This Weeknight-Friendly Charcoal Grill Heats Up in Record Time
I didn't think I needed a new grill. When it comes to cooking out, I'm committed to the old-school ways of doing things—the delicious flavor imparted from cooking over wood coals is the whole reason I love grilling. (For more on that, see The Food & Wine Guide to Cooking with Wood.) But then I learned about the Spark One grill, a new-age charcoal-and-electric grill that promised the convenience and ease of turning a knob and, just minutes later, cooking outside over preheated charcoal. Intrigued, I knew I had to give it a try.
Spark Grills founder Ben West used to design fuel-efficient cookstoves for developing economies, and that work informed this grill's technology. In this case, a proprietary charcoal "Briq" delivers the same convenience of a typical gas grill, but with more flavor. With a price tag comparable to a high-end gas or kamado-style grill, Spark differentiates itself with its high-level ease and precise temperature control—one turn of the knob ignites the grill, while another sets the temperature. Eight months later, I can safely say that the Spark hasn't gone out, and while it hasn't replaced my trusty kettle grill (nor do I expect it to), it's just the ticket on busy weeknights. Get it: from $899, sparkgrills.com
A low 1.4-amp electrical draw (also available as a cordless battery pack) powers the ignition, and a fan controls the oxygen flow to the charcoal.
One turn of theknob lights the grill; a second sets the temperature. A light changes from orange to white to indicate the grill is preheated and ready to cook.
An intuitive app and gold-star customer service help novices get comfortable with cooking outdoors and allow pro grillers to customize their cooking experience.
Clean, understated design blends into any patio decor, with four colors to choose from.
Proprietary quick-light charcoal Briqs fit into a removable perforated cast-iron pan for easy loading and no-mess ash disposal. Briqs currently come in three temperature ranges that last from 30 minutes to 8 hours to customize the grilling session. From $30 for 6 at sparkgrills.com