Barbecue season is here! German manufactured barbecue Lotus Grill has been on the market for a few years now. Designed as an ultra-portable grill, Lotus Grill is advertised as being a smokeless charcoal grill that is easy to use, time efficient and easy to clean, while still giving you the true barbecue experience.
After pondering for quite some time, whether our small city balcony should be equipped with a barbecue, we decided to get the Lotus Grill. It is not that much of an investment actually as the price of the barbecue lies around 110 CHF. It comes in a handy carrying pouch, and you additionally need to buy a burning paste and some charcoal.
Lotus Grill works as follows: a battery driven ventilator combined with the burning paste burns the charcoal in its little recipient. The charcoal becomes incandescent without any flames after about 3 to 4 minutes, so the grill is super fast to start. The heat is diffused directly onto the grill above the coal recipient and by diffusion by the stainless bowl. Since the coal recipient is closed, no fat can directly drip into any open fire and potentially cause flames. The coal should stay active for about one hour, which is more than enough to prepare a barbecue for two people. After usage, let the grill cool down (especially the charcoal recipient stays very hot), then clean the grill and the bowl.
So what do I think about the Lotus Grill? Here are my pros and cons.
- it does the job just fine
- easy to store (away) and easy to assemble
- takes very little space, perfect for a small balcony or to take camping
- cheap but very reasonable quality
- no hassle option compared to the traditional charcoal barbecues
- the grill is ready to use after only a few minutes, traditional charcoal grills often take more than half an hour
- smoke is indeed reduced though not completely eliminated especially if you grill meat with a little bit more fat
- the surface is quite small, does not fit more than two or three people in my opinion
- there is a lot of temperature difference between the solid middle plate (just located above the charcoal, thus very hot) and the rest. This does not allow for a uniform searing of the meat. More generally it will be quite difficult to get your meat properly and strongly grilled as you would expect from a traditional charcoal barbecue
- the cleaning process can be a bit tedious, as you need to clean both the grill and the bowl
- the grill is more adapted for some fast-grilling meat i.e. some sausages or pork neck. I tried some pork chops last time and while they did come out fine, I could probably have achieved the same result in a pan on the stove. For veggies it does work quite well though. Heavy marinades or very fatty meat should also be avoided, as you will get lots of smoke and fat splashing.
- the typical charcoal flavour is not as present as with classic charcoal barbecues
All in all I would say that if you are the occasional barbecue amateur (like me), Lotus Grill will be an easy, affordable and hassle free option. If you are more serious about barbecuing, invest in a proper charcoal or even gas grill.