The Cobb BBQ really is the ultimate in portable BBQs. This thing goes anywhere you can and even carried there while cooking on it!
Originally developed for use in Africa, it meant people could cook in rural areas without electricity and minimising the risk of causing fires using dried corn cobs for fuel. Since it’s inception, it has been developed and improved and is now a world wide success. Needing only a few charcoal briquettes or just a single Cobble Stone, this is more than just a BBQ. It’s a portable cooking system with the ability to smoke, fry (stir and griddle), grill, bake and even make pizzas on. It’s unique design means you can put it anywhere and even pick it up while cooking, thanks to it’s stay cool sides and base. The heat source is isolated within the base so there is no direct contact to the outside of the cooker.
There really is no limit to what you can cook on this, from the usual burgers to whole chickens and joints. Around the where you add the briquettes is a moat where you can add water, beer or wine to keep your food moist or add flavour. The moat also acts as fat collector as the bundled grill grid is slightly dome with holes around the edge, so any fat can run off into the moat. This means there are no flare-ups and little smoke, so you can even use this indoors! You can also add veg or small potatoes in the moat to cook so a proper Sunday roast can be made on this thing.
Right, that’s the story, now what is it like, really. Hah! It’s awesome! Having done all manner of things on it I can confirm this is brilliant. As I mentioned, this is more than just a BBQ, it’s more like a charcoal oven (as described by The Hairy Bikers). Using the lid is essential for cooking most things, due to the fact that your only using a few briquettes it needs the lid to create the heat needed. During the first few uses, means you must suppress the temptation to keep checking the food. However the flip side to this is it makes for a more sociable cook, as you can relax and have a drink or more with your friends and family.
My first attempt with the Cobb was jacket potatoes and the Cobble Stone as the heat source. The Stones are made from Bamboo and wood, which come as a single round brick that fits perfectly in the heat rack. Just light, wait for 4-5 minutes and your ready to cook with enough heat for 2 hours. Having just microwaved potatoes for a few minutes to give them a head start, they were drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with rock salt and wrapped in foil. Using an additional grill rack that sits onto of the holed grill, allows the food to suspended above the heat just like a traditional BBQ. With the lid on about 60 minutes later then were done to perfection. Crispy skins and hot fluffy insides, nice.
Further attempts were the usual affair with burgers, sausages and the like. All came out great and using some cherry tree wood chunks placed on top of the Cobble Stone gave them a great taste, though it does mean indoor cooking is a no-no due to the smoke. My most recent use was the big one, a whole chicken. Seasoned with some rub and stuff with a lemon and rosemary with wine poured into the moat. Cheap wine is only required given the amount needed and primitive requirements from coking with it. Fearing the time needed to cook throughly, I used some highly recommended Australian Heat Beads. These burn very hot for a bit longer than the Cobble Stones, it is also easy to add more if needed. Around 80 minutes later the chicken was excellent, being flavoursome, moist and well cooked.
Make no mistake, this is not a party cooking machine. Being portable means it’s not got the biggest cooking area and needing to keep the lid on, means en masse cooking needs a bit of organising. But that’s not the point of the Cobb. So, up to this point, there has been no failures, just great food. Bad things? Well yes there are a couple. By the time you add all the accessories it’s not cheap, £200 nearly for everything in the range. There are five cooking pans if you will and I have and want to use all of them, then the bamboo chopping board is great as you can put the meat on it to rest with the lid on top to keep wee beasties out. The board has a groove around the edge so the lid sits perfectly on without sliding should you need to move it. I didn’t get it at the time, but you can get an extension to the lid so you have more room inside to cook bigger chickens etc, and that is needed also in my opinion.
The other bad thing is cleaning it. On a traditional BBQ, you’ll probably just clean the cooking rack and that’s it. Here, you need to clean everything and since it’s a cooker (BBQ that means grease) oil, burnt bits and all. While it’s not too bad at home with hot soapy water and a wire scourer (it’s also dishwasher safe), camping out will require hot water. Just in a tent in a field? Hmm not so good.
But overall, I just love it. I’ve always wanted a proper smoker, but most are too big and if you only want to do a chicken or some ribs, it s bit overkill. So this is perfect to smaller things, is very easy to use and given it can go anywhere, cleaning aside, very practical. Highly recommended indeed.
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Article by Invisiblekid.