Just when you thought it was safe to discard the oven and head out into the garden to enjoy the sunshine with your convenient disposable barbecue at your side, up pops that little green figure on your shoulder. The one that says, don’t you realise about all that waste your disposable grill is creating: the foil container, the unsustainably sourced charcoal – think of the trees, think of the landfill sites, full to the brim with discarded foil containers?
Fortunately for those of you with a ‘green conscience’ and in need of a disposable barbecue, help is at hand in the form of the ecogrill. Half camp fire, half barbecue and inspired by an old Nordic technique (isn’t everything at the moment), the ecogrill takes the form of a hollowed out piece of alder, half filled with alder charcoal. It has slits cut down the sides of the wood to allow air to circulate in and around the charcoal during cooking and a central column filled with a flammable substance for easy lighting. As a consequence, there is no waste as the whole thing will just burn down into ashes in three or four hours.
With this year’s ‘barbecue summer’ already upon us and with it being National Barbecue Week, Saturday evening on my friend’s roof terrace was the ideal place to give the ecogrill a test run. Performance wise it was very easy to get going, was ready to cook on within half an hour of lighting and was hot enough to cook on for at least couple of hours, which is a big improvement on the traditional, flash in the pan, disposable affairs.
However, there were a couple of drawbacks. It doesn’t come with anything to actually grill your homemade lamb koftas on, so not overly practical as you need your own in order to get cooking. Also, it is not ideal for use on a roof terrace covered in wooden decking, given that the whole thing is flammable, and there was a moment when it seemed like the sausages weren’t going to be the only burnt and blackened objects that evening!
But if the urban, wooden-decked setting isn’t the ideal environment for the ecogrill, it would be perfect for camping, taking to festivals and use in the back garden, where flammable materials are not in such close proximity! And at just £9.99 it is very good value considering the amount of heat and cooking time it generates.