Ecoque portable grill

Quick review of a Christmas present.

Over the years I have tried making various portable grills to use on van camping trips. I wanted to have something that would burn both wood and charcoal briquets. The dual fuel requirement is for the times when there is a campfire ban or when there ain’t any wood around to burn. The gizmos I made did work, more or less, but there was a lot of room for improvement. Mind you, I never found a commercially made grill that I thought would work any better. But there was a charcoal only grill that really intrigued me, the Pyromid grill.

Clever design that folds up into a small package, made of stainless steel, used little charcoal. But production ended some years ago. Then last year I noticed that Mountain Equipment Coop were selling something that looked exactly like the Pyromid called the “Ecoque stainless steel 12″ portable grill“. Turns out it is exactly like the Pyromid, the patent had been sold and the grill is reborn. I wasn’t subtle in my hints and my wife gave me one for Xmas.

A couple of days ago I gave it a try out, a dry run so to speak, no food cooked.

Bag containing grill and a package of foil liners (more about those liners later). Bag is about 12″ square, 2” thick (just spit balling those numbers).

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Out of the bag.

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Everything nests into the base nicely.

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Base with legs unfolded.

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Bottom section unfolded and positioned on base.

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Next section unfolded and positioned. Note: this section should have been placed 90 degrees (rotation) from how I have shown it. More on that later.

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Lower grate dropped in. The instructions say you can place briquets here for a low heat setting. Otherwise this is where you put the firestarter cubes/sticks. Yes, you need to use some sort of firestarter.

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And here is the main briquet grate.

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Then the cooking grill.

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And finally, a hood. Makes it into a little oven, the top is made up from two hinged parts, can be closed or open.

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Lifter fits the hood and the internal grates and grill.

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A package of foil liners. Just made from heavy gauge alluvium foil, you don’t have to use them it just makes clean up easier.

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I’m going to try the high heat set up. Nine briquets set on edge in slots on the grate.

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I didn’t have any starter sticks/cubes so I used a small bit of Varsol soaked paper towel on the lower grate, then the charcoal grate put back into place. After about 5 minutes the briquets looked like this.

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And after 15 minutes.

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I mentioned back at the start that I had the 2 main sections placed incorrectly. This picture shows how the hinge on the upper part is now correctly aligned with a notch in the lower section.

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Around 25-30 minutes after lighting.

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I can hold my hand 1″ above the grill for about 2-3 seconds before I yelp.

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Hood on with one door open.

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I stopped the experiment at this point, grabbed the briquets with tongs and doused them in water. I’ll probably with until we go on a camping trip before I cook anything on it. So far I like it, very well made and it gets hot the way I like it. I suppose I am not 100% pleased just because you need to use some sort of firestarter to get the coals going. Not a big issue, I’ll make some fire cubes.

Oh one other thing, I have heard (Al K.) that the original Pyromid could be modified to burn small bits of wood. I’ll be looking into that.

  1. #1 by Marius Strom on January 1, 2014 - 1:38 pm

    Pretty cool. When it’s folded up, how much rattle does it make? I love stuff like this for the Westy, but really hate rattles.. 🙂

    • #2 by albell on January 1, 2014 - 1:53 pm

      Hi Marius,

      The parts nestle in to each other pretty snugly and then it is a snug fit onto the bag so i just went and grabbed the bag and shook it by the handles. Rattles, but not a metallic rattle. I wonder if it will rattle when packed in the van.

      cheers

      ab

      • #3 by Marius Strom on January 1, 2014 - 2:03 pm

        I also saw there’s a 12″ and a 15″ version available.. I’m guessing the 12″ is enough for a few people in your opinion?

      • #4 by albell on January 1, 2014 - 2:10 pm

        It will, I think, be big enough for two. We will still bring along the folding fire grate (to use over a campfire) if we need more cooking capacity 🙂

        the Ecoque will be perfect for chicken on a stick, smallish steaks, veggies, wrapped stuff etc. I’m curious about how well it will work as a little oven.

        Ab

        >

  2. #5 by famillysyncro on January 13, 2014 - 7:07 pm

    Nice gift you got there Alistair.
    Looks really good and doesn’t take much room when folded, this is good.

    I didn’t understand your comment in the first paragraph: could you use it with charcoal briquets in case of a fire ban? I thought it would be propane only (never asked or checked here in Ab anyway, only thinking…). This is why we got the propane bbq, I didn’t want to be in trouble in case we didn’t check for fire ban before leaving home…..

    Jerome

    • #6 by albell on February 3, 2014 - 4:06 pm

      Jerome,

      sorry about delay in resounding, I’ll p-mail you. Yes, sometimes in provincial campsites briquets are allowed in BBQs. It depends on the severity of the fire ban. But most of the time on this wet island open fires are ok and since we have a penchance for camping on logging roads, and they have a non burning surface :), we can feel safe about the fire situation.

      cheers

      alistair

      PS new brakes look good, will get back to you on that. Heading to Edmonton tomorrow morning, will have time to email you from hotel

      • #7 by Jerome on February 3, 2014 - 7:19 pm

        Forgot to tell you, you are better to get more clothing with you for your trip as you are going to loose about 20C……

      • #8 by albell on February 3, 2014 - 8:52 pm

        Got all the gear, finally get to use it 🙂

        Cheers

        Ab

  3. #9 by Jerome on February 3, 2014 - 6:47 pm

    No problem at all Alistair, I understand.
    If you are bored and could get lost, Calgary isn’t that far away…….
    I am happy with those brake and even if they could be more useful on the van, they are for the Miata (already have oversize brakes on it…) and would be too small for the van anyway.

    Talk to you later, have a good trip.
    Jerome

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