Fire Up the Bar­be­cue

With this smoke­less char­coal grill, you can have a bar­be­cue feast on your din­ing ta­ble in mere min­utes. LIM TSIAO HUI tries it out.

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Smartshopper New -

THE GRILL

The least en­joy­able part of any bar­be­cue is try­ing to light stub­born char­coal. But with this caul­dron-like grill, it takes less than five min­utes to get it done. It comes with a builtin bat­tery-op­er­ated fan (each set of four AA bat­ter­ies lasts 40-60 hours of cook­ing) that draws air into it to help the char­coal burn. A twist of the knob turns the fan speed, and the heat, up or down.

You can use it in­doors, but not in air­con­di­tioned rooms. It’s not too heavy to lug out­doors ei­ther – the com­pact model (its grill plate holds eight chicken wings) weighs 4kg and the larger model (holds 12 chicken wings), 6kg. Each comes with an easy-toc-arry zip­pered bag.

SET­TING IT UP

Here’s how it’s done: 1 Pour a ring of ethanol fire lighter gel (avail­able from Home-fix and Takashimaya D.S.) on the light­ing plate and heat it up with a lighter.

It took just three min­utes for the char­coal to light up. My only beef was that the di­rec­tions in the in­struc­tion man­ual were not al­ways ac­cu­rate – I needed more lighter fluid than rec­om­mended and I was sup­posed to switch on the fan only af­ter putting the can of char­coal in place. On my first try, I couldn’t light it for half an hour, and had to call the Lo­tus­grill dis­trib­u­tor for help.

THE COOK­ING

I made the mis­take of turn­ing it on full blast at the start and charred some chicken wings. But when I mod­er­ated it, the other wings turned out crisped on the sides and juicy in­side – the best bar­be­cue wings I’ve ever made!

It also cooked beef pat­ties and bone­less chicken thighs well. Sa­tay was more of a chal­lenge – be­cause the heat was more in­tense around the grill’s cen­tre, the meat at the tips of the sticks was more charred.

There were hardly any ashes or fumes from the burn­ing char­coal, only oc­ca­sional smoky puffs from the fat on the chicken thighs on the cen­tre of the grill pan.

WASH­ING UP

Un­like a bar­be­cue pit where there’s less wash­ing up to do, this gad­get has two parts to clean – the grill plate and the bowl that catches greasy drips from the food. I soaked the bowl in hot wa­ter and dish­wash­ing de­ter­gent for half an hour be­fore scrub­bing out the grease with a dish brush. The grill plate was harder to tackle – I had to scrub along ev­ery grill line to re­move the charred food bits.

Lo­tus­grill, $388 (Com­pact), $588 (XL), from Home-x Ma­rina Square, Robin­sons Or­chard and Takashimaya D.S.

3 Re­place the grill plate and turn on the fan.

2 Fill the can with char­coal and place it over the siz­zling lighter gel.

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