Element is the brainchild of Robert Brunner, former Head of Industrial Design for Apple. Their first products were large, modular outdoor kitchens. This small Element Grill retains the design features of the large units and wraps them up into a succinct package for a wider consumer market. The Element Grill is an interesting, very stylish, dual zone gas cooker. Various tech blogs have referred to it as “the iPhone of grills”. Although it is a free standing, pedestal device with a 36″ high cooking surface it is remarkably compact. The 21″ diameter footprint is beneficial wherever space is an issue. It can easily be wheeled about then tucked away in a corner when not in use. However, many owners are so pleased with Element’s striking, sculptural appearance, they choose to leave it on display.
Element is offered in four models. The difference is essentially cosmetic and pertains to the cylindrical base. Three models have a powder coated steel base in red, white, or dark gray. The fourth is stainless steel and costs about $100 more. The black powder coated steel lid and burner bowl have a solid look and feel. The lid, which features an insulated handle, may be hung out of the way on the side of the steel base. Attached to the base are 2 light weight handles for hanging tools and towels and wheeling the unit about on four casters, (two locking casters). Optional wood shelves can be attached to one or both side handles.
The system has two circular burners with a large burner running arounf the perimeter of the round fire box and a smaller circular burner in the center. Crank both burners for maximum heat and direct cooking. Turn off the center burner for indirect cooking. Weber “Q” 300 and 320 have a similar dual zone configuration although Fuego’s sleek and slick design works with one control knob, (patent pending), instead of Weber’s two. Element burners are long lasting 304 stainless steel. Zone 1 is 14,000 BTUs, zone 2 is 8,000 BTUs with 22,000 BTUs total. Electronic ignition is battery powered.
The 21′ diameter, enamel coated cast iron cooking grate provides 346 square inches of cooking area. Fuego claims a top temp of 750°F which is plenty hot for searing. Slower indirect cooking is limited by the low profile lid and the diameter of the burner. You really only have about 4″ available height off the grill surface. It’s big for a compact grill, but not big enough for whole turkeys, pork shoulders, or large roasts.
Although the steel pedestal base is elegant and attractive, it is also the source of consternation. Both the propane tank and grease pan are in the base and both can only be accessed by fully removing the clip on front panel. I bet most folks wouldn’t mind this for changing the tank, but it becomes a pain just to get at the regulator and grease pan. Fuego says “In response to customer feedback we are in the process of developing a hinge for the front panel to allow for easier access.”
It’s covered by a one year comprehensive warranty and three year limited warranty on the burners; not as good as the warranty for Weber’s “Q” 300/320. Pizza stone, griddle, side shelves, and cover are available as options.
In addition to The AmazingRibs.com Best in BBQ Bronze Medal, the Element Grill has won the following awards: Spark Award 2010, Good Design Award 2010, Vesta Award for Best Gas BBQ 2010, International Design Excellence Award-Gold 2010