Sunday, June 14, 2009
I've written about my Dad's great old grill and how it's still going strong years later. I really don't know when he got it or where. We just grew up with the PK cast aluminum grill, so I'd say it must be 35 to 40 years old.
I didn't think they "made them like they used to," and they didn't. Portable Kitchen was off the market for a long time. Then, Paul and Sarah James got tired of the poor quality grills and shopped yard sales and found an old PK grill.
The James family decided that there were people out there who did want to invest in quality instead of buying a new grill every year, so they talked to Meigs family and worked it out to put the PK grill back on the market.
My new Portable Kitchen grill above is the Sportsman model. My Dad's PK is called Executive and is a little bigger with the hinges on the back rather than the side. Otherwise the grills are alike other than the old one has mellowed to a dark gray and black with loads of use over the years.
Cast aluminum means that the grills are made in one big piece. When new and out of the stand, they look kind of like huge tin foiled wrapped baked potatoes.
While most grills are made of thin grade metal, the PKs are thick and heavy. Like cast iron, they retain the heat. But, they don't rust like cast iron. Yippee! That's a huge problem with most grills, and even my Dad's ancient PK grill shows no signs of rust.
With the heat retention and with wider grates, you can sear nicely on the PK grills and can also close the lid and adjust the dampers to smoke meats. Portable Kitchen grills really crank once they get going, so below you will see how I offset for dinner last night.
Offsetting the coals means just burning on one side. That gives me room to sear the steaks but a cooler area to finish them off and also to work on the side dishes.
This is the same set up you'd use to smoke meats on the Portable Kitchen grill, but you'd close the lid and have the vents closed most of the way.
Our dinner last night included rib eye steaks, grilled corn on the cob, and grilled hash browns and also Texas Toast which we put on right at the end, since it doesn't take much time at all to heat bread on a grill.
The hash browned potatoes went on early to get started, but we do start out with tin foil on top. They are basically steamed on the grill. The boys love them, so we do those pretty often.
We then put the marinated steak on the hot side of the grill to sear and had the grilled corn on the cob on the cooler end of the grill. Those were rotated once the steaks were seared on the outside and then finished off to medium.
It's hard to beat a PK. Portable Kitchen is one of the best charcoal grills on the market. I'm glad they brought it back.