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Testing the LotusGrill barbecue – our LotusGrill review

We’ve been promising to review the LotusGrill barbecue ever since we thoroughly road-tested the Cobb

So here we are. Did it prove to be smokeless? Did it really only take three minutes to get to cooking temperature? Read on….

Latest update: August 2020

Lotus Grill

First of all, what’s a LotusGrill?

It’s a fan-assisted barbecue (battery-operated) that promises it’s ready for cooking just three minutes after lighting. It’s also claimed to be healthier because fat can’t drip onto the coals and burn.

Lotus GrillLike the Cobb, the outside doesn’t get hot, so you can move it around and stand it on a table. Don’t underestimate how nice it is to cook while looking at your guests rather than having to tend a barbecue off to the side! A fan built into 

the body supplies the charcoal with air. There’s an on-off switch that doubles as heat control.

Lotus Grill

Which LotusGrill model?

The standard model (shown here in orange) weighs 3.7kg and the cooking grid measures 320mm. Included in the kit are batteries and a carrying bag. A set including tools, bag and so on should cost you around £145.

The XL LotusGrill has a 405mm cooking area and weighs 6.5kg. It’s designed for up to 10 people, apparently (much depends on appetite!). A set is around £210.

Then, there’s the 21kg monster – the XXL LotusGrill, with a 600mm diameter top and enough room for food for a crowd. This one is so big it comes with its own wheely stand.

The LotusGrill Mini is aimed at couples and backpackers. It has a 225mm cooking area and weighs just 2kg. This little one will cook for up to an hour. It’s small enough to be powered by USB.

Accessories for your LotusGrill

Lots of ways to cook, including a pizza stone and teppanyaki plate, domed grill hood and a glass lid (both with built-in thermometers). Plus, a fondue set, tongs and a cover for the XXL.

There are sets available that work out more cheaply than buying bits and pieces individually. This starter set, for example, is around £150 and features the standard size LotusGrill.

The accessories for the LotusGrill are expensive, but you may not even need them. We actually used the griddle and lid from our gas-powered Cadac.

The lids work like the Cobb lid, turning your barbecue into an oven that will roast or bake. With the Cobb that took some trial and error, but it’s fun. We even made (slightly charred) cupcakes.

The Cobb does offer more cooking surfaces (frying pan and wok, for example).

REMEMBER: There’s no reason why you can’t use ordinary pans on either barbecue. That’ll save you a lot of money.

Lighting the LotusGrill

Lotus Grill

Dead easy! The charcoal goes into a neat ‘canister’ with a lid. You pour a line of ethanol lighting gel onto the trivet, light it and place it in the bottom of the stainless steel bowl. You then place the charcoal canister on top and switch on the fan at its highest. Amazing…within three minutes we had glowing coals ready for cooking. We were already won over!

Is it smoke-free? Yes!

Because the charcoal is protected by a lid and a flat plate in the centre of the barbecue grid, there is simply no smoke when lighting. And, because fat doesn’t drop onto the hot coals, there was no smoke during cooking either.

The verdict on the LotusGrill

We loved it. The best barbecue we’d ever used and the best steaks we’d ever cooked – perfectly brown on the outside, pink and tender inside.

You can see our menu and recipes below.

Lotus Grill


Our friend Cheryl bought this XL LotusGrill. She says: “It cooks meat to perfection tender and juicy. Limited mess. Easy to light and clean. Impressed!”



Cobb or LotusGrill?

The LotusGrill comes in lots of colours and looks lovely. The Cobb is a more minimal, sleek design, all stainless steel and mesh.


The LotusGrill is faster and hotter than the Cobb, which is actually better as an outdoor oven rather than a barbecue. The size of the standard LotusGrill is good for three or four and was (relatively) easy to clean.

We were also surprised at how quiet and unnoticeable the fan was. It’s more expensive than the Cobb, which includes a lid. But there are starter sets available to keep the price down.



LotusGrill lookalikes

Of course, manufacturers are quick to jump on the bandwagon when a product becomes popular. So, you’ll see some models that seem a lot like the LotusGrill.

We can’t test them all, but one that does look worth the money is the FeuerDesign (around £110). It’s not much of a saving on the LotusGrill set, which gives you more accessories, but it does work well.

We weren’t that keen on the sticky-out knob, and we preferred the easy-availability of the LotusGrill accessories.

Our menu

Lotus GrillWe cooked steak (notoriously hard to barbecue without charring on the outside and turning into leather), asparagus with blue cheese sauce, griddled avocado (!), salad and some Turkish pide bread.

We made our own for our at-home test, but have a look at our article on baking while travelling 

Barbecued asparagus with blue cheese and chili sauces

  • 50g blue cheese (we used organic Devil’s Rock by Pextenement in Todmorden)
  • 75g thick yoghurt
  • snips of chives or parsley
  • lots of asparagus
  • your favourite hot sauce – sweet chili, sriracha, tabasco etc


Mash the cheese and yoghurt until smoothish. Add a sprinkling of chives or something else green – it looks a bit grey otherwise!

Wash the asparagus, remove any woodiness (usually the base, sometimes older stems need peeling with a veg peeler). Rub with oil and cook on the hot barbecue for 30 seconds to a minute.

Season and serve with the cheese and hot sauces for dipping.

Grilled avocado

Weird but delicious. Halve your avocados and remove the stone. Don’t peel them!

Rub the cut side with olive oil and barbecue for no more than a minute. Slash each surface so that dressing will seep in. Season with a simple mix of salt, lemon juice and toasted walnuts maybe, a bit of any leftover blue cheese sauce from the asparagus course.

Sc-rump-tious steaks with fruity barbecue sauce

Lotus Grill

This was going to be chicken recipe, but we failed to find proper free-range in three butcher’s shops and at a ‘farmshop’ market stall. All said things like “it’s high welfare” or “it’s farm-reared” or even “it’s from Huddersfield”, but none was true free-range. It’s worth remembering that you may get a cock-and-bull story unless you probe!

  • Four lean steaks (flat iron, onglet, whatever)
  • Salt and pepper

For the sauce

  • 4tbsp olive oil
  • a small onion and four garlic cloves, peeled and finely chopped
  • 4tbsp tomato ketchup
  • 1tbsp brown sauce
  • 150ml vegetable stock
  • 1tbsp runny honey
  • chopped chili or cayenne pepper
  • Four plump stoned dates, finely chopped
  • grated orange zest (optional)
  1. Cook the onion and garlic gently for 10 minutes.
  2. Add the dates, ketchup, sauce, stock, honey and chili/cayenne. Simmer until thickened. Remove from the heat, add the orange zest and seasoning. We usually make this at home and take it along in a pot when camping, but it’s perfectly do-able on a camping stove like our Cadac Safari Chef too.
  3. Marinate the steaks for as long as you can (setting aside half the sauce to pour over later). Cook on a hot barbecue. You should leave the meat to rest before eating. We couldn’t wait and it was still delicious. Serve with the rest of the sauce. If you’ve got any of the blue cheese sauce left, that’s fabulous with it too.

Lotus GrillOur Turkish pide recipe comes from the brilliant Veggiestan cookbook. Never fails to impress.

We really rated the LotusGrill, especially for its speed. Barbecues become an easier, more spontaneous affair when you don’t have to build in time waiting for the coals to be ready.

Let us know what you think of the LotusGrill, the Cobb (reviewed here) or the Cadac (see below). And send us your favourite recipes too.

Oh, and have a look at our favourite (more traditional) barbecues.


The high-pressure Safari Chef 2 is our gas-powered camping stove choice


We thought the Cadac Safari Chef 2 was the best size for portability and cooking options.

It’s foldable, comes with all the accessories we need and has the option of extras such as a baking stone, wok and more.

The price is reasonable and a stove powered from a refillable gas bottle is more economical  than a throwaway canister and lastly. The stove is also quick to set up and pack away.

We’ve now been using ours for four years and it never lets us down!



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  1. Personally, I found it a waste of money and gave up after a few attempts at cooing on one. It simply doesn’t get hot enough. Too small a cooking area and covering the charcoal with a lid means the whole reason for using charcoal is lost.
    Went for a Weber 1200 gas BBQ for camping instead. ED: I’m glad you found your perfect barbecue. There’s a lot of personal taste in choosing, isn’t there. For us, the LotusGrill was the best size and we liked the versatility. The Weber is great, but more than £350.

  2. has anyone used a Lotus grill as a fire pit? ED: As one of their features is that the outside doesn’t get hot, I doubt it would radiate well. Have a look at the Solo Stoves instead. Great firepits and the smaller (more affordable) ones would be about the size of a Lotus Grill.

  3. Norm Dennison

    I find it good , do I need a plate to cook a roast or can I roast it on the grill using a lid to cover the roast. Regards Norm. ED: Hi Norm. You definitely need to use the lid as this keeps the heat in so the chicken can cook all the way through. You can do it directly on the grill, but I find I prefer to use a griddle plate (or even a large frying pan/saute dish) to avoid the bottom getting too barbecued. You can always put it directly on the grill towards the end of cooking time to char it if needs be. Depending on the size of the chicken, it should take around 45 minutes. One way to keep the underside from charring and to get some heat into the centre is to stick an empty beer tin inside and use this so the chicken can sit upright. Chicken halves or pieces, of course, are an easier option for a first try out. Good luck!

  4. Rachael Causer

    Pizza stone for Lotus GrillHi
    Has anybody used the https://www.amazon.co.uk/PIZZA-STONE-SET-Lotus-Grill/dp/B00K0GWSD6/ref=as_li_ss_tl?crid=3JNW85CNAPUP1&keywords=lotus+grill+pizza+stone&qid=1559486450&s=gateway&sprefix=lotus+grill+pizza,aps,135&sr=8-2&linkCode=ll1&tag=campfire2-21&linkId=e78f71912c3e9db3af27701c3f1b239d&language=en_GB” target=”_blank” rel=”noopener nofollow”>Lotus grill Pizza stone? Im thinking of buying one but am wondering if it gets hot enough and how effective it is?
    Also wondering if could you cook and egg or fry some onions on it for example?
    Any advice much appreciated.
    Best wishes,
    ED: Good question, Rachael. We’ve used the pizza stone for the Lotus Grill, but found the bottom of the dough tended to burn before the top was properly cooked. You definitely need the lid to help balance the heat. In ‘normal’ circumstances, pizzas get quite a bit of heat from the sides and top of the oven too. It’s worth a go, but you’ll need to experiment with the temperature a bit.

  5. https://www.amazon.co.uk/Lotusgrill-Glass-Lid-Safety-raucharmen/dp/B00IIR05OI/ref=as_li_ss_il?ie=UTF8&qid=1540808715&sr=8-6&keywords=lotus+grill+hood&linkCode=li1&tag=campfire2-21&linkId=340979f724c9a077a3b78376f6c43999&language=en_GB" target="_blank" rel="nofollow">Hi Wendy. The grill hood has a glass viewing panel and this is what LotusGrill recommend for using with the pizza stone. However, the glass lid should be absolutely fine. It’s simply lower and so closer to the top of the food. In theory, that should make it hotter and cook the top of the pizza better. It has a thermometer built in too.

  6. Is it possible to use the glass lid with the pizza stone and get the grill to the required heat. Do we need the grill hood instead?

  7. I have just bought a lotus grill after having a barbecue on my daughters last year. The charcoal basket supplied with mine is a sturdy stainless steel mesh, my daughter’s is the earlier type, clearly the manufacturers have taken note of previous comments. I am thinking of getting a hood for it, don’t know which one to get, does anyone know which is best? ED: Thanks for the info! The glass lid or the ‘grill’ hood both have a thermometer built in and the only real difference is the height. If you were planning on doing any tall food (a joint of meat or a cake, for example, then you might be better with the grill hood. I suspect that this also allows more air to circulate. The advantage of the glass one is that you can raise and lower it more easily to get at food that needs turning or checking on regularly. Don’t forget that they’re different sizes to match the standard, L and XL sizes.

  8. Jim Thompson

    Bought one at the beginning of last summer. Worked well for the first few BBQs. Bowl and grill fitted in the dishwasher when used at home. Great for camping trips as the start up time was short. Only downside was the charcoal holder. It disintegrated after half a dozen uses. Had to make a new one from stronger mesh bought at my local DIY store.

  9. Jon Summers

    Bought a Lotus Grill last year. Perfect for two and very economical. By the end of the summer after a lot of use, the stainless steel bowl has become dull and difficult too clean. what can I do to get the shine back?
    ED: We use Astonish paste on a lot of our steel pans etc and an eco one. They work perfectly.
    Some people also like Barkeeper’s Friend, but it can be a little scratchy.

  10. Keith Jager

    Used my new Lotus Grill for the first time last Saturday. Easy to transport, easy to light (as long as you remember to follow the instructions and turn the fan on BEFORE lighting the alcohol gel) ready to cook in 5/6 mins (under breezy conditions) nice char and a decent BBQ flavour, there are temp variations across the grill and this is useful once you’ve figured out where they are which is no different from other BBQ’s.
    Everything cleaned up pretty easily including the main SS bowl. Don’t understand a previous criticism on this point. Put the top grill in the dishwasher and came out almost cleaned of hard burned on residue. Just required a bit of extra scrubbing to remove the last stubborn bits.This indicates a good quality chroming process. Very similar to the quality of chrome plating on Bosch ovens. Scouring pad did get caught between the ridged centre plate and wire grill but I just adapted my cleaning method and scrubbed away from the centre plate.
    Short charcoal burning life may be an issue but I purchased a spare charcoal cage and had that on standby. Not required, BBQ’d Jerk Chicken and Tandoori lamb chops for 10 people easily and there was very little charcoal remaining to dispose of which suggests the charcoal burner is efficient. Very happy.

  11. used mine for the first time to do a barbie for nine and we all loved it – heated up amazingly quickly, no smoke … job done. one poster complained about metal bowl being difficult to clean but i found it relatively easy. mine was filled with fat and gunk but i wiped it out with kitchen roll and then soaked it a bit in washing up liquid, had to use a bit of elbow grease but and it looked good as new. you can put it all in the dishwasher (bar the charcoal container)

  12. The lotus doesn’t give your meat the chargrilled taste which to me is the whole point of a barbecue. The shiny bowl is terrible to clean after fat has burned onto it. I really wanted to love this but don’t unfortunately.

  13. I bought one of these and I was very impressed to start with. I loved the fact that I was barbecuing but I could control the heat by using the fan. We used it about 8 times before the fan started to make some strange sounds and we experienced flare ups. While it works it is impressive but I would question the longevity of the product.

  14. Last summer Aldi or Lidl did a very similar (read almost exact copy) device for something like £25. We have one and the only difference I can see is the charcoal canister is solid metal with louvres rather than mesh sides. Ours seems to smoke a bit on startup, but is pretty much smokeless when it is up and running.

  15. It sounds interesting, but too expensive! Surely most of the BBQ taste comes from the smoke? We’ve got a Weber Smokey Joe and love it….one bag of instant light charcoal and 15 minutes later you’re ready to cook.Plenty of meat for 4, put the lid on to keep it all moist and give it that smokey flavour………Oh, the Weber build quality is outstanding as well!

  16. Can’t comment on the longevity of the coal canister yet but we thought the food was perfectly barbecue-y, and great not to have the over-charredness.

  17. Two things I didn’t like about the Lotus (and the price?) because it IS smokeless I was not convinced the flavour was BBQ enough. And the mesh that holds the coals has to be handled with very great care after the first use. It almost reminded me of gas mantles if anyone can remember those! I had to replace mine and was told it as clearly stated in the instructions and I still haven’t seen that particular instruction yet. ED: See the latest posts about the new stronger, stainless steel basket.

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