The Volcano Grill

The Volcano Grill's glames seemed to leap to life, encouraged by the shape of the body, which, with the vents, creates optimal airflow.

Flames burst from the heart of the grill, a funnel of heat rising off just-lit charcoal bricks. The grill is ready to cook.

The Volcano Grill is a versatile option for cooking outdoors at home or at the campsite. It can burn wood, charcoal, and propane (with an optional 19,500 BTU burner), and it is super portable.

The collapsible unit is dotted with vent holes to move air and provoke flame. Its crater-shape design triples as a traditional grill, a propane burner, or, with wood thrown inside, a portable fire pit.

This month, I cooked burgers and a wood-fired pizza on the Volcano Grill. We roasted marshmallows then stared at dying flames in the base of the unit as the summer night fell.

Sold as an adaptable kit, the Volcano Grill ($110 base price) has accessories to barbecue, fry, smoke, griddle, and bake your food.

A heat-resistant fabric “lid” fits over the top to trap hot temps and create an oven. Or buy the company's 8-quart cast iron vessel, made to fit inside the grill, and go all out with Dutch oven recipes at the campsite or in the backyard.

The whole unit collapses small. Pull the main handle once you’re done grilling and the body folds up, its support legs sliding inside, the entire kit now a 5-inch-tall disc that fits inside a carrying case.

I cooked at a campsite and at home. In my testing I used charcoal and wood as fuel, though I plugged the propane in for a test, too. Burning over-the-shelf charcoal, the grill heated up fast.

The flames seemed to leap to life, encouraged by the “volcano” shape of the body, which, with the vents, creates optimal airflow.

There is an air-control vent on the base of the unit, providing some control, but mostly you’re at the whim of the fire as far as temperature management. (This changes with the propane option, which can be turned up and down.)

The grill’s off-the-ground design and insulated bottom is great for patio use; relatively little heat is transferred from the underside, minimizing the chance of surface damage or errant debris starting on fire.

A double-wall design lessens heat transfer to the outside of the body, too, making me not as nervous grilling around kids and pets. It still gets hot, though, so be careful.

The many air vents and a patented heat-chamber shape simply work — the fire inside a Volcano Grill burns hot and efficiently, with less smoke and a more concentrated flame than the traditional fire-pit grill I’ve owned for years.

There’s not a massive amount of grilling space. But I was able to fit a medium-size pizza on top or barbecue for my family.

The sleek Volcano, made of steel, looks good in the backyard, and it’s a convenient way to prep food if you can fit it in the trunk for a camping trip. Check out the Utah-based company for a new, highly-versatile way of cooking in the outdoors.

Stephen Regenold writes about outdoors gear at www.gearjunkie.com.

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