Monday, 30 August 2010

The X-Grill Barbeque


Also branded as the Hotspot Notebook Portable BBQ, this has to be one of the most versatile pieces of charcoal fuelled outdoor cooking equipment I've ever come across. Lightweight and compact, it's a must have for camping and picnicking. I first saw one when we were camping with family and friends in Gloucestershire and decided to get one for a camping weekend in the Cotswolds. It folds up flat so it's easy to pack and has carry handles. The design is simple and it works.

With any charcoal barbeque I look for a couple of key features; adjustability in cooking temperature, air supply for the cooking fuel, and easy refuelling when cooking.

With any charcoal barbeque, varying cooking temperature is best achieved by concentrating the coals in one area so food or cookware can be moved around to areas of lower or higher temperature. For refuelling, I keep one end open so I can place extra coal on the fire using tongs.

Our first meal on the X-Grill was slow cooked pork with paprika cooked in a paella pan. The fire was kept to one end and I slid the grill rack to the side a bit to get better access to the fire. After the meal was finished, I closed up the open end, removed the grill rack and we used the X-Grill as a brazier for an open fire for the evening.

All in all, this is one of the best camping accessories I've bought. The only trade off is lightweight vs robust. It won't last forever like our trusty 'Go Anywhere Weber' so expect it to last only a couple of summers, but it makes up for it in every other way. So, my scores from 1-5 are:

Value for money - 5
Flexibility -5
Portability - 5
Longevity - 2

I've also discovered a larger stainless steel version at £35 which may well come up with a perfect score.

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