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jeffshoaf

Thoughts on Santa Maria/Argentenian/gaucho/ parrilla grills

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Hey folks - I'm intrigued by the Santa Maria style grills and know that several of you have them. I'm having trouble finding much info on techniques for using and comparisons to other types of grills, so I was hoping y'all could provide some input and/or links.

I have a 23" KK which will still be my go-to for low and slow cooks and a big Weber summit natural gas grill for quick convenient cooks, both on my deck where they're convenient to the kitchen and monitoring, plus a Weber kettle and a solo fire pit ( good for wienie roasts) down by the pool for pool parties. Most of the deck is roofed and screened in and is good for more formal sit around the table type meals. I've found the kettle good for hamburgers for up to 8 or so people but becomes an aggravation with more people. The pool is downstairs and inconvenient to the kitchen, so I'm thinking a Santa Maria would be good near the pool and i could bring the kettle up on the deck to supplement the KK and gas grills. I think the Santa Maria would be good for handling larger volumes of food for larger parties but still good for smaller gatherings as well without running up and down the stairs, plus open the door for different types of techniques and types of food.

 I've been considering two grills from Arizona outfitters:

  • I first considered the Scottsdale (AZ BBQ Scottsdale) thinking that the lid would be good for things that like to roast (whole chickens, beef and pork roasts, etc.) while still having the flexibility to grill burgers, chicken wings, etc. but it's hard to beat the KK for roasting. Also, the lid limits the height you can raise the grates
  • They also have a nice looking Santa Maria with fire brick lined fire box and windbreak on YouTube, but i can't find it on their website: Brick lined Santa Maria. This one also has a brasserror for keeping fresh embers ready, but I'm not sure whether  if I'd use that much of would stick with lump charcoal. They have several versions without the firebrick and brasserro. They have a bolt-on and stand-alone boxes with brasserros as well, but I'm thinking a wheelbarrow with a simple iron or steel rack would work as well ( but not look as nice).

The manufacturer is very open to doing customizations.

So, any thoughts and/or suggestions?
If you have or have used one of these types of grills, what do you like and dislike about them?
Any changes you'd make to the one you have if you could?
 Do you stick with lump or do you use wood? It's a brasserros worth having?
 Any links to sites with discussion of techniques for this type of grill?

 Thanks!

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Jeff, give these two guys a try on Youtube, Dski grills and TRENDKILLrBBQ.  Dski has an assortment of grills he cooks on showing use of each grill with always an interesting presentation meal. He owns a Sunterra 48 Santa Maria and shows you how to cook on it or at least enough for you to see if this is for you. The same goes for TRENDKILLr, and actually he just manufactured his own design as a daily cooker. Check out their archives and find the Santa Maria grill cooks, they're both pretty thorough and I hope it lessens the confusion and gives you a bit of direction. If not, at least it'll be entertaining.

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I’m liking the way you think Jeff,
I too have the 23”kk and have been looking for a Parrilla style grill. We don’t have the same selection here and I am yet to see value for $$.
You have 30 days to find one before that rib fillet comes due!!


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

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2 hours ago, Tyrus said:

Jeff, give these two guys a try on Youtube, Dski grills and TRENDKILLrBBQ.  Dski has an assortment of grills he cooks on showing use of each grill with always an interesting presentation meal. He owns a Sunterra 48 Santa Maria and shows you how to cook on it or at least enough for you to see if this is for you. The same goes for TRENDKILLr, and actually he just manufactured his own design as a daily cooker. Check out their archives and find the Santa Maria grill cooks, they're both pretty thorough and I hope it lessens the confusion and gives you a bit of direction. If not, at least it'll be entertaining.

Thanks - I'll check them out! I tried watching videos by Ballistic bbq; he has a sunterraoutdoors pro grill but he tends to stand in front of the grill while he's talking and blocks the view of what he's cooking.

I know i can be wordy (witness the initial post in this thread) but it seems to me that a lot of posters on YouTube really enjoy the sound of their own voice...

Edited by jeffshoaf
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1 hour ago, Basher said:

I’m liking the way you think Jeff,
I too have the 23”kk and have been looking for a Parrilla style grill. We don’t have the same selection here and I am yet to see value for $$.
You have 30 days to find one before that rib fillet comes due!! emoji16.png


Sent from my iPhone using Tapatalk

Since a lot of the nicer ones are built to order and all of them ship via LTL common carriers, it's probably too late to get one within 30 days!

I'm thinking the first steak from that ribeye will go on the gas grill since that is the most neutral cooking method and adds the last outside influence on the taste so i can get good feedback on the effect of aging. It has a sear burner so the technique is very straightforward. The 2nd will probably be on the KK. A small roast in the oven or low and slow on the KK (depending on the weather) will most likely be the 3rd.

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I have the AzBBQ Tuscan, which is the Scottsdale minus the cover.

If I were to do it over, I would have ordered the Scottsdale.

Regarding the brick lined model, just email the company with that link included, I am sure they'd be happy to build one.

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1 hour ago, jeffshoaf said:

but it seems to me that a lot of posters on YouTube really enjoy the sound of their own voice...

I've seen Ballistic bbq and know the one your referring to, the brassero is to the rear....a matter of preference side or rear. I don't have the brassero, my grill (Hooray Grill) has a stationary pit base that sits above another base which is angled to catch any amount of grease flowing to a  can. There are no refractory brick however the firebox is lined with a steel spacer liner or in essence double walled. These two youtube gents are thorough and knowledgeable, cut to the chase and make it interesting, you'll see.  Ballisticbbq down yonder in San Diego is a promoter and gets paid to bring some products forward, these guys, not so much. Troble, Sam the cooking guy and Ballisticbbq all in SanDiego..........a trifecta.

 

3 hours ago, Basher said:

We don’t have the same selection here

Don't fret basher, you just ain't found it yet.  It'll come, sure as the sun is gonna come up tommorrow.  

Edited by Tyrus
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55 minutes ago, Tucker said:

I have the AzBBQ Tuscan, which is the Scottsdale minus the cover.

If I were to do it over, I would have ordered the Scottsdale.

Regarding the brick lined model, just email the company with that link included, I am sure they'd be happy to build one.

@Tucker, i saw your earlier posts (i think that's what got me to AZ BBQ) and went there to look at the Scottsdale thinking that the cover wood help speed up cooking bigger pieces of meat by providing some convection but I'm not sure I'd ever grill something that's too big for my KK. My brother was talking about smoking a whole pig a while back so that was in the back of my mind even though I think of rather just do a bunch of butts on the Kk - I think i could get 6 to 8 butts on two levels of the 23" KK, let 'em smoke overnight with the BBQ guru, then wrap and cooler them until we're ready to eat. On the Scottsdale, i think I'd would have to roast at a higher temp for a shorter time, get up way too early to get the  hours needed for a lower temp smoke, or stay up all night to keep the Scottsdale monitored and fueled for the same amount of pork; that would take a lot of the fun out of it for me. To get some convection for food not requiring as many hours as butts ( like beef or whole chickens) on a Santa Maria, i think i could get some large and deep metal for service pans and set on the grates over the food.

 What do you think the lid will bring to it's capabilities? Do you think it would limit the height range for the grates?

 I'm building a list of questions to ask the AZ BBQ folks and I'll probably call them in a few days; i was wanting to get y'all's input before calling tho.

Thanks for your input!
 

 

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33 minutes ago, Tyrus said:

I've seen Ballistic bbq and know the one your referring to, the brassero is to the rear....a matter of preference side or rear. I don't have the brassero, my grill (Hooray Grill) has a stationary pit base that sits above another base which is angled to catch any amount of grease flowing to a  can. There are no refractory brick however the firebox is lined with a steel spacer liner or in essence double walled. These two youtube gents are thorough and knowledgeable, cut to the chase and make it interesting, you'll see.  Ballisticbbq down yonder in San Diego is a promoter and gets paid to bring some products forward, these guys, not so much. Troble, Sam the cooking guy and Ballisticbbq all in SanDiego..........a trifecta.

 

Don't fret basher, you just ain't found it yet.  It'll come, sure as the sun is gonna come up tommorrow.  

@Tyrus, your earlier posts pointed me to the hoorays, but they're a bit more $$ than i was hoping to spend. That's a massive rotisserie! AZ BBQ has a similar model without the shelving and not so overbuilt. Do you have to raise the grates to refuel? 

 Thanks for the input!

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If your considerations are to smoke meat, then the KK is the choice, hands-down.

Yes, you can get eight 8-10# butts on a 23", there is a post here from Chris Lilly showing him doing it.

Regarding the lid on the scottsdale, the youtube videos I have seen lead me to believe the lid does not encumber the grate lifting mechanism. 

I wanted the lid to allow me to cover the grill when doing a roast, rotisserie, dutch oven; also to use it as a windbreak.

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28 minutes ago, jeffshoaf said:

Do you have to raise the grates to refuel?

That depends as to what your cooking. If your spinning no grill grates are necessary and you can monitor the fire and tend to it without much effort. Long cooks, short cooks it's all based on what the goals are as too the meat. There are times your doing a small cook and you will only need one grill grate, if you need to raise the surface area I believe they all are capable without much effort to make the adjustments.  You know, cooking on one these puts you and your guests more into the cook, have a drink and enjoy the time while you entertain your guest.

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56 minutes ago, Tucker said:

If your considerations are to smoke meat, then the KK is the choice, hands-down.

Yes, you can get eight 8-10# butts on a 23", there is a post here from Chris Lilly showing him doing it.

Regarding the lid on the scottsdale, the youtube videos I have seen lead me to believe the lid does not encumber the grate lifting mechanism. 

I wanted the lid to allow me to cover the grill when doing a roast, rotisserie, dutch oven; also to use it as a windbreak.

 i couldn't tell if the lid was slotted for the rotisserie or not from the pics and videos.

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7 hours ago, jeffshoaf said:

So, any thoughts and/or suggestions?
If you have or have used one of these types of grills, what do you like and dislike about them?
Any changes you'd make to the one you have if you could?
 Do you stick with lump or do you use wood? It's a brasserros worth having?
 Any links to sites with discussion of techniques for this type of grill?

Thoughts or suggestions - get one if you have the space and the inclination to try something different. 

What do you like or dislike - I love the V shaped grate bars and the fat collection tray.  Great for grilling fatty meats without flare ups.  I like also the finer control that you have for grilling delicate foods and the active participation in fire management, adjusting the distance between the fire and the food and just generally playing around.  I also like the plancha style option for grilling things like baby squid and other seafood.  Could probably do breakfast eggs too but I have not tried.  

Any changes I would make to mine if I could - we used to have one with a cover and I think that made it more versatile.  The Argentinians use these grills for larger hunks of meat using a lid and I struggled to cook a large porchetta on a spit without a cover.  That said, I would probably do that in my new 32 now.  The brand I bought had the option to have two sections on separate wheels i.e. you could have one side higher than the other.  That option introduced a central post that reduced the continuous grilling area.  On balance I think I made the right choice but it could be helpful to be able to have food at different levels.  Finally, I did not have space for a separate fire box.  If you do have the space I would go for a fire box to the side that allows you to create embers to keep the fire topped up.  You can build the fire in the base of the parilla grill but it is difficult to replenish during a long cook.  I use my 16 to do that work now and I was very happy with the 16's performance as a, very expensive, chimney.

Do you stick with lump or do you use wood - I use lump because wood smokes too much for where I live.  I don't know what a brasserros is...

Links - this is the UK company I bought mine from: https://www.oxgrills.co.uk.  Sorry, I bought it for The Husband not for me, Freudian slip!  Worth a look just to see the various designs they have built to give you ideas about what you might want to specify.  They appear to mostly be bought by chefs so they have all sorts of different modifications to suit them.  

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@tekobo a brasserro is the rack to hold wood above the fire box; the stuff in the bottom burns and falls thru as it turns to embers and is ready to move under the grates. You load fresh wood on top and it gravity feeds down.

 The AZ BBQ ones I'm considering can have independently adjustable split grids without a central post; you can lock them together by putting a pin in the shaft at the top.

I checked out ox grills after seeing your mention in another thread; they don't seem to be available on the US but very nice! All stainless! I'll probably get stainless grates but I'm not prepared to pay for all stainless.

I'm undecided about the rotisserie; there's a pop-up one on my gas grill with a dedicated infrared burner but i rarely use it. I guess it would be fun to string a bunch of whole chickens on one and let them tumble over the fire.

Thanks for the input!

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I too have been looking at the Santa Maria Grills pretty much the same path you have taken, I haven't been able to really decide either.  I have a question as far as lighting charcoal, has anyone had experience with the grill gun?

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Seen it used many time on cooking videos and it looks like an impressive tool. Using the analogy of saying, if a 9mm gets the job done why would you need a 50cal? Mapp torch is a great tool for starting the fire but if you want and prefer the cannon it'll certainly do the job and in record time. I don't own one but I have to say I'm tempted.

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Grill Gun, I think it is over-priced.

I use a cane shaped weed burner.   The lighter is built in on the shaft. I use the small camp stove propane cans. This reaches down into the KK very nicely and allows me to stand back from the Santa Maria grill to light it.  Price point is ~$30.00

24,000 BTU Propane Torch Weed Burner Ice Melter Self Lighting

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5 hours ago, woody said:

I too have been looking at the Santa Maria Grills pretty much the same path you have taken, I haven't been able to really decide either.  I have a question as far as lighting charcoal, has anyone had experience with the grill gun?

No experience with the gun. I used to use a weed burner with mapp gas but i couldn't keep the spiders out of the burner so I'm now using paraffin blocks. For some of the lump of extruded charcoal that's hard to light, I'll wrap a chunk in a paper towel and soak with corn oil and stick it right by the paraffin before lighting.

The paraffin works for starting wood in the solo stove as well. If I'm starting a wood fire for a Dutch oven or potje, I'll use a paraffin cube and some charcoal briquettes in a chimney starter and then either dump the burning briquettes on the ground and put the wood on it or do the briquettes on top of the wood. If I'm in a hurry, I'll force some air into the bottom of the chimney starter using a battery powered lead blower - gotta watch out for stray  Sparks blowing out the other side. Assuming i end up with a Santa Maria grill, I'll probably use this method to start the wood or lump.

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If you' try to contact AZ BBQ, use the email link on their website's home page - looks like they're not getting messages sent via the "contact us" page. The brick-lined grill isn't on their website but they do still offer it and it should be included once they update the site.

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whole lot more fun with the 50 cal, I think!!!!!! was thinking about the leaf blower and torch but the "50 cal" sounds better. I saw that grill with the firebrick

also but cant find it anymore. I believe you can get or put firebrick in any of their units. 

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