While many of us would probably prefer to grill over a charcoal, wood, or gas fire, we sometimes find ourselves in situations where flames are forbidden. City fire codes prohibiting any kind of combustion on the patio or balcony are increasingly common, and there are times of the year where lighting a fire is just too risky in some places. It’s no wonder electric grills are so appealing. Unfortunately, our experiences with them thus far have been less than stellar. We had high hopes things would be different during our Kenyon City Grill review.
The Kenyon City Grill aims to excel where other electric grills falter. It promises high, even heat, a virtually smokeless cooking experience, portability, versatility, and both indoor and outdoor functionality. We took one on a test drive to find out if it could deliver on the promise of fire-grilled results without the fuss of flame.
Kenyon’s City Grill is built like a small armored truck. While it is certainly portable, you’ll be surprised at its heft when you pick it up. Some of this weight can be attributed to the City Grill’s stainless steel exterior, but much of it is likely due to a hefty power supply — a sign of good things to come.
The non-stick cooking grate looks like it might be weighty cast iron, but it’s actually a light alloy.
Lift the Kenyon City Grill’s lid and you’ll find a slick, non-stick cooking grate. It looks like it might be weighty cast iron, but it’s actually a light alloy. Flip that cooking grate over and you’ll find an S-curved channel carved out to sit over the City Grill’s heating element, which we found wasn’t nearly as girth-y as expected. No matter — it turns out it does just fine at heating up the cooking grate.
Under the grate and element is a cavern of stainless steel, which we can assure you is a bugger to clean if you forget to drop in a drip tray. Fortunately, the drip tray you’ll use is nothing more than a cheap aluminum baking dish you can buy at nearly any grocery store. Note: change the drip tray, and change it often. Kenyon recommends it be changed out after every cooking session.
To the left of the cooking area is a large 10-position dial for heat adjustment. We’re not sure why it doesn’t go to 11, because it might as well. Regardless, this potentiometer-style control offers granular adjustment for a wide range of heat settings; something we found extremely valuable for grilling an array of different foods.
Hot, Hot, Hot
Like Buster Poindexter, the Kenyon City Grill can get very hot, and this pleased us to no end. Our chief criticism of most electric grills is that they are unable to ramp up to the level of heat needed to properly sear red meats to achieve a nice, tasty crust on the outside while preserving a gorgeous medium-rare at the center. As you’ll see in our review video, the City Grill had no problem sparking the culinary darling that is the Maillard reaction.
The City Grill is no one-trick pony, however. With that fine heat control we mentioned earlier, we were able to grill chops, chicken, and seafood to perfection — never a rubbery shrimp, nary a dried out chicken breast or pork loin.
The non-stick surface of the cooking grate made cooking fish and vegetables a delight. We’re fans of using olive oil to carry seasoning into these dishes, but you don’t need to use it if you don’t want to. Fat-free cooking is a reality with this electric grill. And you won’t be kicking yourself later when it’s time to clean, either, because all those crusty bits left behind practically blow away with a stiff breeze. Given our experiences with non-stick cookware in the dishwasher, we’d recommend going with a hand washing here — it certainly won’t take very long … or much effort.
Yeah, but does it taste right?
While we can’t go so far as to say that the Kenyon City Grill offers charcoal grill smokiness and flavor, we can say that it gets about as close to a gas grill as one could hope to expect. Because the grill can get very hot and maintain its temperature indefinitely, the juices that fall between the raised section of the cooking grates incinerate into pleasant micro-puffs of smoke, giving off that essential grill flavor. This isn’t a smokey grill by any means, but just as a hot skillet meeting meat will throw off a little smoke, so too will the Kenyon City Grill. Be sure to use in a ventilated kitchen — maybe even turn on that fan over your cooktop.
Fancy a griddle/flat top rather than a traditional grill? Kenyon offers just the accessory, allowing you to cook up pancakes, french toast, bacon, hash browns, a smash burger or a juicy, gooey Philly Cheesesteak — indoors or out.
Two delicious thumbs up
The Kenyon City Grill begs a premium price, and delivers performance to match. As unapologetic arbiters of grilled goodness, we will never forsake the fierce flavor that can only come from fire, but for those faced with a conundrum of carcinogenic proportions, the Kenyon City Grill serves up a foundation of flavor which so closely mimics the real thing, you might forget you never lit a match.
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