By Tony Barthel
Like every other child on the block, I love new toys, so when FIREDISC® Cookers reached out and asked if I was interested in trying one of their cookers, I figured I’d give it a try.
Just to let you know, I owned and ran a bed & breakfast for seven years and got to prepare breakfasts for nine guest rooms worth of hungry guests every single day. I love to cook and I particularly love to cook outdoors. When fires threatened our community I had the privilege of being able to prepare meals for survivors at a local church. Not to brag at all, I just wanted to set the groundwork for the cooking love and, in particular, for cooking for lots of folks.
What is a FIREDISC?
Essentially you could think of the FIREDISC® as a huge wok that sits on legs. There are two leg heights sold: a 24” model and the 36” model that we got. The disc itself sits by gravity on the four legs and those legs are built of two different pieces that slot together. While it may not sound particularly stable, everything from this company is very high-grade and heavy.
Lots of camping gear is particularly lightweight and flimsy, but that’s not the case here. Every piece of this is solid and durable. Coming out of the box there is nothing to screw together – it’s ready to go. Just put the two-leg halves into each other and then place the cooker on top. Done.
The FIREDISC is fueled by a 1-pound propane bottle, but the company also sells a hose with a gauge on it so you can use just about any portable propane bottle. There’s a burner in the middle that heats the carbon steel disc so you get a hot center and cooler outer rings.
The whole idea came from a plow disc
The idea came from a plow disc on coals which founding brothers Hunter and Griff Jaggard would see when they were going to school and attending after-hours cookouts. Someone would bring a plow disc and drop it on the coals and use it for cooking.
While the idea was intriguing, for sure, it didn’t play out well in the real world. It was difficult to control, the heat was uneven and there were other problems. But it was durable and simple and that was the plus.
As such, the brothers worked with several ideas before coming out with the FIREDISC. One of their goals was to create an heirloom-quality product that doesn’t end up in landfills after a few seasons.
“People are willing to invest in products that will work that you’re not going to throw in the trash,” said Griff Jaggard in a podcast interview.
The disc itself is made of high-carbon steel and the legs and other parts are a heavy-grade metal. Every edge is protected by a rubber bumper and the handles on the disc are coated with silicone. The disc itself is 24” – so it’s a large surface.
Using the FIREDISC
I fired mine up and since the instructions indicate that you can season this with bacon lard, I just went whole hog and seasoned it with bacon. Two pounds of bacon. I displace a lot of water in the pool.
What I quickly learned is the center is plenty hot and cooks rather quickly, even on a lower setting. There is a regulator so you can adjust the flame according to demand. But even on medium, you’re not waiting long for that bacon to start bringing in other campers. In fact, I was camping with a large group and was offering bacon samples to everyone.
I’d cook it in the middle and then move it up the sides which finished it nicely to a crispy but not overdone state. Tonight, I cooked pork chops on the center of it and had vegetables that I was cooking up the sides.
I also got a lid and an “Ultimate Cooking Weapon” which is a huuuuuge spatula. Also included was a wind helmet to keep the flame from blowing out, which put me one step above all the other campers with their Blackstone grills – where wind caused issues with their flames.
I also put some water in the FIREDISC and steamed some Brussels sprouts, which worked well.
I could see making popcorn in this in some of that bacon fat. But I haven’t tried this yet. I will, don’t worry.
Cleaning the FIREDISC is easy and is the same as with my own professional pots. You just dump some water in a hot pan and you’re mostly done. A wipe with a paper towel and then you’re finished – the FIREDISC is ready to take on another cooking task.
The tools I got including the lid all have a hook on them, including a bottle opener, so you can hang them from the side of the FIREDISC. I would imagine cookouts with Hunter and Griff are fun.
My thoughts on the FIREDISC
Of course, the big thing is whether or not I would bring the FIREDISC with me RVing or not. That depends on a number of factors.
If I’m going with a group or going tailgating or that sort of thing, there’s no doubt that I’ll bring this. It folds up smallish and is easy to clean, but is built like a tank so I’m not afraid of using it while camping.
But it’s also not light nor all that small, although it does fold up to be somewhat compact. I also have a relatively small travel trailer. That means I’m pretty specific about what comes with me just because I like to minimize what goes along for the journey.
I can see myself enjoying cooking for medium and large groups. I do camp with others in groups, so this will make sense. However, it has taken up residence in my backyard for the time being as I try cooking different things with it.
One thing’s for sure. If you do end up getting one of these, they are substantially made. And they are another example of good ol’ American ingenuity making the RV life better. Especially if you bring friends.
Watch my video here, and learn more about FIREDISC or buy one for yourself on their website.