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Our primal ancestors were comfortable cooking over a flame, and that tradition is alive and well even in the modern era. But while some people learned how to grill at their father’s side, the secrets of cooking with flame passed down through the generations, I was not. I have to confess: I’m not comfortable cooking over a grill.
Or, at least, I wasn’t comfortable until I tried The Spark Grill, which is designed so well that for once I wasn’t worried about losing my eyebrows or burning down my balcony.
This impressive and beautiful grill is designed to give you the smokey taste of a charcoal grill with the temperature control of a gas grill, all for the not-low price of $1,000. Does it deliver? Yes. But is it worth it? Keep reading my full Spark Grill review to find out. If you’re as impressed as I was, then you’ll want to order this innovative grill while it’s on sale. For the Fourth of July weekend, you can save $200 on Spark Grills and enjoy free shipping — and this sale has been extended for a little while longer.
Read More: Turn Up the Heat With the Best Grill Gloves
The Spark Grill Design
The Spark Grill’s design is unique in that it isn’t a gas grill, but it gives you complete control over the temperature like a gas grill does. It’s charcoal-powered using Briqs, Spark’s in-house charcoal bricks. It quite literally only takes the turn of a dial to power up, and once it’s on you don’t have to tend to the fire to keep the temperature where you want it. A system of internal fans turn on and off to lower or raise the temperature depending on what you set. They also work to cool down the grill after you’re done cooking and help the parts internally reach equilibrium once again.
About The Spark Grill
The Spark Grill comes in a few different packages, with differing amounts of Briqs and added accessories like a pizza tray and cutting board. For my Spark Grill review, I received the Chef’s Package which comes with:
- The Spark Grill
- A selection of Briqs
- A pizza paddle and cooking surface
- A premium cutting board
- Two temperature probes
- A grill cover
For the average user, I’d recommend their Essentials Package, which comes with the grill and a selection of Briqs. It costs just over $1,000 and is what all of the purchase links in this piece will link to.
- 250-900 degree Fahrenheit temperature range
- Wide cast iron grill grates for caramelization and temperature regulation
- Single-use, no-mess charcoal Briqs for easy cleanup
- 386 square inches of cooking surface (16.3 x 23.7 inches)
- 15-foot power cord
- Porcelain-Enameled, Double-Wall Insulated Kettle: The grill’s top keeps all the heat in when closed and is made to efficiently conduct temperature during and after a cook
- Briqs: The all-natural charcoal fuel inside the drawer, made of a blend of hardwoods. Briqs come in four different varieties designed for different burn times:
- Quick Briqs: 30-45 minutes of burn time between 450-600 degrees Fahrenheit, perfect for weeknight dinners
- Low & Slow Briqs: 6-8 hours of turn time at 250-350 degrees Fahrenheit, great for smoking and low BBQ cooks
- Everyday: 60-90 minutes of burn time, 500-700 degrees Fahrenheit, great for grilling for a party
- High Heat: 30-40 minutes of grill time at 600-900 degrees Fahrenheit, designed for restaurant-grade searing and cooking pizza
- Easy-to-Use Temperature Dial: Ten minutes after you turn on the dial, the grill is fully heated and ready to use. After that, choose your desired temperature and turn it off when you’re done.
- Very easy, and safe, to turn on and light
- Adjusting temperature before and during cooking is simple
- Large evenly heated cooking surface
- The thick, porcelain hood keeps the heat contained and looks sleek from the outside
- Whole grill comes in a cart that makes it easy to move
- Briqs are very easy to insert and clean up afterward
- Grill turns off quickly and cools down fast
- 100-day risk-free trial
- Requires the purchase of Briqs to operate, not just an upfront cost, and they’re more expensive than charcoal
- Straightforward to assemble, but still took time and a few tools that didn’t come with the grill
- Requires connection to an outlet for a power cord
- Doesn’t have as large of a cooking surface as other grills, but is perfect for households with 2-3 people
How SPY Tested the Spark Grill
As SPY’s Senior E-Commerce Editor, I’ve been testing the Spark Grill at home for close to two months. I’ve used the Quick Briqs the most since they suit weeknight grilling the best. I’ve also used the Everyday Briqs and Low & Slow ones as well to cook everything from turkey burgers to corn, chicken skewers and salmon. The Spark Grill has yielded impressive results with everything and made grilling a far less intimidating and time-consuming task.
During testing, we were specifically judging the Spark Grill based on the following criteria:
- Functionality: Does it cook food in a timely, effective manner? Do the features it’s purported to have perform as expected?
- Ease of Use: Are the temperature controls reliable? If you follow a few steps, does the grill turn on, off and adjust the heat?
- Quality: This grill is expensive, so is it worth the price?
Setting Up The Spark Grill
Assembling the Spark Grill was a process. They have a helpful, easy-to-follow video on their website, but it still required effort, a few tools that weren’t included and some handyman savvy to get it constructed. I accomplished it on my own, but I’d recommend two people to help the process go as smoothly as possible.
The Spark Grill team set up a call with me to walk me through turning the grill on and off and changing the temperature while using it. I’m very intimidated by grilling but after using the Spark Grill for the first time, I have way more confidence in the process and look forward to grilling more.
Using The Spark Grill
The dial has three modes you turn between — lighting, on and off. Once you’re in the “on” mode, you turn a smaller part of the dial to change the temperature.
After plugging in the grill, inserting a Briq into the tray, turning the dial to the right to light it and letting it heat for 5-10 minutes, you’re ready to go. Each Briq has a thin layer of alcohol on it that helps ignite the initial spark and burns off way quicker than standard lighter fluid does.
The light temperature indicators on the dial are very easy to read, and if you change the temperature there are two separate lights for your set temperature and the temperature the grill is at currently.
Cooking With The Spark Grill
The Spark Grill is excellent to cook with. The cast-iron grates get very hot and evenly distribute heat so there are few “cold” spots on the grill. I’ve found that the heat accurately raises and lowers in accordance with the dial, and if you swipe some avocado or olive oil on the grates before adding food very few things stick. The grates also have a drip tray, which means any food that falls isn’t lost to the fiery pits forever.
After a few times using the Spark I’ve become so comfortable cooking over extreme heat I’ve almost burned myself a few times. The grill gives you so much control you start to feel invincible and need a not-so-gentle reminder that the surface in front of you is in fact heated to 500 degrees.
Once you’re done cooking your meal, all you need to do is turn the dial to the “off” mode and leave it plugged in to let it cool off. This is one of my favorite parts of the Spark — you don’t need to tend to it after you’re done cooking. When it’s off, it’s off. When I’m done cooking and I can unplug and walk away from it without worrying it’s going to light something on fire or self-combust.
Emptying the tray with the burned Briq also requires minimal effort and is much cleaner than dealing with regular charcoal.
The Spark Grill Verdict: Should You Get One?
This grill is not cheap. It’s $1,000, plus the upfront and continuous cost of the Briqs. It does offer perks over other grills, especially cheaper charcoal ones that have very little temperature regulation, but it’s definitely pricier than many consumers want to spend.
This price is comparable to many grills that are larger and offer a larger cooking surface than this grill, but they don’t offer the same when it comes to smokey, charcoal-fueled flavor. This is the grill to get if you are willing to invest as a grilling beginner. But if you have a preference for gas grills or already own a grill you like, you may enjoy aspects of the Spark Grill but you should probably opt for something else.
The Spark Grill lives up to the expectations created by its price tag and operates very efficiently. It’s expensive, but it’s a great option for the right cook/amateur grillmaster.