Kenyon City Grill review: A versatile countertop grill fit for any grilling enthusiast

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The Kenyon City Grill can absolutely find a place in the avid griller’s arsenal.

TA-ratings-90Grilling is a fantastic way to prepare food. There’s just something about a nice grilled burger, steak, or even some hot dogs or smoked sausage. While I prefer a charcoal grill myself, that’s not always an option for everybody. If your apartment complex doesn’t allow gas or charcoal grills, or if you are just looking for a compact, portable electric grill, there are options available! The Kenyon City Grill wants to take care of all of your countertop grilling needs. Keep reading to see how it performs.

Specifications

The Kenyon City Grill includes the following features and specifications:

  • Powerful performance – cooking temperatures exceed 500F in 5 minutes, 600F in less than 10 minutes for perfect searing
  • Patented concealed electric element eliminates flare-ups
  • No hot or cold zones due to direct contact between element and cooking grate
  • Non-stick grate imparts characteristic barbeque grill marks and is dishwasher safe
  • Disposable drip tray is located below the element to trap drippings
  • Infuse grilled food with flavor by adding a variety of liquids to the drip tray
  • Removable lid is dishwasher safe
  • Convenient carrying handles for easy transport
  • Push-to-turn knob for precise control
  • Marine-grade 304 stainless is passivated to be weather resistant and rust proof
  • 120V model is UL Approved for Indoor & Outdoor use
  • 3-Year product replacement warranty
  • Cooking Area: 155 Square Inches
  • Cord Length: 6ft
  • Burners: 1
  • Actual Weight: 27 lbs.
  • Estimated Shipping Weight: 38 lbs.
  • Dimensions: 21″ x 12″ x 8 5/8″
  • Lid Type: Faceted Lid
  • Lid Lock Type: Standard Lid
  • Flange Type: Rectangular
  • Build Type: Portable
  • Control Type: Knob
  • Wattage: 1300W
  • Amperage: 11 amp.
  • Construction: Marine-grade stainless steel

What’s in the Box

  • Kenyon City Grill
  • User’s Manual
  • Kenyon’s Quick Start Tips to help get you going
  • A Sample Size of Cerama Bryte Stainless Steel Cleaner and Polish
  • 3 extra Disposable Drip Trays

Everything you’ll need to get started.

Design

The Kenyon City Grill is made almost entirely out of a good solid stainless steel. The grill itself is mainly comprised of the base, which is a large rectangle approximately 21” x 12” x 5”, as well as the lid, which covers about ¾ of the top of the grill and adds an additional 3 ½” to the overall height. The lid is angled and faceted slightly, though with a flat top. The sides of the lid have several slats for venting purposes, while the inside of the hinge includes a quick-release pin for easy cleaning. The right end includes the heat dial, red power indicator light, and City Grill logo.

Heat dial and indicator LED

Each end of the base includes a handle for easy carrying and transporting of your grill, while the lid has a handle on the front for raising and lowering the lid. The power plug and the large attached ground fault circuit interrupter come out from under the right side of the grill. The grill sits on four hard rubber feet that keep it up and off of your countertop.

Serious grilling power requires a serious plug.

Lifting the lid, you’ll be greeted by the grill plate itself. The grill plate is a non-stick, dishwasher safe material with a vertical slat grill pattern. The grill plate measures 14.75” x 10.625” giving you 155 square inches of grilling space. Opposite corners of the grill plate have open areas that allow for the plate to be lifted, exposing the heating element. The underside of the grill plate has channels that fit directly over the heating elements, allowing for the grill plate to basically dock directly on top.

The heating element loops around to provide even heating.

The heating element loops around several times, providing a good, even heat source. There are two pieces of metal attached across the heating elements that help hold the coils up and away from the drip tray below, as well as act as a handle allowing the heating element to be lifted more easily. The available griddle plate includes the same overall dimensions and underside setup as the grill plate. It’s simply a flat griddle with two thin venting/drip holes on each side.

The underside of both the grill and griddle plate are machined to fit directly on top of the heating element.

Below the heating element is the removable drip tray. This is simply a 10” x 14” x 3” aluminum baking/grilling tray, so while it is reusable, it is also easily replaceable in case it gets damaged or simply overused. I’ll talk more about the drip tray dynamics in later sections, but the heating element needs to be lifted so that the drip tray can be removed and cleaned.

The heating element is supposed to lock in the “up” position for easy tray removal. I found that it raises only slightly though, and could not get it to lock, so some care is required to remove the drip tray without spilling its contents inside of the grill itself. It may be I just wasn’t moving the heating element properly, though I was definitely trying to get it to stay up. I did not want to risk breaking anything by putting too much force into it, though. I was still able to remove the drip tray without too much trouble, though it would have been nice if I could have gotten the heating element to lock in the “up” position as described.

Ease of Use

Using the grill is really pretty easy. To start, you’ll want to remove the grill plate, lift the heating element, and pour around 16oz of water or some other liquid into the drip tray. The main purpose of the liquid is to prevent any drippings from smoking, but you can also use the drip tray and its contents to infuse flavor into your food. I’ll go into greater detail on this process in the performance section below.

You’ll get a good sized grilling surface.,

Once your tray has some liquid in it, replace the grill plate, plug in the grill, and turn the heat dial to its highest setting. Kenyon recommends leaving the grill at its highest setting with the lid down for at least 10 minutes to preheat before turning it to your desired normal temperature for cooking. After preheating, turn the heat dial to your desired level, place your food on the grill, and get cooking!

The Kenyon City Grill also has an available griddle plate, which simply takes the place of the grill plate when in use. The initial steps remain the same, you’ll just have a flat griddle surface to cook on rather than the grill plate.

…and a similarly sized griddle surface with the available griddle plate.

Performance

Since I alluded to it earlier, I first want to talk about the drip tray and its contents. Sure, you can simply add 16oz of water to the drip tray to prevent smoking and just go from there, but why wouldn’t you take that opportunity to also add some flavor to your meal? Kenyon warns that you shouldn’t add anything flammable to the drip tray, though beer or wine is allowed. You’re only going to be adding a very shallow pool of either liquid, so there should be less risk considering the lower alcohol content of beer or wine.

What you add will depend largely on what you’re cooking. Grilling some brats? Add a bottle of beer to the drip tray to infuse a little bit of that flavor. Cooking burgers or hot dogs? I had pretty fantastic results adding garlic powder and some smoked paprika to the water in the drip tray. The flavor was enhanced more with the hot dogs, but those are more of a blank canvas flavor-wise. The effect was still definitely noticeable on burgers. Pork chops? How about some apple juice and maybe a few cloves? When using the griddle, I used a bit more garlic powder for stuff like grilled cheese sandwiches, while pancakes got a dose of cinnamon and vanilla added to the drip tray liquid. You can experiment and try new combinations to figure out what works best for you, but the important takeaway is that it really does add flavor to your cooking.

If you’ve got a griddle to test, I think it’s mandatory to make pancakes.

Aside from infusing flavor with the drip tray, grilling or cooking on the griddle goes really about how you’d probably expect. Temperature is controlled via the dial to the right of the grill, and the temperature you choose is going to depend on what you’re cooking. Kenyon suggests 8 full bars (high heat) for foods like steak or hamburgers, 6 bars (medium-high heat) for chicken, pork, or fish, and 5 bars (medium heat) for vegetables, but you can still tweak the settings to achieve your desired results. It would be nice if there were some sort of on-board thermometer, or if the temperature dial had some more concrete temperature numbers rather than a gradually increasing dial — only some average temperatures per bar are listed in the manual — but with a little bit of practice you’ll be able to get some really good results, including some pretty convincing grill marks on your food.

Kenyon touts this as a smokeless grill, and they’re really pretty close. You may get just a tiny wisp of smoke here or there, but for the most part what you’re going to see coming off of your food or the grill is steam. The smoke that I did see was nearly non-existent, so you aren’t going to set off your smoke alarms or anything here.

Hot dogs, yes, but more importantly: grill marks.

After you’re done cooking, cleanup is pretty easy. While the grill is still warm, a damp paper towel can be used to clean off any stuck food bits. Once the grate is cool it can be removed and washed in the dishwasher, though it can (and probably should) be washed by hand very easily. The non-stick surface really does clean quite easily. After some use, if the lid gets too dirty it can also be removed and washed in the dishwasher. The drip tray should be removed and cleaned after each use, though you’ll want to let the grill grate and heating element cool before removing those to get to the drip tray.

Overall, cooking on the Kenyon City Grill is very similar, but not an exact match for cooking on a standard charcoal or gas grill. There’s a small learning curve — as there is with really any new or different style of cooking — though you’ll be on your way pretty quickly since there are definitely more similarities than differences to standard grilling.

Price/Value

You can pick up a Kenyon City Grill of your own for $475 USD. That may seem a bit pricey, but considering most good quality charcoal or gas grills can run you in the neighborhood of $200 USD and up, this really isn’t a bad deal for all you’re getting here. This is a quality machine with incredibly sturdy construction. It can be moved easily, is virtually smokeless, and can be used in areas where gas or charcoal grills are not allowed. There’s definite value here for the avid griller.

Wrap Up

If you enjoy grilling, but maybe aren’t allowed to use a gas or charcoal grill due to your living arrangements, or even if you just want an indoor grill to add to your grilling arsenal, the Kenyon City Grill offers an attractive package with quality construction and impressive performance.

*We were sent a review unit of the Kenyon City Grill for the purposes of this review.

Kenyon City Grill

$475USD
Kenyon City Grill
9

Design

9/10

    Ease of Use

    9/10

      Performance

      10/10

        Price/Value

        9/10

          Nailed it

          • Solid construction
          • Portable electric grill
          • Drip tray doubles as a flavor enhancement system
          • Quality grilling results
          • Indoor grilling
          • Available griddle plate

          Needs work

          • I couldn't get the heating element to lock in the open position at all
          • May be a bit pricey for some
          • Would benefit from an on-board thermometer of some kind
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