Anglophiles and gourmands will know the name Heston Blumenthal. He’s the proprietor of a three Michelin star-restaurant in England, The Fat Duck, that was named the world’s best in 2005. That acclaim led to book deals, TV appearances, and his own line of barbecues, Everdure by Heston Blumenthal. He creates the kind of sci-fi-esque, mad scientist grills that are somehow purchasable. And his latest, the 4K, which can smoke, roast, grill, and bake (on high heat), looks to be a backyard hero.
Blumenthal’s culinary method is largely science-based; he has an academic credit on a peer-reviewed paper in the Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Chemistry. Like his scientist peers, Blumenthal needs precise equipment, and the 4K is nothing if not precise.
The grill, which stands four feet tall, is made of thick gauge metal and diecast aluminum, which minimizes heat transfer for more precise and safer operation. Instead of a cylindrical or spherical shape of say, a kamado cooker, the 4K has a boxy profile that, combined with its one of five available brushed-metal colors, is reminiscent of a refrigerator from the 1950s. Four stainless steel legs prop up the grill at the bottom.
The 4K has six probes — two mounted to the hood; four that can be inserted into food — that feed data to your phone via Bluetooth. Using that information, users can then adjust the airflow control system, dual numbered vents at the top and bottom of the grill, and choose how much air (and therefore how much heat) you want in your cooking environment.
A touch glass display lets you light charcoal or wood chips automatically and change settings easily. You can use the 4K as a smoker, convection over, traditional grill, or pizza oven, and the accessories add even more versatility. There’s a water container for when steam needs to enter the equation, a 13-inch pizza stone for crisping crust, elevated grill slats that move delicate foods further from the heat source, and some tongs, because everyone could use an extra pair of tongs.
We’re not saying your backyard will be racking up Michelin stars with this thing, but if you’re an advanced home chef who wants to be as meticulous al fresco as you are in your kitchen, a grill designed by a guy who does have Michelin stars isn’t a bad place to start.
The 4K is not available in the U.S. yet, but it will likely retail at Williams-Sonoma like the rest of the line when it finally hits our shores, with a price tag of $2,699.