
- 18-pound capacity rear mounted pellet hopper with quick empty trap door
- Stainless steel rod cooking grates
- Precision control panel with temperature probe
- Powder coated steel and stainless steel construction
- Double layer stainless steel cooking chamber
- Made in the USA by Kuma Stoves
Guide Review - Kuma Platinum SE Pellet Grill
Don't get me wrong. There is nothing really wrong with this pellet grill. For those who want the pellet experience, this is a great choice.
The construction is very good, particularly the double lined stainless steel cooking chamber. The barrier, that metal plate that sits between the fire and the food, can be moved out of the way making direct fire grilling possible. In this configuration, the cooking temperature jumps to around 600 degrees F.
This is a great feature and something that makes the Kuma more than a typical pellet grill.
The problem with many pellet grills has always been their inability to produce the kind of high-temperature grilling that people expect for the simple things like burgers and chops. While pellet grills do produce smoke and can be excellent smokers, this lack of searing capacity has been seen by many as a major limitation. Other pellet grills, of course, offer some variation of the direct fire grilling area and the Kuma handles it very well while still retaining the low and slow barbecue temperature ranges. While certainly a nice feature, this is really something that most people expect from a grill and should be standard, not special.
Pellet grills are mechanical and the configuration of this one is well thought out. The pellet hopper sits in the back and can be easily accessed and emptied (either to change pellet flavors or simply to store pellets in a more airtight container). The auger, which pulls the pellets from the hopper to fall into the firepot is well placed and the flow of pellets works well and shouldn't create problems. Some pellet grills have a tendency to jam, but this design is simple and efficient and shouldn't have that issue.
Overall, this is an excellent pellet grill and at around $1,800USD it is well priced.If you are in the market for a high-end pellet grill and this is the one you find, don't hesitate to buy it. The company behind the Kuma grill is reputable and trustworthy. The design and construction of this model is excellent and it should last and work well for many years.