I have a first-rate conventional gas grill at home, but for summer entertaining, I tend to favor my Evo Flattop Grill for cooking. The Evo is a big, circular griddle, and because it doesn’t really have a front and a back, it encourages people to gather around it and participate in the cooking.
Two concentric burners under the 30-inch-diameter cooking surface can pump out 48,000 Btu. But they’re hidden from view and never come in contact with the food, so grease flare-ups aren’t an issue. The top is slightly convex, directing drippings to the encircling grease trap.
You can crank the griddle up to 630°F, plenty hot enough to make a stir-fry or sear a piece of meat. Or you can dial it way back to gently heat up a bunch of tortillas. The big cooking surface is perfect for several pizzas, rows of kebabs, or a double batch of pancakes. By covering food such as fish or vegetables with a tall lid (I use the top of my turkey roasting pan), the Evo becomes a baker. Or you can sprinkle a few chunks of hardwood on the griddle, cover it with the Evo’s big lid, and create a smoker. You can even use pots and pans on it.
The Evo isn’t perfect. It won’t impart that smoky backdrop to foods cooked with real wood charcoal (but neither will it drive guests away with smoke clouds). The huge lid can be cumbersome, and it could use a loop on its rim for hanging. And it’s expensive. At $2,600 for the 30-inch standalone model, the Evo is among the more expensive grills.
To learn more about Evos, visit Evogrill.com.