Tested: Bodum Fyrkat Mini Picnic Charcoal Grill
Can a mini grill convince us to grill in December?
Whoever said that grilling season ends on Labor Day probably never lived in Las Vegas. Temperatures here are still in the 90s, and snow is our equivalent of a natural disaster. So when Bodum — yup, the coffee people — released its latest barbecue grill, I wasn’t going to wait until next summer to give it a test run.
The Frykat mini picnic charcoal grill is marketed as the perfect solution for urban dwellers. It’s meant to be small and light enough to fit on a bike, but large enough to cook two steaks or burgers for four. See if it lives up to its promises, or — at the very least — outperformed the pricier grill currently occupying my terrace.
I’d be remiss not to start with its looks. The Fyrkat is a classic example of Scandinavian design: minimal and modern. Its simplicity also carries over to its assembly requirements. Five minutes is the maximum time lapse between screwing in the tripod legs and lighting a match over the coals.
For something so basic, the small details are impressive. A silicone handle stays cool to the touch while food is covered and cooking. The handle also spins to reveal or conceal two large top vents, allowing the cook to control airflow and temperature. Silicone clips on the sides snap over the lid for portability. While I can’t confirm how easy it is to pack this on a bike, it’s certainly light enough to carry on foot to a nearby park.
A 12” diameter stainless steel grate is large enough to cook something substantial for four — in our case, a bone-in leg of lamb. It doesn’t provide the same sexy grill marks as cast iron, but it’s light and easy to clean. In fact, it’s the only thing you need to clean. Besides a bottom vessel for holding coals, there are no other parts to this grill. And that’s exactly what makes the Fyrkat superior to another name brand charcoal monstrosity I currently own. Its exterior body is built just as strong as the competition, but there is nothing clunky or high maintenance about it.
The Fyrkat has only one flaw that is worth noting: there is no drip catcher. Once the coals were added, remnants of the briquettes fell from the bottom vent and a sprinkle of black dust settled on the floor. Placing a sheet pan under the grill before cooking would be a wise insurance policy.
And even though the cherry red enamel is sexy, time will tell if the elements will wear it down. For those unwilling to take the risk, you’ll have to shell out for a water resistant grill cover.
Accept the Fyrkat’s limitations. It won’t feed an army at a tailgate party, nor will it outperform a large gas grill that’s kitted out with all of the bells and whistles. But if you like small cookouts or live in an apartment with limited outdoor space, no other grill strikes the perfect balance of form, function and affordability. Only Hank Hill wouldn’t approve. Bodum Fyrkat Mini Picnic Charcoal Grill. $50, bodum.com
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