Blacktop 360 HFI Premium Party Hub Grill Fryer - Black/Blue
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- 360-degree party grill combines deep fryer, grill, griddle, and warming plate
- 452 sq. in. of porcelain-coated cooking space with an electronic pulse ignition
- 24,000 BTUs of total cooking power and independent temperature controls; uses 1-pound propane canister
- Includes a cutting board, slosh ring, thermometer, liquid catch bottle, 3-position cover, and a carrying bag
- Measures 31"L x 31"W x 30.5"H; 1-year limited warranty for most parts
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The Blacktop 360 HFI Premium Party Hub Grill Fryer is a versatile and multipurpose outdoor appliance for all of your party needs. It's a deep fryer, infrared grill, griddle, and integrated warming plate all in one! Enjoy 452 sq. in. of porcelain-coated cooking space powered by an electronic pulse ignition, and 24,000 BTUs of total cooking power with independent temperature controls. The unique shape of the Blacktop 360 makes cooking a vastly more social experience with the whole family or all of your friends working together around it. Cook fries with your burger, whip up hot wings while tailgating, or sear a steak with some griddle eggs - all are possible with the Blacktop 360. It's a one-of-a-kind parking lot party starter! Includes a cutting board, slosh ring, thermometer, liquid catch bottle, 3-position cover, and a carrying bag. Uses a 1 pound propane cylinder. Measures 31"L x 31"W x 30.5"H. 1-year limited warranty for most parts.
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I'll start off with the good parts. It is very well built and sturdy. And it has an infared burner.
It's hard to clean. With a regular grill, you just run the element down with a brush. You can close the lid, so things that touch the top of the grill don't get all messy. With this, there is no permanent lid, so while it transport, things that touch it are going to get grease/burnt meat on them. It needs either to be cleaned before transport or transported carefully. Not well suited for camping.
Half of the surface is a waste of space. It has 4 elements: Grill, griddle, warming plate, and deep fryer.
The deep frier doesn't come with a basket. It's a tiny bowl area. It doesn't cook enough of anything in one batch to be worth the effort of adding and reclaiming cooking oil. If you want to make more than one batch, you have to pluck whatever you're making out of the oil. Or lift the cooking surface, drain the oil, pick up the fried food, and re-add the oil. You can get a Coleman propane deep fryer, with a basket, a lid, and more capacity, for $80. Given the minimal utility and inconvenience, I barely ever used the deep fryer. Yes, you can steam veggies, but you can do that in a pot over a regular grill as well.
The warming area is completely passive. I expected that there would be at least minimal heat coming from directly under the warming area. There is nothing. Being able to warm things up is a plus, but an even better plus would have been another burner under this area, so you can use it for actual cooking as well as warming. Imagine if the warming area were eliminated and the grill and griddle each took up half the circumference. If you you were making some on the grill half, you could warm something on the griddle, and vice versa. If you needed the entire cooking surface, you could turn up all 3 outer burners, and make 12 hamburgers at the same time.
Those 2 areas together make up about half the space, meaning that I have to lug around this giant thing that can only make 6-8 burgers at one time.
-Only one lid. If you want to use both cooking surfaces at once, one of them will be uncovered. I carry some lids of my pots and pans so I can cover stuff up.
-The cooking grates on the grill are concave, which traps the fat and grease, making a far bigger mess than necessary. No need to re-invent the wheel, a regular grill surface made up of easy-to-clean round bars would have been better.
-Igniter needs a battery. Fine for home use where you'll typically have one, but if you get out on the road they're sometimes harder to find. I'd prefer the battery-less kind, even if that means pushing the button a few times instead of holding it down.
-Carrying bag is garbage. Without a permanent lid, the bag is going to be disgusting anyway if you don't clean it before transport, but mine tore holes in the canvas in well under a year. I would have just preferred some carrying handles on each side, so 2 people could just carry it flat.
-The round design decreases utility. You can't fit as many skewers on a curved surface as you could on an equivalent sized straight grill.
A regular portable grill, with a griddle that can go over the cooking area, plus a coleman propane deep fryer, would have been far better for my needs, with a lower price. That would have been less messy, more portable, more flexible.
The only people who I could recommend this to are people who need grill and griddle in equal proportions at the same time, one uncovered, who make small batches of deep fried food, and could utilize a warming area with minimal warmth. For camping and home use, there's better options. This product offers no advantage over a regular grill and deep fryer, but does have disadvantages.
very easy to use
heavier than you'd expect for the size
I did not find the clean up is not quite that easy (after a few goes)
the design could have been a little better...
- built in spark plugs instead of having to lift the lid every time to light it up
- there should be a run off for the oil on the griddle plate as well
- the warming plate should also have an option to cook on... that was a waste of usable cooking space
Now, check out all the things you can do with it!
It's an infrared grill!
It's a deep fryer!
It's a soup kettle!
It's a fondue pot!
It's a griddle!
It's a warming tray!
There are all sorts of things this baby is good for. No, you can't make soup and chocolate fondue at the same time, but the little fry-baby in the middle is good for much more than just frying. Easy to empty the fry oil, too, though messier than the video (practice will help, I'm sure). Food cooks very quickly on the IR grill, and you can totally make bacon and eggs on the griddle.
Now if you watch their videos, you see this LOADED with food. You can't actually cook all that food at once. But you can probably get about four burgers (frozen store bought 1/4 lb., not my husband's big game burgers) on the IR grill, enough fries or onion rings for a few people to share in the fryer, and about six slices of bacon on the griddle. Plus, warm up buns on the warming tray. And did I mention that it cooks quickly? It does. The attachable/detachable cutting board is a bit wee for any real cutting use, but it is a good place to set stuff.
The round design is cool; it lets several people work at once (have you ever seen one guy actually grilling while four of his buddies stand around talking about how they would do it? Put those beer-guzzling critics to work!) without being on top of each other.
Cleanup is pretty easy, definitely easier than most grills I have cleaned. And I wouldn't call getting it back into its case the easiest thing I have ever done, but with two people, not so bad. And when this one is in its case, it's easy travel time, great for tailgating or that friend's party that has unexpectedly blown up to a block party - it'll be you to the rescue!
The manual is pretty funny, too - you won't mind reading it cover to cover, which you should do, since this is like fire and oil and danger you're messing with. OK, all grills are, but this manual was entertaining. :)
I knew what I was getting into by reading other people's reviews. Great as a portable grill, but on the small side. Has a nice to have fryer and griddle if you need/want that. Took off one star for the fact that it's hard to keep clean and doesn't come with a top/cover so it has to be stored in it's carrying case. I'd rather just put a cover over it and leave it up out on my deck.
Folds flat and comes with a good carrying bag
Has a deep fryer to make some Fries/Tater Tots to go with that burger
Uses a small amount of propane (I've run deep fryer, and grill at same time and used less then 1/2 of can of propane.)
The grill can be hard to clean. Grease falls down into the bottom and doesn't drain out of the grease trap quickly.
Comes with a small grill lid, but so much air gets in from the bottom that it's hard to extinguish flames
Fryer get's oil everywhere, would not use it while actually grilling.