Jake Frith braves a chilly April evening with the CasusGrill to see if it cooks as well as its rivals
The phrase ‘cardboard barbecue’ has a curious ring to it, not dissimilar to ‘chocolate teapot’.
However, as a big fan of all things new and innovative, I just had to take a look at the CasusGrill, brainchild of Danish inventors Susanne & Carsten Brøgger.
So, my son and I headed out to the river on the first mild-ish evening in April.
Too early to have any boats on the water yet, we travelled with wheelbarrow (a highly underrated vehicle for an overland picnic) via field and hedgerow to the upper reaches of the river Hamble, packing the Bestway Fast Blast 12’6” inflatable SuP, along with folding chairs and our bodyweight in meat products for the full beachside experience.
The big sell of the CasusGrill is the environmental credentials.
It’s all biodegradable, apart from the lava stone base part- but that’s apparently easy to break up and lose down the garden for ‘soil improvement’.
The briquettes and grill dowels are bamboo.
Calling anything that is disposable ‘sustainable’ and speculating what chemicals one has to treat cardboard with to prevent it ever catching fire opens multiple cans of worms I don’t fancy tucking into at any barbecue.
For me though- someone who like 99% of reasonable adults does not leave barbecue rubbish anywhere, whether it’s aluminium or cardboard, the sustainability and biodegradability aren’t central considerations.
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The big sell for me is that it is completely waterproof when still in its packaging.
This is an important consideration when heading beachward of an evening in an inflatable tender.
Unlike other disposable barbies, the CasusGrill is vacuum sealed in a foil backed plastic pack that inhales audibly when ripped open- so you could swim to your barbecue, and still have a barbecue.
It comes with Ikea-style pictorial instructions, the key stage of which involves picking four little catches out of the main tray.
I found these very fiddly and would recommend picking them out with a pointed blade if you have one handy.
We had only about five knots of wind on our riverside beach, nevertheless getting the barbecue to light with matches was a chore.
We ultimately used the aforementioned wheelbarrow on its side as an excellent windbreak. Next time, bring blowtorch!
Once lit it cooked food well, its smoke seemed much less offensive to eyes and lungs than charcoal and it seemed to do everything at least as well as its competitors would.
The CasusGrill is supposed to stay at cooking temperature for an hour, although after 30 minutes I found that meatier objects near the edges of the grill weren’t cooking as fast as they had been at the start, although our group of two was done with eating by that point.
Then came another CasusGrill benefit that its marketers don’t seem to have identified yet.
It is cool to the touch, or the outside parts of it are, even when burgers are sizzling on it.
This is a useful feature, because once we can eat no more, nobody wants to wait for a barbecue to cool naturally.
Any metal barbecue will get incredibly hot and can be difficult to manage, but the CasusGrill was benign and cool enough for a nine year old to carefully pick it up by hand, while still alight, and lower it gently into the river for a satisfyingly sizzly extinguishment, with no fear of damage to him or the PVC paddleboard.
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