Skip to content
Home » Review of the Lodge Cast Iron The Kickoff Grill

Review of the Lodge Cast Iron The Kickoff Grill

The Lodge Cast Iron The Kickoff Grill is a robust grill that is a little hefty but portable enough to take to a tailgate party or camping vacation.

We ordered The Kickoff Grill from Lodge Cast Iron so that our reviewer could put it to the test in her kitchen. Continue reading for our complete product review.

  Get it now on

Key Specs

  • Product Name: The Kickoff Grill
  • Product Dimensions: 14.88 x 14.38 x 6.88 in.
  • Materia: lCast iron
  • Warranty: No formal, but, the Lodge promise says, “…we promise you’ll not only be satisfied with your cookware, but you’ll love it so much you’ll pass it down to the next generation.”

What We Enjoy

  • Easy to use
  • Cast iron warms up quickly.
  • Heavy enough to provide stability

What We Dislike

  • A chimney starter is needed.
  • Limited capacity
  • Rusting may occur in cast iron.

Portable grills are useful not only for traveling, but also for saving space. They are available in a range of fuel types, including gas, electric, and charcoal. Whether you’re cooking in your backyard or going camping, it’s crucial to pick a grill that is lightweight but not so light that it will tip over in high winds. The Lodge Cast Iron Grill is a household name in the grilling industry. The Kickoff Grill is one of the most basic, so selecting meals to cook was simple—steaks, burgers, and brats were at the top of the list—while I also wanted to experiment with a cast iron pan on the grill. With charcoal and a lighter in hand, I put this grill through its paces to see what it could and couldn’t achieve.

Rustic and functional design

This grill, like many Lodge Cast Iron products, is designed to be useful rather than beautiful, giving it a more rustic appearance. In fact, it resembles an upside-down Dutch oven. The grill features legs that hold it off the ground, and the top has a ridged surface similar to a grill pan, as well as four baffles around the rim. The base has two handles that allow it to be carried by hand if the grill is cold, or with the supplied handles if the grill is heated.

The grill’s top features similar handles and holes cut along the bottom to allow ventilation to the fire. The holes are more or less open by simply twisting the top, depending on whether the baffles cover the holes or not. The grill’s top has an integrated cooking grate.

This isn’t a large grill, so it won’t be suitable for large gatherings, but it was large enough for three burgers during testing; a fourth would have been an easy fit. I was also able to use an 8-inch cast iron pan in the middle of the grill with four brats around it to keep them warm while I prepared a side dish.

  Get it now on

While this may be too hefty to carry into the bush, it would make an excellent camp barbecue where the weight would be advantageous.

When this grill is hefty (it’s cast iron, after all), it was simple to move, but I didn’t risk moving it while it was hot. When I chose to add additional coal, I was able to move it and raise the top easily. While this may be too hefty to carry into the bush, it would make an excellent camp barbecue where the weight would be advantageous. Unlike lightweight grills, it will not tilt or move in windy conditions, making it much safer than other portable barbecues. It’s also safer than an open campfire since the coals are contained.

This is intended to be a stand-alone barbecue, but I couldn’t help but notice that the components might be used for other things with a little imagination. The base may be used as a griddle or pizza stone on a campfire or grill with the flat side up, or as a grill with the ridged side up. The top may be turned upside down and used as a wok by placing it on a grill. It wouldn’t keep liquids in, but it could stir-fry things while keeping them confined. While some people may never utilize such applications, it’s fantastic to know that they are available.

  Get it now on

The Best Small Grills with Big Flavor

Material: mostly cast iron

The whole grill is constructed of cast iron, with the exception of the detachable handles, which fit into holes on the top or bottom of the grill and allow it to be moved or carried—carefully—even while it’s hot. They’re constructed of plated steel and are detachable, so they remain cool and ready to reattach whenever the grill need them. Aside from moving the complete grill, the handles are also handy for placing the top piece on once the coals are ready, or removing the top to feed the coals.

Best Charcoal Grill Starters to Get You Grilling

Grilling performance is excellent.

This grill was nearly too easy at first sight. It’s merely a foundation for the coals and a cooking top. The details, on closer scrutiny, reveal a different narrative. The deep ridges on the base create ventilation for the burning coals, and the baffles on the base, together with the perforations in the top, enable adjusting airflow and heat as easy as twisting the top piece. The legs elevate the grill above the surface below, making it less likely to burn the tabletop or grass—though I placed it on top of paving stones just to make sure it wasn’t on top of anything combustible.

The steep sides of the grill keep the coals contained, reducing the likelihood of ash and embers escaping, while the bowl shape retains the heat in.

  Get it now on

Setup is as simple as starting a fire.

A chimney starter is advised to start the fire, and it gets the coals ready for cooking quickly. A full chimney was discovered to be the ideal quantity for this grill to fill the base with the appropriate amount of coal for cooking. However, since a chimney might burn down the bottom coals too much for them to survive long, for longer cooking Before I began cooking, I placed new charcoal on the grill. With that increase, I had adequate heat to cook for extended periods of time. It is possible to add charcoal while cooking, although doing so requires either removing the complete top or raising one side to insert charcoal.

When the coals in the chimney starter are hot, just tip them out onto the base and arrange them as desired. Then I placed the top on, making sure the vent holes were closed, and waited for the top grates to heat up before adding food. I didn’t bother oiling the grill for fatty things like burgers and sausages; for others, I dusted the grates with a little oil before adding the food.

The whole procedure was straightforward and similar to how other charcoal grills are started—just on a smaller scale.

Heating Capacity: Extremely hot

The steep sides of the grill keep the coals contained, reducing the likelihood of ash and embers escaping, while the bowl shape retains the heat in. Meanwhile, the vents regulate the heat, enabling coals to burn fiercely and quickly when the vents are completely open, or slowly and coolly when the vents are partly closed. The top cast iron grates became hot enough to generate grill marks on everything I cooked, from brats to steaks. When fatty meals began pouring fat on the coals, it generated smoky flavor and a little increase in heat, similar to other barbecues.

  Get it now on

I opted to cook in a cast iron skillet with some ghee and potatoes in the hopes of getting crisp golden edges. While it’s doubtful that anybody would choose to cook on a cast iron skillet on a small grill in the backyard over a burner in the house, it’s nice to know it can be done. The potatoes browned well and quickly. This grill would be ideal for frying bacon or pancakes in a pan when camping, or for heating the coffee pot.

The Top Charcoal Grills for Flavorful Outdoor Cooking

Cleaning is almost self-cleaning.

Because most food residue just burns off, this grill is almost self-cleaning, however rusting should be avoided. I scraped the grates to remove any big chunks of food or sauce after taking the dish from the grill and let the remaining heat burn off what it could. I brushed the bottom clean when the grill, as well as the burnt coal and ash, had totally cooled. I used a grill brush to make sure there was no food left on the grates; if it still appeared unclean, I took it inside to give it a good cleaning.

While the grill was pre-seasoned, and the grates should gain even greater seasoning from grilling, it’s not a bad idea to apply a little coating of oil over the whole grill if it’s going to be kept for an extended period of time. It’s also a good idea to keep the grill inside so it’s not exposed to rain and wet weather, both of which encourage corrosion.

Speaking of rain, since this takes a long time to cool down, especially if there are coals to burn down, it’s probable that it will get rained on. If this is the case, it is best to dry it off as quickly as possible and maybe apply a little more oil coating.

  Get it now on

Reasonable price

The Kickoff Grill costs roughly $100. There aren’t many identical barbecues on the market, but the pricing is fair for a portable grill. Because cast iron may endure for generations, it is less expensive because it does not need to be replaced after a few seasons.

The Lodge 14-Inch Cast Iron Cook-It-All: While looking for comparable grills, I came upon the Lodge Cast Iron Cook-It-All, which seems to be similar. It costs roughly $140 and may be used for grilling as well as a camp wok, pizza pan, and Dutch oven. After closer inspection, this seems to be a companion item rather than a rival. It’s worth a look for anybody interested in outdoor cooking, but it’s not an either-or proposition; it’s either one or both.

  Get it now on

BergHOFF Leo Heat-Resistant Tabletop Barbecue: The BergHOFF Leo Portable Tabletop Barbecue is similar to the Lodge I tried in that it is built of carbon steel rather than cast iron and has a nice cork lid/base as well as a loop-carrying handle. The similarities end there, though, since the BergHOFF is approximately three times the price of the Lodge, at about $435. While the Berghoff seems appealing, I’m choosing to go with the Lodge.

Final Decision

Anyone looking for a tiny, portable, yet robust barbecue may choose Lodge Cast Iron’s The Kickoff Grill. It’s inexpensive, can be kept on a pantry shelf, and works great. All of this, plus it’s also reasonably priced.

  Get it now on