Every now and again something new comes along that stands out from the crowd of products doomed to a short life in the Innovations catalogue. The Grilliput is a very neat, very well machined do-it-yourself BBQ. On first acquaintance it appears to be a fairly heavy shiny metal tube with a few small holes in it. Unscrewing the end however reveals where the weight comes from. Inside is a second tube that sits snugly within its parent and plays host to a collection of further metalwork. I had a fiar amount of fun presenting it to selected geeky friends with a challenge to work out what it was, and how to assemble it.
I shan't go into the detail of its assembly suffice to say that it is straightforward once you have the hang of it. We sat one rainy morning racing each other whilst the rain hammered the windows outside. 1 minute 47 seconds was the record (4 minutes 52 blindfolded!).
Once erected it is important to tighten up the threads to make the whole structure rigid. Once that's done it's ready to use, a 23cm by 26cm area for cooking, some 10 cm from the floor on which it stands on 4 rigid legs. It performed perfectly adequately as a BBQ, especially when used in conjunction with its companion fire bowl which is basically a basic retractable steamer available from any Chinese supermarket (but without the holes drilled in it).
More importantly was how easy it was to clean. The whole point of this gadget is that it packs away into its own holder so it would be rendered useless if the dirtied components failed to slot back inside the main tube. Cleverly the designers have included a shallow groove in the end of the smaller tube for cleaning the individual grill bars. Unfortunately this groove is a fraction of a millimetre too large to make it much use, the actual grooves used for assembly proving to be a better cleaning point! In reality the grooves only do some much cleaning of a greasy piece of metal and it was necessary to rub each piece down with a scourer to clean them properly. This required very little effort. Once dry the whole lot packed back together like a dream
My only gripe is that it is a pretty weighty piece of kit. At 560g it would make me think twice before taking it on a lightweight camping trip. Perhaps a Titanium version is in order, though this would no doubt be very pricy. Also worth noting is that the three short legs on the fire bowl do not unscrew which is a shame as the concept of space saving seems to have been over looked.
All in all, at £22.49 (plus an extra £11.69 for the fire bowl) it will make plenty of people happy at Christmas when they feel their stocking and struggle to guess what the long, hard tube inside is.
A definite thumbs up for originality and pretty good marks for practicality.