<DISCLAIMER> This is a machine, not an appliance. To use this grill effectively will require experience, or practice if you are new to charcoal grills. You can "set it and forget it" once you know what you are doing. </DISCLAIMER>
I didn't want a charcoal grill. I wanted a quick and easy gas grill I could flip on and in five minutes start grilling chicken. However, I was not willing to spend more money on a grill that would wear out after two or three years of regular use. The gas grills with the build quality I wanted were in the $500 and up price category and I didn't have the funds.
What brought this grill to my attention was everyone who actually enjoyed grilling either uses this grill (or version of it) or has this grill in the grill stable. I read about how just by changing the amount and arrangement of the coals you could sear a dozen steaks at the same time or slow smoke a turkey in 5 hours. This has turned out to be true. For once you can believe the hype about something.
I've done everything but smoke a turkey on this thing, and I've already started making plans for that. I recently cooked an entire dinner for 5 people on this grill. It was tight when I had four large steaks, ten potato halves, and a pound of asparagus spread out on the grates, but I made it work and everyone was impressed with the quality and flavor. Even The Wife was impressed! I baked the potatoes off to the side, then put them right over the coals to give them crispy skins. The steaks were done the same way, each served with a dark brown crusty sear I was never able to create on my old gas grill.
By going charcoal you are substituting propane tanks, lines, knobs, valves, heat shields, and double-level grates for a snug metal kettle and red hot embers. Since a charcoal grill is so simple, the parts that remain need to be high quality or their deficiencies will show up quickly and frustrate the user. This grill is solid but not too heavy. The fit and finish on my grill actually exceeded my expectations. Despite their simple installation, the wheels roll well over grass. The tripod design means the grill never wobbles on uneven terrain, which is a big deal when you are taking the lid off and on over the course of cooking. The thermometer on my grill's lid seems to be off by only 20 °F (though I've heard horror stories of some being off by as much as 50). The one-touch ash removal system is a pretty big deal, allowing me to keep the air inlet clear of ash and allowing me to precisely adjust the temperature without the need for mitts. The Gold level keeps the ashes contained in a handy pan. My experience with the Silver was that ashes could fly over everyone and everything as temperature adjustments were made since the slightest wind would liberate them from the catch tray. In my experience, it's the Gold level or keep saving up to get the Gold since the Silver level just makes an ashy mess. Also, the Gold level comes with a grate that has hinges on the ends to allow you to add more coals or smoking wood to the fire without disturbing your food. The Silver doesn't have this feature and the cost of this upgrade halves the price distance between the two.
- Highly wind-resistance ash collection and cleaning
- Hinge grates make smoking and adding coals very simple
- Light enough to move, heavy enough to resists windy gusts
- Can fit enough food for five adults on the grates
- Compact, most most grilling surface for the space on your deck
- Chimney lighter, use as a measuring cup for the coals so you can hit the same temperature each time and reduce start up time significantly
- Welding glove, more dexterity than an oven mitt and needed to handle the chimney once the coals are all lit
- Long metal tongs, to manipulate coals under the grate
Easy to Assemble, Sturdy, Durable, Easy to Clean, Large Cooking Space, Superior Craftsmanship