Backyard Classic Pro Charcoal/Wood Grill
I was in real need of a charcoal burning grill. The one I have been using was about 15 years old and I was tired of repairing it. I saw this grill at Sam's and bought it for $199.95 because it had a feature I wanted in a new grill. I wanted the ability to be able to raise and lower the fire so I didn't burn my food. Well, this grill has two chambers that you can raise and lower independently of each other. It has cast iron grates that I also wanted. Also it is built fairly rugged.
This is a grill and not a smoker. Well, you could use it as a smoker but I don't think it would work well. I will have to try smoking something like ribs on it to see what happens. But something like this is made for grilling hamburgers, brats, hot dog and cooking steaks.
7-02-09 Today I seasoned the grill. I removed the grates as I will season the grates tomorrow. I then cleaned out the interior of the grill and coated it with vegetable cooking oil. I built what I thought was a small fire using one charcoal chimney load. It turned out that this is too much if you want the temperature to be around 250 degrees. So I had to take some of the charcoal out. I let it cook for three hours at 250 and then opened up the air vents to get it up to 375 for another hour. Then I let is cool off. I was surprised that it held it temperature for the three hours.
7-3-09 It was time to season the cast iron grates today for the first time. I know that from time to time it will be necessary to season the cast iron grates again. So here is what I did. I scrubbed the grates with hot soapy water to remove any protective coating the manufacture put on them. Who knows what they used to keep the grates from rusting but I sure as the hell did not want any of this grease on my food when I cooked. After cleaning I dried the grates with paper towels and then coated them with melted Crisco. In the mean time I had put a small amount of lit charcoal and a couple of chunks of apple wood in the fire pan. So after the coating of Crisco on the grates I put the grates back in closed the grill up and let everything cook for a couple of hours. The temperature went up to about 350 degrees and stayed there during the seasoning of the grates.
7-4-09 So, as you can see on the 4th. of July, there is the grill, with a dozen hamburgers, five brats and the pan had three pounds of beans in it. You can see in the picture the grill could have easily held twice as much food. It almost looks empty. Well, the grill preformed flawlessly. At this point I can say I am very happy with this purchase. There are a couple of other things I want to point out to you about this grill. If you look at the small picture on the right side you can clearly see a "J" shaped thing. That is a very fictional hook that allows you to grab hold of one of those grates and lift it out of the grill, it really works well. I would pay $20 bucks for one of those hooks if it had not come with the grill.
One bad thing about this grill. When I bought it at Sam's, it was already put together. So I did not see it in the box. The instruction manual say's for parts and returns contact Rankam VDG Industries in Golden Valley, MN. After getting it home I found that that company's main office is in Hong Kong. I was not happy. But I found it was built so well I decided to keep it. It was big and heavy it took me and my son to load it on his truck. Nowhere on the manual does it say anything about the country of origin. I always try to buy American but it is getting harder to find what you want and can afford.
Also because of the large size of this grill I am having a bit of trouble finding a cover for it. I need a cover that is 30 inches deep to fit this cooker. I can't find one in stores but did find one on amazon.com that cost $53 but it takes 3 to 6 weeks to get one. So I have had to cover it with a blue plastic trap until I can get a cover that fits.
Update on the grill cover. This thing is a great grill cover. It should last several years even in the winters of Kansas which like last year can yield a lot of snow and very cold temperatures. The grill cover come through this last winter and looks almost new. I was so impressed with the quality of this one and bought another one from the same manufacture for the Weber Smoky Mountain smoker. Her is the amazon.com link to the cover I bought for this grill. I bought the XXL and it fits fine. The XL would have been too small.