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Object of Desire: A Towering Open-Fire Grill, for Cooking Like an Eccentric Argentinian Chef

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Object of Desire: A Towering Open-Fire Grill, for Cooking Like an Eccentric Argentinian Chef

October 26, 2018

A few years ago I called Francis Mallmann, the eccentric Argentinian chef who lives on an island in remote Patagonia, from my office in New York. The interview was supposed to be about pasta—a chorizo and gnocchi dish he’d created for Food & Wine—but Mallmann kept coming out with wisdom about how to live a wild and romantic life. For example, he told me: “It’s very important to have opposites in life. You sleep one night in a beautiful hotel, and then the next night you sleep under a tree.” He added: “If you always sleep in a palace, it’s very boring. And if you always sleep under a tree, it’s sort of chilly.”

You might remember Mallmann from his episode of Chef’s Table, in which he paddled out to remote Patagonian islands to stage rustic outdoor dinners on long tables. buried root vegetables and slow-cooked them under the earth for days, and seared hunks of meat over tall, open flames. Now, Mallmann has partnered with outdoor outfitter Best Made Co. as their creative advisor (he bonded with the company’s founder when he bought a half dozen axes from the shop), and together they’ve launched a new collection, out this week. Our favorite offering? The towering, multi-functional steel grill, a “veritable alter to the flame,” so you can cook over an open fire in your backyard, wear a poncho, eat with your hands, take a swig of Malbec from a bottle, and pretend you’re in the wilds of Patagonia. Take a look.

Mallmann&#8
Above: Mallmann’s Grill is eight feet tall, weighs 130 pounds, and is made entirely in Argentina. It’s $2,298 and is only available online. Here, you can see Mallmann using it to sear meat and cook whole chickens and pineapples, all at once.
The grill &#8
Above: The grill “enables home cooks and chefs alike to sear, simmer, smoke, and roast simultaneously,” according to Best Made Co., thanks to multiple cooking areas: a ventilated “fire box” that acts like a Patagonian chulengo (an enclosed grill, to protect flames from the wind), two types of cooktops (shown here: the flat plancha-style cooktop), and an overhead rack for hanging “fruits and meats.”
The flat cooktop can be swapped for a grated grill, shown here, for direct exposure to open flames. Best Made Co. notes that the two cooktops can also be stacked for even more cooking possibilities.
Above: The flat cooktop can be swapped for a grated grill, shown here, for direct exposure to open flames. Best Made Co. notes that the two cooktops can also be stacked for even more cooking possibilities.

“Fully cranked, the grill clocks in at 750°F, meaning it’s more than capable of searing a thick steak to perfection or roasting a whole bird to a bronzed crisp,” says Best Made Co. Should you want to travel further to use the grill—on a camping trip, or to a remote destination for a wild outdoor meal, Mallmann-style—the grill can fully collapse and be carried (though it’s heavy).

Above L: The plancha stacked above the ventilated fire box. Above R: Whole “fruits and meats can be hung from the overhead rack for smoking or gentle roasting,” according to Best Made Co.—no chopping or butchering needed.
Either wood or charcoal can be used in the fire box, which closes with a steel latch.
Above: Either wood or charcoal can be used in the fire box, which closes with a steel latch.
Once you&#8
Above: Once you’ve cooked your meal, fruits to meats, over an open fire, hunker down under a tree to enjoy it—even in cold weather. (Mallmann sits on the Caravan Chair with a Leather Tote alongside, also part of the collection.)

For a Mallmann-inspired outdoor feast, see Into the Wild, Part II: A Canadian Thanksgiving. Interested in taking your cooking outdoors? Read on:

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