When invited to a barbecue, we usually think of a stainless grill with a cover on top. The Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill is unique in that it is made entirely of cast iron. Though cast iron is a heavy material, this unit is compact and light enough to be carried on our weekend outings.
Lodge Cast Iron Sportsman’s Grill Review: Notable Features
Weighing in at 27 pounds, the Lodge charcoal grill is basically a large piece of cast iron. It therefore inherits all the idiosyncrasies of the material itself. Cast iron takes longer to heat up. But because it is so dense, it holds onto the heat for a long time and distributes it more evenly.
Installation is simple and involves putting the five major pieces together. The only step that requires any tools is when tightening the two bolts that hold the base plate and the main body together. The front door has two pegs that go into the notches in the main body. It can be opened or closed for adding charcoal.
A slider at the bottom is used to control draft. The grill grate has four legs. When you stand it on the legs you get less heat because the food is now farther away from the coals. By the same token, just flip it over to lessen the distance and gain more heat.
A heavy-gauge wire attaches to both ends of the grill for lifting and moving it around. But when you lift it up, the grill does not want to stay level. This can cause the front door to flip open.
Since this Lodge grill is a Hibachi-style grill, it has no top cover and is in an oval shape. The cooking surface is not large, as we would expect from something this compact. But it is still big enough to fit six to eight hamburger patties or four to six steaks.
The Lodge grill is not any easier to start than other grills. To make things easier, collect one layer’s worth of charcoals and throw in three or four more. Then, get them started in a chimney starter. Use the draft slider to adjust the air supply.
Cast iron is notorious for being prone to rust if not maintained properly. This Lodge grill comes pre-seasoned. A quick wipe-down and a thin coat of vegetable oil on the grate are all the prep work you need to start cooking. After each use, brush burnt food off the grate with a nylon bristle brush.
As with any cast iron cookware, we need only wash the grill with mild soap, or just plain water. Apply a thin layer of vegetable oil to the surface for storage. But this is where things can get tricky with this grill.
Since the base plate and the main body are two separate entities, there is inevitably a gap between the two surfaces. If water is allowed to seep in and linger, rust could become a problem.
Overall, we think this is a piece of quality cookware at an affordable price. Like the quintessential century-old cast iron skillet, food cooked on it just seems to taste better.