One thing that’s hard about moving around the world is changing grills so often. Unless, you get a grill spotless, customs has issues with moving it across continents. We’re nearing retirement now, so I just invested in a STOK Quattro Grill…more on it in a moment.
My first grill was a cheapy, but lasted a few good stateside moves. I remember my first meal on that grill; I had no idea how to BBQ. I slathered up some chicken parts in BBQ sauce, cranked the grill to high and threw them on the grates. They caught on fire and were burnt to a crisp. I tried to serve them to my newlywed husband, and when he took his first bite, they were raw inside. My how times have changed. (“Thank God!” my husband interjects.)
I later invested in both an expensive grill that had a hard line connection to the gas line at our house and an extra large smoker, but I couldn’t take them with me to Europe. So in Belgium, I bought another crappy grill and a tiny smoker. We left both there and gave them to our Belgian neighbors.
When we moved to Texas, at first we settled with another cheap grill. A good grill really can make all the difference. We may have only spent $100 on the grill, but we easily ruined $100 in meat because the grill didn’t cook evenly. The steaks were far from restaurant quality.
So finally I talked my husband into an upgrade. After a lot of research, we decided on the STOK Quattro Grill. STOK stands for “Special Technology in Outdoor Kitchens.” This grill is only available at Home Depot and sells for $299, but Home Depot always offers a 10% military discount. The grill is created by Ryobi, the company who has made quality tools for years.
What do tools have to do with grills? Well, according to the STOK facebook page, “STOK is part of the TTI family (responsible for RYOBI, RIDIGD Power Tools, and Milwaukee). We are always looking for new challenges, so we decided to bring the innovation we are known for in Power Tools over to grills.”
Like many high-quality grills, the STOK Quattro has 4 individually controlled burners and 450 square inches of cooking space. It has an attractive sturdy stainless steel exterior and lots of cabinet space inside with spice racks and shelves.
What makes this grill stand above the rest though are all of its unique gadgets. It came with three interchangeable inserts: a vegetable tray, a pizza stone and a griddle.
Since it was Memorial Day, we quickly assembled the grill, which was quite easy with two people, one being my handy husband. We cranked this baby right up and grilled some rib-eyes. They were the best steaks we’ve had in years.
I’ve always wanted an outdoor pizza oven, so the stone was the first insert I tried. Using my recipe for Italian Pizza Dough, I made breakfast pizza.
I rolled the dough out, formed an edge and topped it with seasoned eggs, cheese and chorizo.
Then, I slid it onto the preheated, cornmeal dusted pizza stone and grilled it until the crust was crispy on the edges and the eggs were cooked through.
It was so good.
We had some leftover steak from the night before, so next I used the vegetable tray to make fajitas, and at the same time, I used the griddle to make quesadillas. This grill is so versatile.
I was having so much fun, that I went back to Home Depot and bought two other inserts: the chicken roaster and the kabob and rib rack.
The center of the chicken roaster fits a soda or beer can, but I wanted wine chicken, so I emptied out a can of enchilada sauce and it fit perfectly.
I rubbed the chicken down with Herbes de Provence and filled the can with white wine, butter and more herbs.
Next, it was time to test the kabob and rib rack. I seasoned two slabs of ribs and a whole brisket with Zestuous Rub and slid them right in the racks. After a few hours on indirect heat, they were the best ribs I’ve ever made.
Today, I put the grill to its final test. My STOK is a grill, a pizza oven, a griddle, a wok…but can it replace my smoker? That’s what I aimed to find out.
I soaked some mesquite chips in water. Then, I poured them into the vegetable tray and inserted it into the grill. I topped the chips with the bottom of the rib rack turned upside down.
My extra large smoker was awesome because it had a side box where the wood burned and the smoke moved through the barrel, cooking the meat indirectly at a temperature between 250-275 degrees.
By placing the wood chips in one side and the meat on the other, I was able to create the same effect with my STOK. And with four burners, I could monitor the heat to keep the temperature where I needed it. I turned the left two burners on low. The temperature reached about 325, but if I just used one burner, the temperature dropped to 225, so I went with the two burners. When I closed the lid, smoke filled the inside, but easily escaped out the sides and back.
After a 2-3 hours, my smoked skirt steak, tasted just like it does on my big smoker. But the icing on the cake…or should I say, the sauce on the BBQ…is that because of how I prepare my skirt steak, this grill was even better than my smoker.
I always smoke my skirt steak first, and then I grill it on high, to sear in that buttery flavor from the natural skirt steak fat. I could smoke it and grill it on all my STOK. Awesome!
My only complaint about this grill is that when it catches a wind gust, it starts to make a whooshing sound. The only way to stop this is to turn the burner off and then back on. However, within minutes, it starts doing it again. It doesn’t seem to affect the cooking, it’s just kind of loud and annoying.
The other thing the grill is lacking is hooks to hang utensils. We adapted and added our own, so all is good. And STOK thought of everything else when it comes to storage.
You can slide the kabob skewers into the side holes.
The insert removal tool also hangs on the holes.
And as I mentioned, the inside has shelves for the inserts and a spice rack.
Other pros: the grill has four wheels, so you can move it around your patio on windy days. Then, you can lock down the wheels, so it doesn’t get away from you. And clean up is a breeze. Because all of the inserts are removable, they can be easily rinsed off under the faucet or with a hose. And the container that catches drippings is very easy to access and clean.
If you can’t tell by now, I love this grill. If it wasn’t so darn hot this time of year in Texas, I would probably cook every meal on my STOK Quattro.