First, a confession: I’ve been using a gas grill for quite a while. I think the switch from a charcoal grill came some time shortly after I had kids, and the entire “let’s throw something on the grill for dinner” thing had to get easier.
And gas grills do rule for that. I can grill up a hot dog or burger quickly and easily, and my Weber gas grill is still going strong after more than a decade of abuse with only the occasional replacement part (grates once, “flavor bars” once, an updated propane attachment) needed.
But my kids are older now and don’t need to be monitored constantly and, more important, my son is now old enough to begin to learn the tradition of grilling that every man wants to pass on to his boy. And I’m talking grilling old school: with charcoal.
don’t currently have a Weber charcoal grill (drag) I did recently receive a Bodum Fyrkat (yes, it’s spelled like an 80′s hair band) for review recently, and it provided a great opportunity to come home to charcoal.
The Fyrkat, is a small, portable grill that can be carried with you to a picnic or set up easily on a deck, so in that sense it’s like a hibachi. But, as you can see from the photos, it’s a kettle grill design, much like a Weber.
To further set the thing apart and make it attractive to fans of family cookouts, Bodum added three little clips that are set around the perimeter of the grill that hold the top in place and allow you to tote the whole thing around by the top handle. Load the grill with charcoal at home, clip the top on, and carry the whole thing to your car, or the beach, or the Teletubbies set (c’mon, look at the thing).
But looks don’t matter much once you fire it up, because the Fyrkat is great. One of the big downsides of a Weber is that if you aren’t cooking a large quantity of meats, it seems like a waste of charcoal to fire the thing up. Not that I’m complaining, because Webers kick ass, but sometimes you want something a little less humongous.
Which, of course, used to mean a hibachi. The problems with those, though, is that you have to pass up the benefits of a kettle grill, they can be a pretty messy in transit, and carrying them by the two handles somehow always reminded me of Caine getting his forearms burned in the opening credits of the old TV series Kung Fu (something about holding your arms out and hot coals I guess).
But this thing solves all of those problems. It’s small enough that you don’t need to use a tremendous amount of charcoal, but big enough to cook food for my whole family. And, of course, it makes it dead simple to head out and have a cookout in the Everglades while we tease ‘gators with sticks.
And it works just dandy. There’s plenty of airflow from the bottom, and a simple twist of the handle up top opens and closes the top vent. Plus, the small enclosed space makes for a great infusion of smoke, so if you like a charcoal-smokey burger, you’ll love this little guy.
I grilled up five gigantic burgers yesterday with no problems at all, and now I’m jonesing for another weber kettle; apparently I missed charcoal more than I thought.
The only downside I can think of is that with a hibachi you can get cast iron grates, while this fellow comes with a traditional wire one. But that’s no big deal, and overall it’s a great little grill. It’s small enough to justify using it for only a couple of people, but big enough for four or five. Burgers, steaks, dogs of the hot persuasion, and chicken should be no problem.
In the portability department, it’s the best I’ve seen, and it comes in orange, which is my favorite color (it also comes in green, blue, yellow, black, and white for those of you with less taste than me). Of course, if transport is not an issue for you, you might want to save a few bucks and snap up a Weber Smokey Joe Silver, which is a pretty sweet mini kettle itself.
If you’re the kind of person who lugs a hibachi around, or just want to get your mitts on a grill that doesn’t take up much space, you might want to take a look at this bad boy. I recommend it highly.
As for my son, he loved the entire process, from using the lighter fluid to monitoring the coals until they were ready to for grilling. So he recommends it as well, for those of you that are almost 10.