The Chef's Anvil is the iconic centrepiece for almost any Grillo kitchen. Bringing people together around food & flames.
Why Anvil?An anvil is the key component of any blacksmith’s work. Almost everything a blacksmith creates will be shaped and formed on its versatile worksurface.
The Chef’s Anvil is inspired by this. It is more than just a very versatile cooking tool; it is a dramatic and intriguing centrepiece, on which food is formed by fire. It is theatrical cooking at its best, as you will discover from the crowd of people it draws whenever you fire it up.
What is it?
A heavy-gauge mild steel cooking ring sits atop a broad fire bowl and tapered steel pedestal. It runs on hardwood logs, and can be used as either a barbeque or firepit. A steel cover and a range of accessories are supplied with it.
What is it used for?
Sometimes, the simpler you make something, the more functional it becomes. The Anvil is as at home cooking for 2 on a lazy afternoon as it is being run by 3 chefs catering for an event crowd. The 1.2m Chef’s Anvil has 3.5x the cooking area of a standard charcoal barbeque, and it’s heat output is limited only by the size of the fire you can build in the middle. This presents the aspiring chef with a huge range of options when it comes to cooking on it.
Its large fire bowl also makes it very effective as a firepit, keeping a crowd of people warm on even the chilliest winter evenings.
How do you use it?
The Anvil works by pushing glowing coals from the central fire under the edge of the cooking surface. With a sufficiently large fire, the inner edge of the cooking surface can reach over 350C, whilst the outer edge will rarely exceed 100C. This variance in temperature, combined with a huge cooking surface (about 2.5 - 3.5 times larger than a standard charcoal barbeque, depending which size Anvil is chosen) gives immense versatility. For example, a dozen steaks could be seared simultaneously over very high heat on one half of the barbeque, and as the smaller steaks are cooked they can be moved to a cooler side (with less or no coals) to keep warm. Larger pieces that will burn before cooking through can be moved towards the outer edge to slow their cooking.
We recommend firing the Chef’s Anvil on hardwood logs. Almost any hardwood will work, but we’ve found oak to be particularly good. It produces glowing embers that last a lot longer than other hardwoods. Typically the good size fire should be lit an hour before cooking. During cooking it’s best to keep a fire burning at all times (flaming rather than smouldering), primarily to maintain heat, but also to reduce smoke.
you can cook
What can be cooked on it?
Almost anything, with a bit of creativity! It is similar in principle to a hotplate, but you’re unlikely to find your local kebab van using one.
The most obvious use for the ‘hotplate’ is searing and frying. Thin cuts of meat and fish (steaks, sausages, bacon, burgers, kebabs, prawns, salmon fillets) will cook up fine, as will a wide variety of vegetables (asparagus, onions, mushrooms, peppers, hashbrowns). Fried eggs work well; break them into a sliced bell pepper ring to make sure they don’t run away. For a desert with a twist, fruit also cooks well.
The ‘hotplate’ can be used a hob - saucepans heat well on it. Avoid ones with plastic handles, obviously… Baked beans for a fried breakfast, parboil your carrots before sizzling them in butter, heat mulled wine at Christmas, hot cheese dip for your seared asparagus, warm caramel sauce to go with your fruit desert.
It can also be used for keeping things warm. It’s not often you need the entire cooking surface, and part of the plate that doesn’t have hot embers near or under it can be used for warming. Bread can be warmed at the side, meats and vegetables can be kept warm without overcooking, wooden serving boards with snacks on can be left on the edge.
In addition to the ‘hotplate’ you can cook churrasco-style, with the direct heat of the fire. Churrasco barbeque has its history in South American gauchos who would gather to butcher a cow and grill the meat in large chunks on skewers over a communal fire. The Anvil comes with a large churrasco skewer and holder, enabling you to try your hand at gaucho barbeque. Traditionally seasoned only with coarse salt, the meat takes on a subtle smokiness and has an incredible flavour.
For a campfire approach, food can be wrapped and put straight into the embers of the fire. Corn cobs and whole potatoes can be wrapped thoroughly in foil and left in the fire until cooked. Or try our recipe for lomo al trapo - a whole fillet joint baked in salt in the centre of the fire.
Or try something completely different. Clean it up cold and use the flat metal surface to make fudge (we haven’t tried this). Bake some bread on it (same; keep it thin, though).
Lastly, don’t forget that open fires are ideal for toasting marshmallows! For more ideas, check our slowly evolving recipes page.
MaintenanceUse it! The best way to protect your Anvil is to use it frequently. Just like any other barbeque, the accumulation of cooked on juices and polymerised oils forms a tough protective barrier. This prevents water from directly contacting the cooking surface, thereby discouraging rust. A few rust spots may form; this is not a problem if the general guidelines outlined below are followed:
Preserve the bare steel by keeping it oiled
Before each use, once the steel cooking surface is hot, it should be oiled and scraped. Pour a little cooking oil onto the surface and thoroughly rub it down with a wad of paper towels. Repeat until the entire cooking surface is oiled. Then scrape the surface down thoroughly with a scraper. It is likely you will need the barbeque gloves for both tasks. At this point any rust spots will have disappeared, and the surface will be ready for cooking on.
After each use, repeat the steps outlined above. Once cooled, put on the waterproof cover. If you are unlikely to use your Anvil again for a long period of time (eg. leaving it over winter) it’s worth applying another coat of oil once it has completely cooled.
Like any other barbeque/hob/etc, it is possible that someone may burn themselves touching the Anvil. We have used the Anvil at many events, both with and without children.
What we’ve found is that if there is a small amount of food cooking on the Anvil at all times, it is very obvious to anyone the surface is hot. Carrots are a good choice as they will last for hours on an area of lower heat without overcooking.