I find myself a bachelor for the next few weeks while SWMBO and the kids are off vacationing with Auntie. As such, unless I am cooking for several meals or guests, the menus will need to be scaled down for the next few weeks.
However, this does give me the opportunity to pull out some of my other toys and play around with small meals and cooking techniques. So today I pulled out the 8″ Pyromid cooker and grilled up a pita burger for lunch. Using a whopping 4 briquettes. That’s right, even fewer than Larry over at BBQ Grail used in his charcoal chimney grill the other day.
For those of you not familiar with the Pyromid cooking systems (likely that would be most of you since the company went out of business over 10 years ago), here’s a practical guide.
Today’s cook was with the 8″ Pyromid. It starts out life folded up in a nice little nylon carry sack. The whole thing is less than an inch high when folded and in the bag.
All the parts fold up and fit inside the base, and are then held in place with the grill. The 8″ model didn’t come with a cover, so you do have to keep an eye on it for flare ups, and it isn’t the greatest cooker in the wind (easily remedied with a windscreen, but again, not something ever provided by the company).
The base is stainless steel and has a couple of folding stands made from galvanized steel rod stock. Assembly begins by unfolding the vented middle section (also stainless steel) and placing it inside the base unit. The walls of the base hold this in place, and the cooker is surprisingly stable.
Next the top section (more stainless) is unfolded and the smaller end placed inside the middle section.
Originally the cookers all came with special foil inserts cut to fit. I still have some around, but went to using a standard piece of foil with these long ago. Probably a good thing, since the company went out of business… The idea here is to keep the cooker clean; the other advantage the foil adds is that you can cut the airflow by simply not poking very big holes in the base. The cooker will work without foil, but the cleanup is harder, and lighting the charcoal takes a bit more fuel.
The charcoal grill nests in the top section on top of the foil. Supposedly this is part of the patents; this particular configuration of holes allows you to set individual briquettes vertically and provides airflow that maximizes heat transfer over time. If you want more of the science, jump over to the Pyromid website and ” target=”_blank”>read through the documentation. Here all you get is a picture…
Here’s what it all looks like when fully assembled.
To start the charcoal you use about 1/2 of a firestarter stick. You can find these at just about anyplace that sells camping equipment. The next time I do this I am going to try some fatwood instead; the firestarter sticks are too close to using lighter fluid to me and make me wonder who is going to bust me for promoting a BBQ no-no. Although no discernible taste transfered to the meat, I would prefer to use some thing more natural and I’m not going to fire up the charcoal chimney for four briquettes. Besides, that would defeat the portability of this unit.
Once the firestarted is lit, you load the cooker with charcoal. All four briquettes. Try not to wear yourself out. The briquettes are set vertically; you can do them horizontally but they don’t seem to burn as hot. Might be great for slow cooking, but not what you want for this grill…
Since I had no desire to thaw a whole chub of hamburger and had some frozen burgers around that need to be used up anyway, a frozen patty was retrieved from the freezer and put on the grill once the firestarted was completely gone and the charcoal was covered with ash.
The burger was done in about 10 minutes; it would have been sooner but I was fooling around with the foil to see how it affected the airflow and slowed the process down. I cut the pita in half and put it on the edge of the grill the last minute or so just to heat it up a bit.
The burger was then cut in half and stuffed in the pita with some mustard, thin-sliced extra sharp white cheddar cheese, sliced tomato, pickle, and the rest of the butter lettuce from LizBob’s garden (time to go visit again).
Not bad for a quick lunch on a Saturday using four briquettes. Better yet, there wasn’t very much clean-up involved…