Napoleon PRO22K-CART-2 Rodeo Pro Portable Charcoal Kettle Grill Review
The traditional kettle grill started out in the 1950s when basic innovation met with necessity. At that time the United States was going through a housing crisis, and homes were being built as fast as possible to accommodate the quickly expanding baby boomer generation. Most of these new homes came with square brick and mortar grills, which rarely included a lid. This led to massive flareups as well as other frustrations.
The first kettle grills on the market included basic dampers, and grates, which provided added air and heat control. Subsequent manufacturers were quick to try to copy the same basic design with their own little tweaks and changes. Yet for the most part, they remained the same. These traditional kettle grills remained inexpensive and for the casual first-time griller, they met most of their needs, with only a few problems here and there.
Of course, everything evolves with time. High-quality grill manufacturers like Napoleon are always looking for ways to innovate and improve even the most basic of designs. This measure of success extends to the Napoleon Rodeo Pro Cart Charcoal Kettle Grill.
It incorporates the basic shape and looks of a traditional kettle grill yet applies simple innovative changes for consistently superior results. Also known as the Napoleon PRO22K-CART-2 the lid, grate, and firebox all embrace modern advancements.
The PRO22K-CART-2’s lid has a single front handle and sits in a special type of collar that allows you to rotate it up to 180-degrees. This is especially handy if you are left-handed. The hinge also helps hold the lid in place without having to precariously hook the hot piece of metal on the side of the firebox. It’s also worth noting that the top opens at a 45-degree angle, so you aren’t lifting the lid with your arm directly over the cooking grate.
The grill grates are made from heavy duty cast iron, which has been carefully glazed to be semi non-stick. Each side of the grates is also hinged which allows you easy access to the firebox underneath without having to lift all of the food and the hot grate to do something like reload the coals or add wood chips.
The grill grate can be adjusted to three different heights. This allows you to set the grate for low and moderate as well as high heat applications. The Napoleon PRO22K-CART-2 also comes with a stainless-steel heat diffuser, which helps redistribute airflow to provide a more consistent fire as well as reduce flare-ups.
Another complaint faced by traditional kettle grills is the sometimes-wobbly nature of their tripod stand, which tends to only feel looser with time. Combine this with a vaguely hooked on hot metal lid and the chances for a nasty accident loom large. To address this the Napoleon PRO22K-CART-2 uses a very sturdy cart-frame design to solidly house the kettle grill while providing it with four easy to move wheels. It also includes a stainless-steel side shelf that can fold down when not in use. The bottom of the kettle also includes a special ash collection bin, which prevents fugitive embers from escaping onto your deck, while also making ash cleanup easier.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
Napoleon put extra focus on quality in the material and components used in the PRO22K-CART-2. This includes coated cast iron grates with durable hinges, a hinged lid, for added safety and convenience, a sturdy cart for safety and convenience as well as other high-quality basic components.
When it comes to assembly the Napoleon PRO22K-CART-2 certainly takes more time and effort than a traditional kettle grill, which you can slap together in a few minutes. With some basic tools and modest mechanical skill, you should be able to assemble the PRO22K-CART-2 in around 60 to 90 minutes. If you prefer an expert assembly service is available for an additional fee.
The Napoleon PRO22K-CART-2 was designed with versatility in mind. It’s three adjustable grate height settings allow you to grill on low, medium, or high head depending on the desired application. Once it is in place the only way to adjust it is to manually lift and move the heavy grill grate.
This can be both good and bad. Being able to alter to alter the height means you can quickly sear a Steak on the high heat location near the coalbed, the move it higher for the moderate heating needed to cook the internal temperature to medium or medium rare. Yet making this adjustment means you have to physically pick up both sides of the heavy and hot cast iron grill grate to manipulate it into the new setting. The best course of action is just to simply set it where you want it from the start, and not mess with it beyond that.
The height of the domed lid accommodates thick and irregular pieces of meat. This allows you to do things like grill a whole or halved chicken or even make a slow-smoked pit beef roast. The hinged grate also allows you to add extra wood chips for a smoky boost in flavor.
The 22-inch diameter grill grate provides 365-square inches of grill space, which can accommodate a large amount of food.
The adjustable hinged lid offers superior safety in that it allows you to open it at a 45-degree angle, while also giving you the ability to swivel it for left or right-handed preference.
The hinged cast iron grill grates help hold heat for a superior sear, while also giving you access to the firebox for reloading charcoal or adding wood chips.
Ease to Clean
The Napoleon PRO22K-CART-2 is one of the easiest to clean charcoal grills you’ll find. The ash collection bin at the bottom of the firebox will gradually accumulate most of the ash and remaining coals after you are done grill. You simply need to add them to a metal bucket with a little water or wait a full 24-hours to ensure that all embers have been completely extinguished.
The Napoleon PRO22K-CART-2 comes with a multi-tiered limited warranty that exceeds that of most other kettle grill manufacturers. The Porcelain enamel lid and bowl have a 10-years. The air control system and the porcelain enameled cast iron grill grates have 5 years full coverage, with 50% off until the 10th year. The chrome plated components have a 3-year warranty and all other parts have a basic 2-year warranty.
If you’ve been looking for a charcoal grill that offers all the classic fire-kissed smoky flavor of a traditional kettle, yet replaces mess and hassle with modern day innovation, it’s hard to look past the Napoleon PRO22K-CART-2.
- Blends the classic kettle grill with modern innovation
- High-quality materials and components
- Nice visual appeal
- Designed with thoughtful safety
- Stable cart
- Heat diffuser
- Ash collection bin for easy cleanup
- Hinged and adjustable grill grates
- Superior warranty
- Grates hard to adjust while grilling
- Longer than average assembly time
- Heavier than a traditional kettle grill