Welcome to The MH Wish List, where Men's Health editors highlight the coolest gear they’ve tested this year that make for the perfect gift this holiday season. If you’re looking for the latest and greatest tech, home, and fitness goods, we’ve got you covered for everyone on your list. This week, Executive Editor Ben Court fires up the Solo Stove Ultimate Grill.
What makes this a great gift: At $550 for the bundle (with the
grill, cover, two stands, tools, charcoal, and starters), it's a luxury item most guys wouldn't fork out for themselves.
Gift this to: Any outdoorsmen who loves to grill.
As a longtime Weber Kettle charcoal grill guy who has successfully cooked everything from juicy burgers and chunky chops to moist beer-can chicken and flaky salmon, I felt a little guilty when I unpacked the shinier, sleeker, Solo Stove Grill. I’d opted for the tall stand, and after reading the instructions (and re-reading a couple of times because I’m the opposite of handy), soon had the 38.5-pound pound grill on its stable 28-inch tall perch.
First impressions: It’s feels more solid and looks more modern than my trusted Weber. That’s partly because it’s made from double-walled cold-rolled stainless steel (that process increases the overall strength and the creation of very precise shapes versus using hot-rolled steel.) And it’s so shiny and those air-flow holes drilled around the perimeter make it look like a silver UFO.
As aesthetically pleasing as it looks, I was keen to fire it up and grill some dinner. The air-flow holes are designed to create a convection effect that circulates hot air, cutting your grilling time dramatically. I emptied a bag of charcoal, dropped in four starters, and then lit it up. About 15 minutes later the briquets were so hot, I couldn’t hold my palm over them. I moved some briquets over to create an indirect cooking zone and then popped the 22-inch grate on and closed the lid for about five minutes.
Then I placed on two thick ribeyes. Normally I’d do three-minutes per side on the direct heat and then another four-minutes per side indirect. I hooked the lid on the side (it has an interior hook just like the Weber), and when I came to do the first turn, I could tell the temperature was hotter than what I was used to, hitting 655-degrees on my Meater+ thermometer. I reduced the time by about 1 minute per phase and closed the top vent a little to slow the burn. Over-cooked crisis averted, the ribeyes turned out great with a nice sear and juicy center.
Clean up the next day was straightforward, thanks to the removable ash pan. I’m excited to grill more and learn to cook better with the kind of heat the Solo Grill generates. Many friends, who have Solo Stoves, are intrigued, too. But before you think about grilling on a Solo Stove, be aware that they can kick out temperature close to 1,000-degrees Fahrenheit, and so your steak will get incinerated.
I did try using my grill as a fire pit with standard fire wood, even though Solo don’t recommend doing so. It worked out great, although you need to factor in about 30-minute starter times for it to get to a smoke-free burn, much longer than the Solo Stove Fire Pit.
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