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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 Apple’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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