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Spark Grills (Charcoal with built-in Temp Control)


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Anyone have any experience with these, or I am the early adopter?

https://www.sparkgrills.com

My propane grill is on its last legs, and replacing the parts would be almost as much as buying a new one, so I asked for/got a new grill for my birthday. I went with the Spark Grill, because I like new toys, and got a deal during Christmas shopping season so it was about the same cost as buying a new gas grill (the stater pack was about $400 off from what it's listed at now). It was ordered pre-Christmas, but wasn't delivered until this week, because I went with the sage color. It uses a propriety charcoal briq (short for briquettes I guess), so I'm locked into buying those going forward - but I was already buying propane to grill anyway so it's not that big of a deal (~$30 per pack of briqs that gives me 6 cooks versus about $25 to refill a propane take that gives me about 8 cooks).

I seasoned it yesterday, and plan to cook on it for the first time this weekend, and will report back. Probably cook some wings and a steak, nothing fancy. 

Anyway, it seems a little gimmicky, and I am a little worried that if the company goes out of business I won't have the charcoal briqs, but according the FAQ you can use regular charcoal if needed, so it not like it will be completely unusable. My biggest concern is that it has to be plugged in to run the ignition/fans for temperature control - so if we lose power wouldn't have it as a back up to cook like I did on my gas grill last week. I'll probably grab an old tailgate propane grill on craigslist and keep in my garage for an emergency. 

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neat concept as a gas grill replacement but the proprietary charcoal sets off an alarm for me.  what's it made from?

I have a temp control add on for a my BGE where you can dial in pit temps and also monitor the food temp.  it has a fan and controls the air going into the base, but mostly use it for longer smokes (12+ hours).  For grilling or shorter indirect cooks, i just use the vents to eye ball it.  

Does this have an indirect heat option?  Can you add real wood chips or anything like that? The auto light feature looks cool and that's something no one really relishes doing but not sure it's a big enough draw.

anyway, use the hell out of it and report back.  

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Never seen that.  It looks like one of those PK charcoal grills.  I don't like the proprietary fuel.  My concerns would be the briq packs are sorted by temps and there aren't any low options to go low and slow.  Also I wouldn't want to use multiple briqs if I wanted to cook at one temp and possibly sear at a higher temp.

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1 hour ago, Gene Parmesan said:

Never seen that.  It looks like one of those PK charcoal grills.  I don't like the proprietary fuel.

classic internet commerce fad.  repackage existing product into a subscription.  Charcoal as a Service.  for that kind of business model i'd expect the grill to be subsidized... but $1000?  LED backlit control knobs seems a bit inappropriate

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Good luck.  A Weber kettle seems pretty bulletproof, but it might allow you to dial in temperature control better.  If I'm grilling, I guess I don't think much about temperature control.  Cook it 'til it's done.

 

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8 hours ago, Gene Parmesan said:

Never seen that.  It looks like one of those PK charcoal grills.  I don't like the proprietary fuel.  My concerns would be the briq packs are sorted by temps and there aren't any low options to go low and slow.  Also I wouldn't want to use multiple briqs if I wanted to cook at one temp and possibly sear at a higher temp.

It was actually between this and the PK for me. 
 

they have a low and slow briq “coming soon” as well as a heavy duty heat plate that is supposed to moderate heat; but I have a Klose offset that I sue for smoking and don’t plan to try that function out 

For indirect there is a “heat spreader” that you can remove that make side multi zone cooking. It’s essentially a steel plate that sits above the charcoal that heats up. If you remove it you have direct sear area and an indirect area around the rest of the grill space. Haven’t tried that yet, plan to this weekend. 

8 hours ago, gyroprotagonist said:

neat concept as a gas grill replacement but the proprietary charcoal sets off an alarm for me.  what's it made from?

I have a temp control add on for a my BGE where you can dial in pit temps and also monitor the food temp.  it has a fan and controls the air going into the base, but mostly use it for longer smokes (12+ hours).  For grilling or shorter indirect cooks, i just use the vents to eye ball it.  

Does this have an indirect heat option?  Can you add real wood chips or anything like that? The auto light feature looks cool and that's something no one really relishes doing but not sure it's a big enough draw.

anyway, use the hell out of it and report back.  

The company seems pretty hippy dippy, they claim the briqs are blends of hardwoods and charcoal. They are soaked in alcohol and come in sealed packages, the alcohol helps them ignite fast. Can’t be worse than most charcoal (outside of lump, which I rarely use anyway). 
 

Yeah, has indirect heat as mentioned above. Will try it out this weekend if the weather cooperates. 

5 hours ago, jimmyjazz said:

Good luck.  A Weber kettle seems pretty bulletproof, but it might allow you to dial in temperature control better.  If I'm grilling, I guess I don't think much about temperature control.  Cook it 'til it's done.

 

I have had several. My last one just bit the dust in my last move. Love me a Webber. 

5 hours ago, billfromlaketravis said:

Can you use it inside?

Only if you are looking for an insurance claim. 

 

4 hours ago, Mez2 said:

text me when the steaks and wings are ready

Done

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It's intriguing,  but not  for me. I like the challenge of a good fire and we'll cooked food and I don't find charcoal all that messy. I also like the time it takes for charcoal to set-up, also like to use a stick of pecan or oak along with the charcoal. 

That looks impressive though. 

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Looks shallow as fuck and the charcoal brick is dead center of the unit. Getting a good crispy skin on some chicken thighs/breasts without going nuclear might be challenging. Looks interesting though, post pics of results.

 

Spark_Charcoal-Open-w-Briq-scaled.jpg

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Took her out for a spin this evening. 
 

Cooked prime tenderloin steaks, Brussels/onions/peppers, and cauliflower steaks with mushrooms, all on the grill. 
 

it was nice, easy, and was legit one of the best meals I’ve had at home. 
 

Started by throwing out the old ash from seasoning my grill earlier this week. 

91B3C84C-12CE-4351-BF7D-E2B0C7CE90DE.jpeg

 

Popped in a new briq. 

7C30DF5A-7DDE-49B8-99FC-B3D98F962DE5.jpeg

 

Fired her up to 500.

83BEB4B8-645E-4707-A30C-EA89A5EAC7A8.jpeg

 

Threw the Brussels on the grill for about 15 minutes.

6AD0BD7E-A934-4B98-8468-31E775D2AF0F.jpeg

 

Poured some balsamic on it and mixed it around, cooked for about 5 more minutes.

BEDCEA84-8892-4C05-ABF4-222DBFE392BA.jpeg

 

Drank a michelada I made while Brussels were cooking.

ED161797-247D-4218-B3A3-8E2A1B332CAF.jpeg

 

Turned the temp down to about 400, threw everything else on.

Flipped the steaks after about 6 minutes (the probes are nice, didn’t worry about the time just pulled when at the temp I wanted).

4EDDABA3-D6F7-4F6E-B2BD-29D342AA991D.jpeg

0AC45CED-CE0C-4868-9C53-1D15DA64862E.jpeg

 

After steaks at temp, threw the cauliflower in the mushrooms and cranked heat up to about 600 for about 10 minutes while steaks rested.

6E33D885-9086-41BD-ACCD-BDE9A4CE5575.jpeg

 

Forgot to take a pic of the finished / plated meal, but not the after dinner drinks  that we enjoyed on the patio on the last weekend of February.

0E2C2877-B561-4714-ACF3-668B808EB68C.jpeg

Edited by hornian
Posting from phone on back porch
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