Right at Home: What’s new and notable in outdoor grills
Barbecue season couldn’t be more welcome this year.
Grilling is a way to change things up and expand the menu and the view for those stuck at home because of the coronavirus. ``Eating out” means the patio, yard or balcony, if you have one.
There’s all kinds of stylish and practical barbecue gear available to help.
If your home has a midcentury vibe, you could bring that outdoors too. Heston Blumenthal’s Everdure has a slim, trim, die-cast aluminum body on furniture-style legs, and comes in graphite, sky blue, claret or burnt orange. Features include a Bluetooth app for recipes, cooking tips and grill monitoring, a pizza stone, and vents on top and bottom for even cooking. A touch ignition feature gets the charcoal fired up.
Arteflame’s Corten steel-based pedestal grill also has a modern look. Load the center pit with wood or charcoal, and the surrounding steel cooking ring lets you sear foods at higher or lower temps, depending on positioning. Pop the ring off to turn the grill into a fire bowl.
Riverbend Home’s small, 14-by-22.5-inch wood or charcoal grill is a nice size for urban patios, and can be used for searing, roasting, grilling or low-temperature smoking. The ceramic exterior is offered in on-trend orange as well as dark gray. The company also has the handy Ooni Koda propane pizza grill, which is ready to go in 15 minutes and cooks pizza in about a minute. You can also use it to roast fish, steak or vegetables.
Serious grill enthusiasts might opt for a kamado-style grill — the word means stove in Japanese — with its distinctive oval shape. With top and bottom vents, these grills have thick ceramic heat-trapping walls that heat up quickly; they work much like convection ovens.
“Almost every kamado grill manufacturer recommends using lump charcoal over charcoal briquettes. In our experience, briquettes may cost less, but lump charcoal is better suited for a kamado grill. It can reach higher temperatures and it tends to smell better as you cook it, too,” says Lindsay D. Mattison, a chef and food writer in Durango, Colorado.
She warns against using lighter fluid with these grills. “It can absorb into the uncoated ceramics in the firebox, and no one wants their food to taste like fuel.”
Big Green Egg’s got several sizes of ceramic grills, including a 10-inch mini that’s perfect for tailgating or picnics. Several of their Kamado Joe models come with free charcoal; the brand features an airlift hinge that reduces the lid weight, making it easier to open and close.
There’s also a hybrid Kamado model, available at Williams-Sonoma, that takes either charcoal or gas. Its white exterior makes it look a little like R2D2.
And Monolith has added Alexa capabilities to their version; share your recipes with others on the app, set temps and monitor the cooking process via voice control. Blaze’s version is made of heavy-gauge aluminum, so you can use charcoal, briquettes and lighter fluid. The 20-inch model is big enough to fit about a 15-pound turkey.
The stretch limo of grills would be Hestan’s 55-inch model, which has over 650 square inches of cooking surface, a bunch of burners, built-in ceramic infrared rotisserie, and motion-activated under-hood halogen lighting. It comes in colors like purple, burgundy, white, and light and deep blues. It comes in fashionable colors like purple, burgundy and white, so you can bring some stylish sear to your social distancing.