Semi-custom. It's a Klose "Open Face Steak Grill" aka "Fajita Grill" optioned out with a "swingset," a "big wheel," and large casters. It was also supposed to have a nipple so I could insert the throat of a smoker box and use it as a cold smoker, but Klose screwed up and forgot it. Took them awhile to figure out how they'd make that little slip-up right -- shipping a 400 lb grill 2000 miles for $5 worth of work is not an option. They decided to send me a diamond drill bit so I could drill the hole and mount the nipple myself, but forgot to do that. It's supposedly in today's mail.
Oh well, everyone screws up sometimes. One way or the other we'll make that little thing right.
More importantly, it's by far the best grill I ever used, it completely suits my style of cooking and gives me the freedom to do things exactly the way I want.
You mean the expanded metal cooking grate? I'm all in favor of immaculate grates because they leave a really crisp tattoo. Even so, because the grill is always generously oiled before cooking, it's usually enough to hit it with a brush when the grate's hot -- before AND after cooking. If things get crusty, I'm not above using a chemical grill cleaner and a steamer. I start mild and go up to Easy Off as a last resort.
Not the world's greatest picture for perspective and detail. Those things on top which look as though they either be vents with swing lids or weird stuff in the garden are vents. The weird shadow on the side is cast by the swing set's wheel.
Hood up, grate lowered all the way down:
That hole on the right side of the lid is one of the vents. The lids swing open when the hood is raised. There's another on the left which seems to have stayed closed.
Hood up, grate partially raised:
Oak logs or a combination of oak logs and mesquite, lump charcoal. Oak is very California. It takes a skosh less than an hour to get fireplace sized oak logs down to coals. Adding charcoal to the fire makes it burn hotter and get down to coals sooner. Two logs and a couple of large pieces of charcoal (I use commercial mesquite, so there are some BIG pieces) is a minimum fire. A fire that small (which isn't small at all compared to a fire you'd build on a 22" Weber) gives you just under an hour cooking time -- not very long.
Because there's so much room between the charcoal grate and the cooking grate even at its lowest height, it takes a decent fire to get cooking temps. Consequently, we're going through fuel at a fair clip. That's the cost of size, but size is what it takes to control a real wood fire. Almost no matter how large the fire, the swing set will let you get the grate high enough above it to do useful cooking.
From a culinary standpoint, wood is to hardwood lump as lump is to briquettes. Hardwood lump is too briquettes as briquettes are to gas. And gas ain't $#!+. Wood is where it's at, everything else is something else. Spoiled? Me? Surely not.
I get that a lot.
Edited by boar_d_laze - 7/15/11 at 1:40pm