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Cobb BBQ

The Cobb BBQ cooking hamburgers

The Cobb BBQ cooking hamburgers

Recently, my parents gave Kat and I a Cobb BBQ cooker.  We had my brothers and one of their girlfriend over to try it out.  I figure the best way to test out a new grilling tool was to see how it would do with cooking a batch of my Burgers with Legs.

The Cobb is a bbq whose prinicpal selling points are its efficiency of size, fuel consumption and ease of transport.  The small size is perfect for our use in a downtown backyard that lacks a deck or other convenient grilling area.  I set the cooker up on a standard issue patio table and can quickly move it around as weather dictates.

The grills unusual grill design makes for better searing.

The grill's unusual grill design makes for better searing.

Results were very promising.  The burgers took slightly longer to cook than normal on a grill but boasted an unusually well-seared crust.  Most of all I like the design of the grill grate–small holes cut into a non-stick surface much like some pizza pans–because there is more metal-to-meat contact and therefore more tasty browned bits of food.  I suppose that the best charcoal bbq’s aim for smaller grill bars so that food is exposed to directly to the high heat that they managed to crank out.  I find though that both inferior charcoal and almost all gas grills don’t managed high enough heats to properly sear quickly-cooked foods like steaks and burgers–except where the more conductive, but under-sized metal bars touch the meat.

The grills lid is supposed to be used mainly for roasting and baking applications but I also needed it to keep the rain off our food.

The grill's lid is supposed to be used mainly for roasting and baking applications but I also needed it to keep the rain off our food.

The Cobb uses about ten briquettes and the instructions are pretty clear that these should be pressed, artificial charcoal.  I plan to try out a test-run with the natural stuff some time this summer but for now I’m happy to burn through the bag of briquettes I bought because I couldn’t detect any chemical taste in the food or much aroma in the air (after the first few minutes of food-free preheating).

The circular shape of this grill really is perfect for burgers but I can also see chicken (whole or in parts), sausages, and fish working well.  Intriguingly, the Cobb’s instructions also suggest that it is well-suited for baking bread.

I also made use of my Hamburger Rolls with Legs recipe, this time with the same ingredient quantities split over six buns instead of four.  This change definitely makes for a noticeable improvement by allowing the focus to rest firmly on the meat part of the meal.

Update: My post Bacon on the Cobb details how the Cobb bbq can be used to smoke home-cured bacon.

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12 Comments

  1. Katy says:

    Pretty nice post. I just came across your blog and wanted to say
    that I have really liked reading your blog posts. Anyway
    I’ll be subscribing to your blog and I hope you write again soon!

  2. [...] Food With Legs – testing out a tiny Cobb BBQ grill. [...]

  3. [...] In our constant quest for fire, BBQs, grills and ancestral cooking techniques, we have unearthed this review of the Cobb BBQ. [...]

  4. Elizabeth says:

    This looks pretty amazing. The only thing that is deal-breakerish is the requirement to use artificial charcoal. I looked through the Cobb website FAQ but can’t see anything about why it has to use briquettes rather than natural charcoal. Do the instructions say anything? Or is it an ecological reason?

    I suddenly have the urge to start drying and storing our corn cobs in the garage when corn season hits!

    (found you via TasteTO’s blog-a-log)

  5. foodwithlegs says:

    Thanks for the comment, Elizabeth. I’m also not a big fan of the artificial charcoal. There are two reasons why I don’t think the manufacturers recommend using lump charcoal with the Cobb setup. First, the space for holding charcoal is small so it really helps that the artificial is more compact and regularly shaped than lump. Also, the instructions are very precise about the amount of charcoal to use so I imagine if you don’t convert this amount accurately you might end up with too much heat.

  6. james long says:

    Hello All,

    I have been using natural mesquite charcoal with my cobb. I started with an equivalent weight and it seems to work just fine. It takes longer to light so beware that you may require more “start-up”. The heat is higher so you will need to adjust your recipes. I have done this through experimentation.

    It was my understanding that the cobb was origianlly designed to cook with dried out cord cobs, so I imagine you could use many different fuel sources.

    Cheers,

    Jim

  7. james long says:

    ….I mean dried out corn cobs…

  8. foodwithlegs says:

    Thanks for the comment, Jim. What method do you use to get the natural charcoal lit with your Cobb? The instructions recommend using match light charcoal or solid starter. Obviously both of these involve chemicals that defeat the purpose of choosing natural charcoal. Do you have a tiny chimney starter?

  9. Megan says:

    I am about to buy one of these myself today from someone selling one locally..

    My first questions was how do hamburgers turn out!

    What I want to know mostly is does the food TASTE really grilled – you know the taste, look, and feel we are all after when grilling…

  10. foodwithlegs says:

    Hi Megan,

    Thanks for the questions. As I say the look is a little different–grill marks in a circle pattern instead of lines. It’s a bit difficult for me to comment on taste and smell. I was outside tending the unit so I may have been acclimatised. You probably won’t be disappointed, especially if you disregard the instructions (at your own risk) and used lump charcoal. Also, the temperatures are a bit tamer than a regular charcoal barbeque so the food has longer to absorb smoky goodness.

  11. [...] ability to act as a smoker.  I was partly inspired by the fact that google searches related to my first Cobb post have sent a significant percentage of the traffic to Food With Legs (give the readers what they [...]

  12. [...] with my Cobb cooker seem to have struck a chord with Google searchers.  I’ve used it to grill burgers, smoke ham and two types of bacon.  Next up for the miniature barbeque was an application I have [...]

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