Today we’re excited to introduce you to a new series, hosted by our very own Evan Forester. It’s called, “Becoming a Backyard BBQ Master” and follows Evan on his quest to go from zero to hero with his backyard BBQ skills. We think it’s going to be fun!

Hi everyone! And welcome to the first episode of Becoming a Backyard BBQ Master.

My name is Evan Forester, and here are my credentials for hosting a Backyard BBQ Master show:

  • I have a backyard.

That’s about it! I have used a grill before, but just for burgers and hot dogs. I’ve never even tried to grill a steak. I certainly have never smoked anything before.

All that being said, I enjoy cooking and I love food. I figured now was a great time to learn, and I’d love to invite you on this journey! Make sure to watch the video, or you can read the story below:

Unboxing the Primo Grill

First things first, I had to take my dysfunctional gas grill to the curb and set up my new Kamado style grill. I chose the Primo XL 400 – it’s large (really large) and oval shaped. It’s got a few features I already like and will explain below.

Set-up was pretty easy, but it is a two person job. The cart was very nice to put together and didn’t take too much skill. You only need two tools and it took us less than 30 minutes. You could do the cart on your own, but it will take more time and be difficult to line things up.

Where you really will need help is lifting the large ceramic grill into the cart. The Primo XL 400 is a beast. We managed with two people, but to be honest three would have been easier.

My biggest mistake was setting up the grill at 2pm on the 4th of July. It was crazy hot outside, but I really didn’t have a choice. We were hosting people that evening and I had to cook burgers and brats! If you set up your own grill, make sure you do it when the weather is cooler. Alternatively, if your order a Primo from Cutting Edge Firewood, our delivery artisans can set it up for you!

Unboxing my Primo XL 400 Grill

The kit I chose included:

  • The Primo Grill
  • The Cart
  • The Cast Iron Divider (this enables you to have your heat source on only one side of the grill)
  • Heat Deflector Plates (these enable indirect heat cooking)
  • Heat Deflector rack (these hold the deflector plates)

Ultimately, choosing the size of your primo and the different pieces you want depends on what you want to do. Out of the box, the grill includes everything you need for basic grilling, but the extras are really nice and give you more freedom. If you have questions, our customer support team would be happy to help.

What I like about the Primo

There are several things I liked about the Primo – some before I even cooked with it!

First, you can tell it is a high quality grill. My old gas grill was in seriously bad shape, so this was a very quick upgrade. It’s nice to that the grill is made in the USA – as far as I know the Primo is the only ceramic grill with that claim to fame.

Second, I love the size. It’s big and makes no apologies about it. We love hosting crowds of people at our home, so this gives us a lot of flexibility to cook for large groups. Part of the genius, however, is their oval shape and split design. If I’m cooking for just a couple people, I can get the coals and cooking chunks going on one side of the grill and leave the other empty. I won’t waste charcoal and it’s less clean-up.

It’s also super-flexible. I can cook close to the heat on one side, and far from the heat on the other. I can easily move certain items from indirect heat to direct heat instantly.

I’m sure as the series goes on, I’ll find more things to like about this grill!

My First Cook

For my first cook on the Primo, I kept things simple and stuck with what I know. I cooked burgers and brats.

I used Royal Oak hardwood lump charcoal and some hickory chunks from Cutting Edge Firewood. I used my cast iron divider so all the direct heat was on one side (see image below). This allowed me to reverse sear the burgers.

two zone cooking

What is reverse sear? Basically, it’s a technique where you cook the burgers on indirect heat for a few minutes. This lower temperature warms up and cooks the burger without drying it out. Once done, you move the burger to the direct heat side of the grill and cook it at a high temperature to give the burger a crispy exterior while keeping the juices inside.

I took a similar approach to the bratwursts as well. The direct heat gave them a crispy exterior while the indirect heat allowed it to take on the smoke flavor and cook through.

The Primo Grill is large

I was excited to compare my previous efforts on the gas grill with the primo. I noticed the difference immediately.

The smoky flavor of the hickory was surprisingly noticeable. Hickory provides strong flavor and may be too much for some (cherry, oak, and pecan are all less intense flavors), but I love bold flavors. They tasted great!

What really made me happy was the results of the turkey burgers. In general, I’m not a fan of turkey burgers, but someone brought them so I threw them on the grill. They were frozen and I added nothing to them flavor wise.

And then one of the guests at the party started raving about the best turkey burger she had ever eaten. “What did you do to make this taste so good? Normally I eat turkey burgers because they’re healthy, but I miss the flavor of beef. These taste great!”

It was the hickory, of course.

Needless to say, I had a great first experience with the Primo, but I kept it simple. My journey to becoming a Backyard BBQ Master has a long way to go, but it’s fun to get started!

On the next episode, I’m going to attempt to smoke something for the first time in my life: a 9 pound pork butt. Stay tuned!