Prior to our last snowfall of the season a shiny black XL Grill Dome kamado-style cooker landed on my patio.
And promptly got dumped on by mother nature.
Once the snow was long gone I was chatting across the fence with my very British neighbor when she glanced to the dark object erected on my patio and she commented, “Looks like a bloody spaceship!” I then took a long look from her vantage point and vision of a black monolith appeared and the soaring notes and pounding drums of Also Sprach Zarathustra from Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey coursed through my brain. Perhaps she was correct-maybe the Grill Dome will provide an out-of-this world experience.
The Grill Dome Smoker Roaster (guess I’m now a Roastin’ Fool like Chef Puck) makes life easy from the beginning starting with the assembly…there is none. This gorgeous Terapex ceramic cooking machine arrives ready-to-grill! This was particularly appealing to this mechanically-challenged Grillin’ Fool. Now let’s take a look at some of the features of this cooker.
The Grill Dome gets high marks for spectacular appearance. It would be a fashionable addition to anyone designing an outdoor kitchen. It is sleek, shiny, and available in five colors of triple-baked enamel finish. Above are black, blue, and red but copper and silver are also available. Absolutely, in my opinion, the sharpest looking grill in the universe.
Adding to the Grill Dome’s pearlescent luster is the use of stellar stainless steel hardware which is standard on the Infinity Series. Check out that fantastic Featherlite auto-hinge—you’ll be able to lift the 80 lb. lid with just a couple of fingers! Here’s another big plus—no rust ever! There is lifetime warranty on the ceramics and also against rust — how cool is that?
Let’s open this grill and see what goes on inside. Notice the thickness of the ceramic? That just may be the thickest on the market providing excellent thermal and fuel efficiency. I’ve been testing (that means playing with) this grill for four months and it has become my go-to model. I have a lot of charcoal briquettes stored in my garage — I buy a large quantity when the big box stores offer half-price sales once or twice a year and at one time accumulated 40+ bags. I’ve noticed since cooking on the Dome using lump charcoal that my overall fuel consumption has decreased dramatically. It is not uncommon to get two or three cooks from one batch of charcoal.
Notice there are two grills in the photo (look behind the dome). What do they have in common? Hmmm…one was built by my departed father-in-law Russ from stainless steel sheets in the Seventies and the other is almost new? One uses briquettes and the other lump charcoal. They do both have stainless steel used in their construction but the big thing they have in common is that they’ll both last forever!
A number of grilling setups are possible with the three grates available for the Grill Dome. The grill has a standard 22” grate and shown is the 18” grill extender that converts the cooking surface into a double-decker cooker. The extender can also be inverted to enable indirect grilling or for hot searing right over the coals. Also available is a half-moon grate which I’ve employed quite a bit during my celestial journey with the Grill Dome which has included a wide variety of grill sessions.
Bone-in prime rib-eye seared close to the coals.
This was our first cook on the Grill Dome. Scott dropped in and we decided to test several types of meat to get a feel-a mouth feel-for how this grill cooked. Shown are a bone-in pork loin portion, spare ribs, chicken tenders, and there was supposed to be chunks of beef tenderloin but Scott devoured them before I could raise the camera. You can see all three grates are used for this cook—the grill extender is inverted and holds the diverter pan, then the standard grate followed by the half-moon grate. Many combinations are possible to give the pitmaster extra cooking surface.
The Grill Dome was excellent at holding any desired temperature I needed whether low and slow or the high heat method. Baby-backs were smoked a while first then dripped pork fat onto the brined chicken breast beneath…doesn’t get much better.
Take a look at smoking a beef brisket. I bought a whole brisket (saving a lot of cash) and separated the point and the flat. The flat goes into the pan and the point above on the half-moon grate so it can baste the flat in addition to the mop sauce applied. Looks like I have a giant burnt end! The point was the best part but everything was moist and full of flavor. I’ve learned when grilling on the Grill Dome that I’m going to have a ‘juicy cook!’
By now you’ve probably assumed I really like this grill…and I really do but was there anything that caused me concern? Of course, as is typical of ceramic grills, it is not easy to add smoke wood after the grates are set. I simply added chunks, not chips, to the edge of the fire at the beginning. Smoke would be produced for one or two hours which, in most cases, is sufficient. Notice that a deflector/diverter pan is required to set up indirect grilling. Unless I’m misinformed, there is no official pan or plate offered that performs this task so a budget-friendly pizza pan was introduced to achieve indirect status. I began thinking (that’s the scary part!) “Do I really need to spend $70-$80 on a ceramic plate to fill the need?” I think not. I watched a video online where a cast iron skillet with the handle cut off was used making a great deflector piece with a built in drip pan. An old pizza stone would suffice also and, by the way, the Grill Dome is also fantastic for brick oven pizzas. So these issues weren’t really a big deal to grouse about but merely required me adapting to meet my grilling needs.
“Hats off” to this wonderful grill for the fine performance given me these past few months. To learn more about Grill Dome visit Leisure Time Outdoors at 2415 N. Illinois Street (Illinois 159) in Swansea, Illinois 62226 or give them a call (618) 236-1600. They offer the Grill Dome and much, much more.
While you’re searching the galaxy for the right grill…the Grill Dome might be the one to choose. I hope it puts a smile on your face too. After all, “it ain’t rocket science!”