The folks at Fire and Flavor sent me one of their portable charcoal grills, the HERO Grill, to try out. Even though they gave me the grill, all of the opinions are mine.
What is the HERO Grill?
The HERO Grill is a portable charcoal grill that's perfect for a picnic, a quick campout, or a tailgate party without all the messiness that normally comes with charcoal grilling. It's small, lightweight, and comes in its own waterproof carrying case.
Inside the case, you'll find the grill, a charcoal pod that's sealed in a waterproof plastic bag, a bamboo cutting board, a bamboo spatula, and even a meat thermometer.
The thermometer slides into the grill so that you'll know when it reaches grilling temperature. You can then take it out and use it to check the doneness of your meat.
What's the Size of the HERO Grill?
The portable charcoal grill with folding legs is about the size of my laptop, about 13″ x 9″. It'll hold 6 burgers, 12 hot dogs, 8 wings, or 6 kabobs.
The case is large enough to hold everything–the grill, the charcoal pod, and the cutting board and spatula, but it weighs less than 10 lbs.
How the HERO Grill Works
The HERO Grill uses a charcoal pod that is environmentally friendly and low emission. The pod basically is a cardboard box with a lid. Inside the box is an insulating tray made out of perlite. The charcoal sits inside the tray.
Take the lid off the box, light the charcoal (no lighter fluid needed), and slide it into the slot under the grill. It only takes about 10 minutes to heat up.
The tabletop charcoal grill will stay hot for about an hour. While you're cooking, the charcoal pod collects all the drippings from your food without flaming up.
When you're finished grilling, you can pour water over it to put it out or just let it burn out by itself.
After the charcoal has cooled, you just put the lid back on the biodegradable charcoal pod and dispose of it. The pods can even be composted.
The grill can be washed in a dishwasher when you get home.
My Experience with the HERO Grill
The HERO Grill is awesome! I thought it might be a bit difficult to use, but it wasn't. To set it up, all you do is unfold the legs. ?
I kept the vacuum-sealed bag that holds the charcoal pod after I opened it so that I could put the pod back in it to discard it. But you really don't have to do that.
You can put the pod directly in the carrying case. After you throw it away, you can wipe out any mess with a wet cloth.
The pod slides onto a little ledge under the grill. Make sure you slide it part of the way under there before you light the charcoal.
After you light it, make sure that the pod is centered under the grill. I pushed mine in a bit too far, so there was a little less heat on the front side.
I realized this when I saw that grease was dripping off the grill down the side of the charcoal pod. I saw that my pod wasn't centered.
With the thermometer inserted into the side of the grill, you'll know when your grill reaches the right cooking temperature.
One thing I noticed is that when it got to about 300 degrees, it didn't take long to get to 400 degrees, so be ready to put your food on.
I decided to grill burgers. The instructions say it will hold 6 of them. My hamburger press is a bit on the big side, so while all the hamburgers fit on it, they went right to the edge.
To resolve this, when I flipped the burgers, I put the ones that were on the end in the middle. Next time, I'll use a smaller hamburger press or make the patties by hand.
How to Clean HERO Grill
When Fire and Flavor asked me to review it, I was a bit hesitant. Charcoal grilled food is awesome, but I do not like the mess.
Pouring the charcoal out of the bag is messy, getting rid of the ashes is messy, and don't even get me started on having to clean up the grill grate.
Boy, was I surprised by how NOT messy it is to use the HERO Grill!
All I did was wipe down the grill with a couple of paper towels then put it in the dishwasher. I was skeptical about whether or not it would come out clean, but it did! No scrubbing or scraping required.
Where to Use the Grill
The HERO Grill is designed to be used just about anywhere that you have a non-combustible surface like a picnic table, a hard cooler, a boat dock, a truck tailgate, or a sandy beach.
I think it would be ideal for a last minute outdoor adventure like a picnic, a day at the river, or a quick overnight camping trip.
Football season has changed a bit this year, but the folks who make the HERO Grill are “Bound and Determined to Tailgate!” It might have to be with just a few friends, but don't forget to spend time outdoors this fall.
Cub Scout Adventures Using a Portable Grill
Webelos Required Adventure Cast Iron Chef 2. Prepare a balanced meal for your den or family. If possible, use one of these methods for preparation of part of the meal: camp stove, Dutch oven, box oven, solar oven, open campfire, or charcoal grill. Demonstrate an understanding of food safety practices while preparing the meal.
Webelos & Arrow of Light Elective Adventure Castaway 1A. On a campout or outdoor activity with your den or family, cook two different recipes that do not require pots and pans.
Bear Elective Adventure Bear Picnic Basket 5. With the help of an adult, select a recipe to prepare in the outdoors for your family or den. Help to select the needed ingredients, perhaps from a garden, grocery store, or farmers’ market. Cook and serve your planned meal. Clean up after the preparation and cooking.
If you're looking for a small portable charcoal grill, this is the one you need!
Yours in Scouting,