I’ve been grilling for over 15 years. I feel that I have become somewhat of an expert when it comes to open flames. OK, I’m not a fireman, but I play one in my back yard.
I’ve had the small hibachi grills. I’ve had a couple of different types of gas grills. I’ve cooked over small camping stoves. I’ve cooked trout over wood fires, with nothing but aluminum foil, garlic, lemon and salt. But when it comes to doing my first review, I wanted to start with the basic need in a man, “Cooking over charcoals on an open flame.” What better way to write the first “Dad” post in the “Garage” section of The Village of Moms.
We received our barrel style, smoke-stack Char-grill in a box the other day from hayneedle.com. Finally, something for dad! We have been without a grill for almost a year, and I was going crazy thinking about all of that time spent not cooking on the patio. I wanted to go the charcoal route simply for the smell and taste of it.
Make sure you put aside an afternoon to set up this grill. This is needed not only to assemble but also to cure the grill with oil. I need a grill cover but do not have one, so I want to make sure I protect this grill so it lasts to a ripe, old age.
I spread out 4 to 5 old moving boxes (so as not to scratch the tempered steel). The instructions say that you need 2 people to put the thing together, so I grabbed my 3 year old son, a 7/16 socket wrench, a flat-head, a pair of pliers and an old rag. My son was a huge help. It would’ve taken about one and a half hours to put the thing together without him. But, with his help, I was fortunate enough to speed the process up to about 4 hours.
I went ahead and waited until the next day to cure the grill. I took my time in the curing process, as I wanted to do it right the first time. I used vegetable oil to cure the inside and out, and all of the grill surfaces. I used olive oil on the wood portions. My son did his best to drink all of my soda. I started a fire with wood, and charcoal, and newspapers, and cardboard…, and gasoline (OK, it was so windy that I couldn’t get the thing started). I suggest buying one of the charcoal chimney starters to get the coals going. I let it cook at around 200 degrees for about one hour, and 250-300 degrees for a couple more hours.
I cooked chicken on the grill the second day, went right to burgers a couple days later and then a sirloin on the fourth day. I used the greatest salt rub in the world. You’ll find out more about that item on one of my future posts. Just a little hint: It’s tri-tip seasoning (great, my mouth just started watering).
Though I can’t wait to try one out, I didn’t go with the side smoker quite yet. I figure that I’ll master this thing first then move to the smoker. (I heard you can smoke a huge Thanksgiving turkey in it. Can’t wait.)
My favorite thing about this grill: It’s got a smoke stack!