Every now and again, something unique catches your eye and you can’t help but be fascinated by it. Last year, I remember seeing a picture of the Arteflame grill for the first time. I will be the first to admit, when I saw that picture, I could imagine this grill being a focal point on my patio someday with logs of wood burning bright in the center. I was officially intrigued. It is a charcoal or wood burning grill, it’s a plancha, it is a fire-bowl, it is a functional piece of art.
As a fan of grills of all different styles, I love the Arteflame because it is a multitude of grills in one. You have the option of using charcoal, wood, or both to create the heat source. The cook-top, which resembles a flat donut with a hole in the middle, is made from 1⁄2 inch thick high-carbon steel which rests atop a steel fire bowl. The bowl is made from Corten steel, an architectural steel, also known as “weathering steel”. This Corten steel is a group of steel alloys which form a stable rust-like appearance and eliminates the need for painting. This makes for a durable and beautiful product which is built to last, and the Arteflame can be left outside year- round. All Arteflame grills are manufactured in Cincinnati, Ohio.
The Arteflame grills are available in a variety of different styles and sizes in to satisfy a variety of personal preferences and budgets. The Classic and Euro styles are the largest diameter cook-top at 40 inches. The One Series is currently available in a 20, 30, or 40 inch diameter grill surface.
Additional bases are available in different heights and styles. In addition to the grills, Arteflame also came out with inserts for kamado style grills such as the Big Green Egg and Kamado Joe, and for the Weber Kettles, which are available with or without a center grate. These inserts are made from 3/8 inch carbon steel. Most recently, the company added a rotisserie attachment for their 40 inch models which I have yet to try. Keep an eye out on the Arteflame website, for their innovative new accessories.
Using the Arteflame is easy, but upon arrival, there are just a few steps you should take to prepare your grill for its first cook. As with any new grill, there is always a learning curve. Before your first use, you need to “season” the cook-top. The cook- top will appear silver (unseasoned) when it arrives. I treated the surface of my Arteflame in a similar manner to cast iron. I built a fire in the center of the grill, and proceeded to take some cooking oil on a cloth and rub a light coating of into the surface.
Before cooking, after using the grill as a fire-bowl, or after I finish cooking and cleaning off the surface, I always wipe it down again with the oil. Over time, the surface will develop a nice blackened seasoned nonstick surface. To clean the Arteflame, you simply scrape any residual bits of food into the fire in the center. If there is any food stuck on the grill surface, I carefully will pour a small amount of water on the grill surface which will cause the food to bubble off of the surface, and that can then be scraped into the fire.
Water on a hot surface will steam and be incredibly hot, so use caution as you would around any hot surface. The surface has a slight towards the center, and any liquid on the grill surface will run towards the middle and not towards the outer perimeter of the grill.
I have tried starting a fire different ways in my Arteflame. I have the largest grill they make, the Classic 40. It is your choice whether you just burn charcoal, charcoal and wood, or purely wood. I prefer to get a chimney of charcoal lit in the center, and after the charcoal is hot, pour it into the center. If not using the chimney, I light some of the charcoal with my blowtorch or ignite some charcoal starter blocks within the charcoal.
I then arrange my logs of wood over the hot coals. I like this approach because even as the wood burns down you can keep your fire going for quite some time with the charcoal, especially if it is a nice size lump charcoal. If you are burning solely wood, light some smaller logs on the bottom and arrange larger ones on top of those.
The grill surface temperature will vary (usually anywhere from 250-600F) depending how you build your fire. I usually push some of my hot coals or wood under a specific edge of the grill in order to get my nice hot searing temps over 500 degrees. If you are grilling on top of the grill insert that fits over the hole in the center of the Arteflame, that surface will be extremely hot with the fire sitting directly below.
Part of the beauty of the Arteflame is that I can sear food on the outer grill surface to get a nice crust or I can grill directly over the flames on the optional grill grate to produce beautiful grill marks. I have even put a pot on the center grill grate to fry or boil food so I don’t have to do it in my house. Honestly there isn’t much I haven’t cooked on my Arteflame. Not only can you cook food directly on the surface, but I also enjoy cooking with cast iron and my stainless steel skillets on the Arteflame. The Classic 40 is large enough to cook multiple types of food and styles at the same time.
I am often asked about the pros and cons of the grills I own. In the end, I love the versatility, the beauty, and the social aspect of the Arteflame. It is fun having multiple people standing around it talking and taking part in the cooking experience with me. Sometimes I just light a fire and use it as a fire pit. I have enjoyed many nights sitting around it making s’mores with my family and friends. Really the only downfall I can think of is when it is raining outside, but that is a risk you run with any open fire pit that you grill on. Due to the durability of the Arteflame, it can be left outside year round. Bottom line, I genuinely enjoy the Arteflame grill and highly recommend it.
Interested in more information or purchasing your own Arteflame? Visit www.arteflame.com.
Disclosure: I was not paid for this product review but was provided with my grill for review. I will not promote a product I do not truly believe in.