Monday, August 18, 2014

Product Review: Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman Grill - The Zen of the Grill

...the first of many many steaks, hamburgers, chicken quarters & hot dogs...
I nearly forgot. Over two years ago, I was so happy with a new acquisition, I made a video of it's first "unboxing" if you will.  Earned a gift certificate for Bass Pro Shops, enabling me to pull the trigger on a Lodge Cast Iron "Sportsman" Hibachi Grill, something I'd always lusted for but never thought I'd ever buy... just way too extravagant for the likes of me.

Patience (which I sometimes lack) is necessary,
along with some bricks...
Since then, two summers have gone by, the little grill is every bit as good as you'd expect a Lodge Cast Iron product to be, and as a product subject for review, I can't think of any better.

Now that the grill had a good bit is tasteful scrutiny, I can say I'm very impressed with it, it's worth every penny of it's price tag, but I will add... you have to be a dedicated grill master to really allow this cast iron wonder to strut it's stuff.  I've learned you must have patience. In this hurry-up world of "dinner-in-an-instant", learn to be patient and let the coals heat up the grill... the cast iron is THICK, it takes a bit of TIME for the grill to heat up.
But once it does... OH MY!

The biggest surprise I've had is the small amount of coals necessary to grill for a crowd, and once everything is cooking HOW LONG this grill stays HOT. For it's size, you can feed everyone, you can grill twice as long as you'd expect from other portable grills. What it lacks in grill space, the Sportsman Grill more than makes up in ability to grill steak, after steak, after steak, 'dozens of hotdogs, a flock of chicken... all on a single small bag of charcoal. The grill is perfect for "Cook to Order Grilling", no "come & get it" heaping pile of meat here, it's a grill that allows a personalized one or two at a time grilling experience.  This grill really shines if you wish to have a really hot grill, ready to cook, for a long period of time.

The Grill gets HOT! Smart idea to set it on something.
What also sets this grill apart from the thundering herd of outdoor grills & cookers, is the need to plan where you will be grilling. As most grills go, this one puts out a LOT of heat, and being a short, squat, Hibachi grill, the potential of it becoming a branding iron to wooden picnic tables or truck tailgates is there. If you don't have something sacrificial under it, you will leave a mark to remember the occasion. I just use some small bricks to set it on.

Room for two REALLY large steaks!
Finally, a stiff wire brush and an application of vegetable oil goes a long way. The Lodge Grill comes pre-seasoned, however with cast iron having an affinity to rust, especially if exposed outside for an extended period, it's wise to always take a stiff wire brush to the grill to knock off any "leaven's", and add a very light coat of vegetable oil to the grill surface while it's still hot. This adds a moisture barrier, and further builds up a patina of carbon each time you fire up the grill. If you're like me, living in the hot humid south, it might do even better bringing the cleaned up grill inside out of the elements. Not that rust is that big of a problem mind you.... most often just a pass with a stiff wire brush is enough before you fire up.

I'm very happy with my Lodge Sportsman Grill, it's taught me patience, which REALLY has improved my grilling!
Holding hungry crowds at bay wasn't easy...

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