Now that you’ve mastered the grilled burger, a new breed of outdoor cookers is making it easier to elevate your backyard culinary game beyond the basics. From Ooni’s pizza oven to Weber’s pellet option, here are a few of the best new grills to check out this season.
Camp Chef Portable Flat Top Grill 600
Don’t let the portability fool you—there’s no sacrifice in power with this griddle. Under the massive 604 square inch, pre-seasoned steel surface are four burners cranking out 48,000 BTUs, with enough room to handle about 26 patties in the smash-burger style. The 100-pound griddle’s legs fold in to save space in storage and are fitted with levelers to steady things on uneven ground while the recessed folding side tables prevent things from being easily knocked off. The versatility of a griddle is hard to beat: You can make pancakes on it, simmer a pan sauce on it, or crank it to put a sear on quick-cooking steaks.
[$440; campchef.com]Get it
Weber SmokeFire EX6 Wood Fired Pellet Grill
The knock against pellet cookers is they often can’t reach the high heat needed to sear, but the SmokeFire gets close to 600 degrees and will certainly leave pleasing marks on steaks. The 648 square inches of cooking area (with another 360 square inches using a warming rack) smokes a lot of food: think a pork butt, brisket, and chicken at the same time. You can adjust the cooking temperate as easily as an indoor oven, using a click wheel, and the side table’s built-in LCD screen has inputs for four probes to track meat. Billed as a smart cooker that relies on tethering to your WiFi network, the app can be a helping hand for newbies with recipes and step-by-step photos that are easy to follow.
[$1,200; weber.com]Get it
Ooni Karu Wood and Charcoal-Fired Portable Pizza Oven
This portable, 26.5-pound oven put a great char on our pizzas, after some practice. The Karu is easy to set up and use, though starting the fire can be tricky—we had to split oak into short 6-inch lengths to get it inside the firebox using tongs. With the right dough recipe and some practice stretching the pies, the oven will consistently crank out 12-inch pies in about a minute, cooking at about 930 degrees. Though the space inside is tight, you can adjust the heat using the chimney’s baffle and cook other dishes like a steak sitting in a cast iron pan.
[$330; ooni.com]Get it
Otto Wilde The Otto Grill
Under the hood of this cooker are two independent infrared heating elements that reach over 1,500 degrees when we tested with an infrared thermometer. That power cooks steaks, even thick ones, quickly in a process the resembles the salamander broiler you’d find in a steak house. A lever on the side makes it easy to load and unload steaks and back up off the heat if things are cooking too quickly. While it does a nice job on burgers because it cooks from above, there are no grill marks.
[$1,195; ottogrills.com]Get it
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