Most people who love charcoal BBQ’s will still have a gas BBQ somewhere in the backyard because lets face it, who wants to come home from work and spend up to an hour getting the charcoal going? It’s a weekend thing right? Well the guys over at Everdure beg to differ. They have created a BBQ that combines the flavour of charcoal cooking with the speed and convenience of gas ignition – The echurrasco
I was lucky enough to be given one of these to test out. It came with the following accessories which are all sold separately:
- Roasting Hood
- The Rotisserie Kit
- Universal stand
- BBQ Cover (not received)
- Fish Basket (not received)
- Sizzling Plate (not received)
- Skewer set (not received)
The first real test for this BBQ was to check the validity of Evedures claim that it only takes 16 minutes to fire this thing up. You have to lay a bed of 28 briquettes within the centre section of the charcoal support rack and then light the gas, leave it for 8 mins, turn the gas off and then wait another 8 mins for the coals to heat through. After this, they say, the charcoal is good to go. Well, it certainly didn’t disappoint. I followed the instructions down to the second and it worked like a dream. My coals were white all over and ready to go. This is a huge selling point for this BBQ considering you would normally need to use something like a chimney starter with kerosene cubes to get briquettes going in about 40 mins – If you were lucky!
I have to admit, I was most excited about the Rotisserie kit. Everyone knows how to grill a steak or a sausage but putting meat on a metal sword as it spins over hot coal is something you can get a little more “chefy” with.
The Evedure Rotisserie kit isn’t just the motor and 2 mounts on either side of the BBQ that you would normally see as an additional attachment on a gas bbq. Instead you need to assemble the housing which is basically 2 curved walls and a removable roof and the whole unit sits across the top of the BBQ. After assembling and placing it on top of the grill my first thought was that there wasn’t much room inside to cook something very big. You could probably only fit a small to medium sized chicken inside (however there is probably room for 2 across the length of the sword). If you were thinking a lamb leg or something similar it just wouldn’t work. A boned and rolled shoulder of pork or something like that would however, be perfect.
For this test I chose to put a small chook on the spit and after an hour and a half I had one of the most succulent, smokey chickens Ive ever had. The flavour of the coals just cannot be replicated with gas or in a conventional oven. It cooked really well and surprisingly the rotisserie housing actually helped maintain a good even temperature across the length of the spit and the smoke from the wood chips got to hang around a bit longer before being able to escape through the top.
All in all I think I would have preferred if Evedure did away with the housing kit and just allowed for the rotisserie to be mounted on the sides of the grill but we have to keep in mind that this is a portable, multipurpose BBQ and not a speciality spit roast kit. With that said, if I owned a echurrasco I would definitely buy this rotisserie kit if only to BBQ chooks on the weekends!
The echurrasco comes with a stock lid however it’s flat and can’t be used while cooking meat. It’s simply for aesthetics when the unit isn’t in use. The roasting lid on the other hand opens up a whole new set of possibilities. With this lid we can look at meats that need low and slow roasting like pork shoulders, lamb shoulders, ribs and basically any other cuts that benefit from long, slow cooks.
For this test I chose some chicken wings that I wanted to first sear over the coals then push to the side so that they could roast and smoke for 40 mins. I set the coals up as per instructions but once they were heated through I moved them over to one side so that I had room on the other for indirect cooking. After searing each piece and placing them away from the coals I added some chips to the coals and returned the lid. Unfortunately there is no built in temperature gauge so you need to use your best judgement on when you think the meat is done. The other issue is that the hood’s exhaust vents are at the back so a lot of the smoke was escaping before having a chance to kiss the meat!
When I finally pulled the chicken out after 40 mins it was very nice and there was a gentle smoky character to it, so all is definitely not lost however it might be a bit generous to call it smoking. In my honest opinion though, when you think about all the extra things you could cook with the roasting lid you would be crazy not to buy it.
Lets be honest here, steaks, sausages and chops always taste better cooked over screaming hot coals! It’s these every day Aussie cuts of meat that will benefit most from a BBQ like this. The ease of firing it up and having it ready in next to no time will no doubt have you using it more often than your current Gas bbq, probably rendering it redundant within weeks.
To test the grill I raced out and found some really good quality, highly marbled rib eye steaks simply seasoned with sea salt and olive oil. Over the coals they were done in about 6 mins cooked to a perfect pink and served with a simple salad – No sauce no condiments! You just can’t beat a good quality piece of steak cooked this way. 10/10. The only criticism I have is that the charcoal zone does not extend all the way to the walls so these would be cooler spots. I guess they may be useful when cooking sausages or other things that might need lower temps. Other than that this is the BBQ’s best feature.
The Everdure echurrasco BBQ can offer something for all occasions. It’s a portable BBQ but can also be used to feed the family or several guests and its ability to be ready within minutes will turn you off cooking with gas forever. For the next model I think Everdure should consider handles on the sides to aid manoeuvrability and perhaps extend the charcoal zone on the grill out to the walls but otherwise this is a solid unit and worthwhile purchase.