One Transcendent Summer Grill

Man's greatest culinary achievement since fire.

Fire god: a smoker, grill, and pizza oven all in one.     Photo: Courtesy of Hephaestus

Even before we evolved into Homo sapiens, our ancestors were cooking things with fire. And for the vast majority of the one million years since, we’ve been doing it the same way—throw a hunk of meat over a flame, wait, eat. We’ve piled charcoal into metal kettles. We’ve slaved over dirt pits to barbecue hogs. We’ve fashioned elaborate smokers to keep the flames far away from a rack of ribs.

But until now, these things have largely remained separate, our evolution stalled. No longer. The hand-assembled Patio-Pro ($3,500) from Hephaestus combines all those functions—barbecue, grill, smoker—into one peerless stainless-steel package.

The features on the Hephaestus (the name comes from the Greek god of metal and fire) are designed to maximize man’s control of his meal. The Patio-Pro has an insulated, double-wall interior, stainless-steel glass gaskets, and three vapor-tight doors to maintain ideal temperatures and seal in smoke. It can hold at a steady 70 degrees to smoke a cheese or be revved up to put an 800-degree sear on a tri-tip, and a unique pulley system allows you to adjust the fire up or down. For an extra $90, you can even turn it into a pizza oven.With all that capability, a backyard chef with a penchant for multitasking can cook an entire chicken, grill some sweet corn, and bake a loaf of homemade bread at the same time.

When Homo erectus began providing his family with cooked meat, he evolved into an entirely new species. Imagine what we can accomplish now. 

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