In this particular review Jay profiled the Grilla Pellet Smoker/Grill and right away I was intrigued by this product, My first impression from a distance was that this was cool and different.
Then a little later on I am reading another Blogging friends post, this one was a guest post written by Shane Draper of Draper’s BBQ for Big Wayner’s BBQ Blog and he wrote a very very detailed review of the Grilla.
Let me first say that the opinions that were expressed by both Jay and Shane are valued by me, they are very well respected people in the BBQ community. As are the blogs that they write for.
It was because of these reviews that I was now interested in finding out more about the Grilla for myself!
And those people have had great success using that equipment but I have not cooked on these grills myself so for me to want to do a side by side comparison is not possible.
I do however have a Masterbuilt Electric Smokehouse and in that I use pellets to produce the smoke that is heated by an electric element (I know that this is two completely different products and not a fair comparison but I will from time to time compare them none the less.)
But hey, now I am getting way to far ahead of myself…
I contacted Mark Graham (Sales Engineer) of Fahrenhiet Technologies Inc. to inquire more about the Grilla and we had a number of conversations by both email and by phone, and right from the get go Mark and I had a great connection with him showing a genuine interest in my blog and what I was looking to do.
Now I really do love the writing styles of Jay Prince from a gadget point of view and Shane Draper who is perfect to tell you all of the technical information that you need to know and use his background as a very hands on approach to the equipment. But as my regular readers know, I like to get a lot more personal about the products and people that I write about, humanizing the story if you will.
So once I learned that Fahrenheit Technologies Inc. was in Michigan, I came up with the idea that I could take a drive out there to see first hand how the machine is manufactured and visit with the people that make them.
Detroit is only 4 hours from Oshawa but when I learned that they are in Holland, Michigan that would add an additional 3 hours on to the trip each way. So now this would turn into an overnight trip.
For this trip I did not really want to make the trek alone so I gave my friend of over 30 years Joe Simeunovich a call to see if he was up for a road trip.
Joe tags along in a lot of my BBQ adventures including many a Ribfest and we share recipes too. We have a standing joke that Joe is my grill friend, notice I said Grill not Girl!
In fact if we ever compete in a BBQ comp, we will use the team name “Me and my Grill friend”
Day One… Tuesday August 21st, 2012
So on Tuesday August 21st 2012 at 3:20am Joe and I left for Holland Michigan and after a 30 minute delay at the border due to the Border agent not being able to understand why a blogger would want to go to visit a factory in Michigan…. we arrived at Fahrenheit Technologies at 10am.
Once we arrived Mark gave us a tour of the facility and while I did not take pictures of everything there was some great visuals that now I look back at I wish I would of taken snap shots of.
First in the showroom Mark gave us our first look at the Grilla and also of one of the furnaces that they make as well
He showed Joe and I all of the huge metal stamping and laser cutting machinery that they use to produce every metal piece for not only the Grilla but also for the line of furnaces that they make as well as the metal items that they produce for the construction industry. If you have ever seen an episode of American Chopper then I think you can understand the types of machinery used for precision cutting by computer all of the metal work.
As you can see in some of these pictures the facility is huge and has a few different buildings on site and I was so impressed that they manufacture and assemble the entire grill onsite. There is however one step that is farmed out and that is the paint, Fahrenheit Technologies wanted to have a very durable high heat finish for the Grilla so they send the parts away to be powder coated about 20 miles away. The powder coating alone is $110.00 per grill, This makes for a quality surface that will last a very long time, unlike some of the other pellet smokers I have seen that are rusty within two seasons of use.
Next we went into Mark’s office where he showed, Joe and I (and yes Coolio too) some items on his computer.
Mark explained how considering that the Grilla is a whole new design that is less than a year old that they are able to make design changes on the fly. Since they only make maybe 20 of these in a run if by chance they find a design flaw or even something that could be improved they have the ability to change the way a part is made.
For instance Mark explained that one customer had their grill on un-level ground which caused the grease to go to the wrong place causing a fire that burned through one of the electrical wires, so very quickly a guard was developed and even though it was an isolated case the problem was solved with their on-site engineers and metal workers.
On this particular day they were not assembling and Grilla’s but Some painted parts had just come back from the powder coaters so here are some of the pieces.
The fact that the entire is grill is made and assembled in house (except paint) to me is a huge plus for a number of reasons…
First was the design improvements as I mentioned above, second is they know the quality of metals that they are using.
Third is that in this tough economy it is good to know that Fahrenheit Technologies is employing Americans to produce a made in USA product.
The Grilla is shipped fully assembled on a skid just like this one below so no need for screwdrivers, allan keys, pliers or asking your 10 year old to put anything together for you!
Throughout the entire facility Joe and I were impressed by the cleanliness through out and also how happy the workers seemed to be.
They are not a union shop and for them this is a good thing as the employees are loyal and show their pride in the product and the company.
After our tour Mark asked us to stay for lunch as the employees were being treated to a whole hog roast that was catered for them, Yummy stuff!
As I said before the employees are loyal and this gets paid back again and again.
After lunch we pulled the Grilla out of the showroom to take some pics and video of it, outside, It was here that I could really see having a Grilla in my backyard!
Who better to give my readers a description of what the Grilla does other than the engineer that helped designer her!!!
ere is my video of Mark Graham, Sales Engineer for Fahrenheit Technologies showing us the Grilla Smoker-Grill on video.
From here we went back into the Grilla warehouse and looked at the Grilla that Mark uses to cook on on-site for testing
While in the warehouse Coolio brought this rack thing to my attention…
Mark confirmed my suspicions it is a prototype that Mark was working on as a possible accessory for the Grilla. a stand up Rib Rack that will hold 2 racks of ribs and still leave you room for a beer can chicken and more.
Mark had arranged for a hotel for Joe and I to stay at that night so that in the morning we could come back to have a meal cooked on their Grilla and to help load up a Grilla of my very own that I could test the *%#@ out of for my blog and it’s readers.
After a long day being up since 2am, traveling and the tour it was time to hit the hotel.
The Country Inn was the perfect place to get a restful sleep, but not only that we also enjoyed a swim in their pool, something I had not done for years.
For dinner that night we hit a burger joint called Steak & Shake which Joe told me had great burgers, and I must say they were very tasty indeed.
Day Two… Wednesday August 22nd , 2012
After a quick breakfast at Bob Evans, Joe and I headed back to Fahrenheit Technologies to pack up my new Grilla to bring home.
Mark had come into work at 6am to start the smoker and cook us a couple of Pork Tenderloins and some Garlic Bread.
For seasoning he used some Rub from no other than Shane Draper!!!
Video of the Flamin Grilla!
Here is a short exchange between Mark and I…
So after a great meal of Smoked Pork and Garlic Bread, Joe and I thanked Mark for his amazing hospitality and we started our trip back to Canada where I am proud to say that I am the very first Canadian that is an owner of the Grilla . You will be seeing a lot of this Pellet Smoker-Grill as I try out many different recipes in my backyard and perhaps some friends backyards.
First impressions mean so very much in this business and my first impression is that this Grilla is going to make a very big splash in the pool of Smoker Grills that are in the market place.
My feeling is that this grill is an attractive piece of equipment that will add beauty to any back yard deck more so than some of the drum style smokers, I see this as a modernization in the Smoker world.
I will have much more to say as I put the Grilla through its paces in future blog posts.
Oh what about pricing you may ask…….
Well The Grilla is sold on it’s website for $1495.00 which includes shipping anywhere in the US of A
We will have to see if pricing to Canada will be an option in the future, depending on Dealers and transportation costs.
It is more expensive than some of the other models of Pellet Smokers on the market but considering the quality that is put into the workmanship of the Grilla it is a very fair price.
Warranty is covered for a full 3 years, I have complete faith that Fahrenheit Technologies will stand behind their product.
My seeing the manufacturing facility has impressed me beyond my expectations.