This is a guest post by a good friend, BJ, who makes a mean enchilada.
I have been a huge fan of charcoal grills for quite some time. I just simply love the smoky flavor that only charcoal can provide. However, clean up has always been a pain. I was thus both eager and hesitant to try the new Quattro 4 Burner LP Gas Grill by Stōk. This is the first gas grill I have ever owned, and I really was not sure what to expect. I’ll discuss my thoughts on assembly, features, and basic grilling below, but in short, I love my new grill.
I am far from an expert handyman. I am not big into DIY or home improvements, and I do not normally buy things with “some assembly required.” Nevertheless, I found this grill very simple to put together. The instructions are clearly written with excellent illustrations. It was easy to follow, and set up only took about 2 hours, including time for pictures and a 30 minute break.
I only have a few of complaints with the assembly, and these are minor manufacturing errors and/or shipping problems. First, a couple of the tabs on the side panels were bent. This was probably due to shipping, and I don’t hold Stōk accountable. Second, one of the bolts had no slot on the head. I didn’t have any spare screws of that size on hand, so I had to screw it in with needle-nose pliers. Clearly not ideal. Third, there was one bolt that refused to go in and eventually broke the attached nut. These problems were a nuisance, and I hope Stok works to eliminate manufacturing flaws like these in the future.
More significantly, however, the doors to the unit do not shut evenly. The left door closes just fine, but the one on the right sticks and is off kilter. While not a huge concern, this is a bit of a pain.
I am thoroughly impressed with how evenly the grill cooks! I have grilled burgers, chicken, steak, dogs, sausages, and brats, and I have yet to be disappointed. The burgers in the back and sides grill at almost the same rate as those in the front and center. The temperature gauge is accurate and easy to read, although I wish Fahrenheit was in bright orange, rather than Celsius.
Furthermore, the grill cooks the food thoroughly. There is less guesswork about when the food is done than there is with charcoal grilling. Not once have I had to cut into the meat (a no-no, I know!) to find out if it was ready. Even very thick pieces of chicken came out fully-cooked and juicy.
However, not all is perfect. The grill puts out a TON of heat off the back. The semi-open back of the grill leads to a lot exhaust. This grill should NOT be used anywhere near the side of the house, as this could lead to damage or fire.
Likewise, the right shelf gets very, very hot. It’s not as bad as the back of the grill, but I would not store plates, pans, or any sort of plastic container on that side. The spacer between the shelf and the grill itself simply does not provide enough of a buffer to keep away the heat.
The left shelf seems to do better at keeping heat at bay, but it too is not ideal. Be careful when setting down utensils and containers on the grill shelves; you don’t want things to overheat or melt!
Finally, here I should mention the warming rack. The rack simply rests on four groves on top of the grill. It is not attached to the lid, as I’ve seen on other gas grills. Thus, it does not lift up, which makes getting to the burgers in the back rather difficult. Also, since it is not attached to anything, it can sometimes come loose.
Obviously the crowing feature of this grill is its inserts. The grill comes with three standard grill inserts, a pizza stone, a griddle, and a vegetable tray. Changing out the inserts is a piece of cake, since the insert removal tool is well designed for this grill.
More importantly, the inserts themselves are amazing. We grilled a frozen pizza following the package directions, and it came out close to perfect. The cheese was bubbling but not burnt, and the crust was very crispy. The crust was slightly burnt, so I would recommend pre-heating the grill about 25 degrees cooler than what is recommended on the package.
Next, we made pancakes on the griddle, keeping them warm on a cooking sheet. I was quite skeptical at first, but they turned out great. The griddle was non-stick (we used a non-stick spray, but forgot once), and it again cooked everything thoroughly and evenly. The only problem here is the size. There was really only room for about 2 normal sized pancakes, which made cooking last a little longer than desired.
The vegetable tray is large and holds a great deal of chopped veggies. We cut up a significant amount of onions, bell peppers, broccoli, zucchini and carrots. I was worried that the open tray would dry out the veggies, but this was not the case. Once I basted them with chicken stock, and once I did not. Both times the vegetables came out firm and crispy without being dry or tough.
Storing the inserts, however, is a real pain. The triangular shelves are barely big enough to keep the inserts balanced, and the vegetable tray simply will not stay put when the grill is moved. This is a frustrating problem, as the clanging of falling trays and inserts is loud and obnoxious.
Plus, there is no place to store the insert tool. The doors to the grill came with two shelves to hold spices, which I will probably never use, but no place to keep the all-important insert removal tool. This makes no sense to me. I have begun keeping the tool either inside the vegetable tray or in the spice racks, but like the inserts, it refuses to stay in place.
The most annoying part of charcoal grilling is not even an issue with this grill. The parts are all more or less non-stick, and so clean up only takes a few scrubs with a wire brush. The inserts can be cleaned in the kitchen sink, and the grills, heating tents, and grease tray take mere minutes to get back in order. No complaints here!
Overall, I am very, very pleased with this grill. It is worth the price for the inserts, the evenness of the cooking, and the ease of cleaning. The flaws that I have with grill are for the most part just annoying and not very substantial. However, the heat coming out of the sides and back is significant, so users should be careful.
Despite that, I would consider purchasing this grill again, since the most important thing – the quality of the food it produces – is spectacular. While I still prefer the smoky taste of charcoal, I would choose to use this grill over charcoal because of how easy it is to use and how well it cooks my food.
Thanks for the honest review! I was intrigued when I saw this grill, and curious if the inserts would actually work as desired.
I have a question though, are the grill grids and (most importantly) the griddle cast iron?
Have you (or some of your handier friends) taken a shot at modifying the rack for the inserts? I cant imagine it would be hard to make it better and figure out a way to keep them in place.
You talked about pre-heating the pizza stone, is the temperature control manual, or can you set a temp and let the grill handle it (like an oven)?
Someday we will have to break down and buy a new grill. The starter on ours broke off. So to start it, we turn on the gas, and toss in a match. Probably not the safest thing to do! This article will help when we decide to buy. Nice to read reviews.
So far I’ve been impressed with the inserts. As far as the grids go, they are porcelain coated cast iron, but I don’t think that the griddle is. It is, however, also porcelain coated, as discussed here: http://www.stokgrills.com/accessories/griddle.php.
I haven’t had the chance to figure out how to modify the rack, and I don’t know anyone who has. I think you’re right, though, that it probably wouldn’t be too hard, but I really can’t comment. Maybe another reader has tried to do something.
The temperature control is manual, so you can’t really set it and leave it. However, the temperature gauge is accurate and easy to read. So low heat for about 15 should get pretty close to what I would guess is the ideal temp.
Actually, this grill comes with a match feeder so that if the starter breaks, you can safely feed a match through the side. The feeder is attached to the door so it won’t get lost. Hopefully, this will be a feature I don’t need to use, but it’s nice that they thought ahead.
I hadn’t heard of this brand of grill until now. It’s nice to know there are some good grills out there besides the usual Webber. What is it with the Europeans and orange? They sure do love it.
Have you tried grilling anything more substantial such as a whole chicken?
I haven’t tried that. I should give it a go. If I do, I’ll be sure to post something here about it.
Regarding orange: it’d be a perfect gift for a Clemson fan!
While I agree that how the food tastes should be the stick to measure grills, that isn’t what sells them in the store. Looks, features, fit/finish, and price are what sells them. Unless Home Depot starts having sample day like the grocery store, they should work on the fixing the things you mentioned.
Great review. I got to participate in eating the food that came off this grill (it was great) and also was able to look at it firsthand. My biggest concern was the heat off the back – but I think that actually contributes to the even cooking. If it didn’t vent from behind, I think it would heat up too much in the rear. Even cooking is important to me, and our Kenmore grill doesn’t do a good job of it but has a solid back. Would be awesome if you can get both features to work together.
I’m really excited to see how it holds up in the next 12 months. We’ll definitely ask BJ to run a short follow-up in that time frame. One of my biggest gripes with grills is how quickly they can deteriorate. They’re basically designed to make you purchase a new model every 3-4 years (or at least, that’s what the grill manufacturers usually want).
Some additional info everyone may not know: Stok grills are made by TTI, which also manufacturers Ryobi and Ridgid tools for sale at Home Depot.
VERY nice grill. I need to buy one we dont even have one Ive been “grilling” on my cast iron skillet with groves. Its not bad it works but do I ever miss BBQ’n.
I am a great fan if these charcoal grills , they are amazing , the flavour these grills adds to the food is amazing. i have seen this grill before but i was afraid of buying it because of its size and how to clean it. Thanks for this honest and useful review, maybe i would think of getting a grill like this.
What an awesome review and grill. We need a new one, but I think this one is way more than we would use. Though maybe when hubby retires since he likes cooking outside. Heck I don’t even like cooking inside! LOL
I’d love to see a follow up article or post comparing this to the Char-Broil Infrared grills
Wow! We do pretty basic grilling, so to see all these different foods being cooked on one is pretty great. Now I want to try some new things on ours!
My husband always uses wood chips when grilling. I wonder if too much smoke would escape with that open back?
I cook food to eat it, and I really don’t care about the quality of the device that cooks it! I don’t like to mess with charcoal, and have heard that using charcoal, with over- grilling, can produce carcinogens on the meat. I use a Sunbeam Grillmaster- some parts have broken, but I’ve been able to keep it going. To each his own!