Kitchen cobbgrill

Published on June 9th, 2011 | by Greg


Grills For Indoors And Out

It’s the start of prime grilling season and we’ve been out trying out our BBQ skills. After all, you need some time to break in your grill (and recipes) before the Fourth of July and the likely Independence Day potlucks and picnics. It’s great to roast your steaks outdoors, but isn’t always possible- we’ve had some nasty weather recently so have used the occasion to also try out some indoor options. You can’t quite expect the same outcome- the temperatures and even the methods are a little different. But we have two options today to fit most any basic grilling need.

Let’s start with the Cobb Premier Portable Grill/Smoker (and the fenced roasting rack accessory). This is a pretty unique item, featuring a nifty construction- it’s not very large, but comes with it’s own carrying bag and is super-simple to setup. It also looks great, cleans up easily, and can cook for a couple of hours on a few charcoal briquettes. Reaching temperatures of up to 450 degrees, this isn’t the best grill for reaching searing temperatures, but does have the bonus of working well as a smoker. They claim that the base stays cool to the touch, and we agree- it seemed safe enough to use. And light wind wasn’t a big issue. At the end of our cookout- during which we fit a couple of steaks and some veggies inside, or about four hamburgers, or a small chicken- we were able to pack it all up.

The Cobb is totally dishwasher safe and though there were several parts, it disassembles and reassembles easily. At 9 pounds, it seemed a bit too heavy for backpacking, but perhaps a bit limiting for car camping. It also takes quite a while, of course, considering the lower temperatures. But the upside is that you can set it and walk away- leave it and come back a while later and your meat or veggies should be nicely done with plenty of flexibility. We found that it takes some testing to figure out exactly how to place and setup your food for cooking, and that it doesn’t work very well in colder temperatures. But for $142 or so, available widely online, it’s a good deal and a lovely and solid portable charcoal grill.

The Zojirushi Indoor Electric Grill is a bit different. For starters, you’ll need an outlet- and to inside. The maximum temperature is even lower- about 400 degrees. But the included drip pan and angled non-stick surface mean that cleanup is the easiest of any grill. It heats up fast, and is extremely adjustable, and best of all doesn’t create any lingering smoke or odors. Handles and the base stay fairly cool, so it can sit on a table safely. And the cooking surface is plenty big- not gigantic, but bigger than the Cobb. We like Zojirushi products, such as their excellent water boilers for tea and coffee, but hadn’t thought of them as a more general appliance maker, so were excited by this addition to their line.

We weren’t surprised by the build quality or consistent heat, but were a bit disappointed in the results for thicker steaks- the searing that we appreciate so much just wasn’t quite possible. But vegetables and fish all came out great, along with thinner slices of meats. Some competitors offer reversible surfaces- flat or griddle-like on one side- and we would’ve liked this option. Also, a cover would’ve been great- it definitely would’ve helped us reach higher temperatures or cook things a bit faster. We recommend sticking to wooden implements, as we did notice a scratch from one of our metal spatulas. But it’s a great deal at $70, and Zojirushi has, erm, cooked up a fantastic indoor grill.

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About the Author

Greg dreamed up the idea for the Truly Network while living in Hawaii, which began with a single site called TrulyObscure. In 2010, when advertisers and readers were requesting coverage beyond the scope of that site, TrulyNet was launched, reaching a broader audience over a variety of niche sites. Formerly the head technology correspondent for the Des Moines Register at age 16, he has since lived and worked in five states and two countries, helping a list of organizations and companies that includes the United States Census Bureau, TripAdvisor, Events Photo Group, Berlitz, and Computer Geeks. He also served as the Content Strategy Manager for HearPlanet, a multi-platform app that has reached over a million users and has been featured in the New York Times, Hemispheres Magazine, National Geographic Adventure, Fox Business News, PC Magazine, and even Appleā€™s own iPhone ads. Greg has written as a restaurant critic and feature journalist for a number of national and international publications, including City Weekend Magazine, Red Egg Magazine, the Newton Daily News, Capital Change Magazine, and an arm of China Daily, Beijing Weekend. In addition, he has served as a consulting editor for the Foreign Language Press of Beijing, as well as a writer and editor for the George Washington University Hatchet, the school newspaper of his alma mater. Originally from Iowa, Greg is currently living in the West Village of Manhattan.

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