The Bottom Line
Some people manage to get it right the first time. Grant Hastings got it right when he built the first Hasty-Bake Grill in 1948. This charcoal grill has changed little in function since then. Basically, it is a closed box with a charcoal pan mounted so it can be adjusted close to the cooking grate for high, direct heat, or raised as much as 14 inches for low-temperature cooking. Add the removable heat diffuser and it grills, smokes, or bakes indirectly.
This makes the Hasty-Bake design one of the most versatile on the market. There are many models and this version, the one of the least expensive, starts are around $1,000USD, so this isn't an inexpensive product. However, the quality construction (made in the US) means it will last a very long time.
- Highly versatile charcoal grill
- Excellent construction
- 14 inches of adjustment in the charcoal pan
- High price
- 523 square inches of cooking space
- Crank adjustment moves firebox up and down as much as 14 inches
- Ventless hood holds in smoke
- Grease management system channels grease away from the fire reducing flare-ups
- Side door allows access to pullout charcoal drawer (fully removable)
- Removable heat deflector for indirect cooking
- Fully removable ash tray
- Made in the United States
Guide Review - Hasty-Bake Legacy 131 Powder Coated Charcoal Grill
Before George Stephen threw charcoal in the bottom of a buoy or Hilton Meigs cast the first Portable Kitchen Grill, Grant Hastings made the first Hasty-Bake Charcoal Grill.
Grant's grill was obviously a genius because after more than 60 years the design hasn't changed much. This iconic charcoal grill has a very loyal following of users who have the advantage of seldom, if ever, having to replace their grill. Unlike so many grills built these days, the Hasty-Bake, is built to last a very long time.
There have been many imitators over the years, so most of the features of the Hasty-Bake Grill may not seem innovative today, but it truly is an amazing piece of engineering. Basically, a metal box from the outside inside is more than the typical firebox and cooking grate. At the bottom is a removable ash catcher, below the deep charcoal pan (stainless steel grate at the bottom to let the ash fall through). This charcoal firebox can be adjusted by a crank in the side that raises or lowers it be as much as 14 inches. This allows for high, intense direct grilling or low and slow cooking. Add the removable heat diffuser above the charcoal pan, below the cooking grates, and this is an idea grill for indirect cooking or smoking. The cooking grates are angled into a v-shape that drains drippings away from the firebox, reducing the flare-ups dramatically.
Any Hasty-Bake grill is a long term investment. This model, the powder-coated legacy is one of the least expensive, and by the accounts of the company the most popular starts at around $1,000USD. The company estimates that one of their grills will last 15 to 25 years. Why should anyone take their word for it? There are people who have models of these grills going back to the 1950's and collectors are always searching for the original 1948 version.
Often these early models can be found in working order and Hasty Bake offers reconditioning services promising to restore any model to perfect condition. I know of no other company in the industry who does this. (Of course, reconditioning isn't a free benefit, but general warranties are long and provide excellent coverage).
The Legacy 131 offers 523 of cooking space in a cold rolled steel powder coated body with stainless steel work table and internal parts. Hasty Bake offers a wide range of products and accessories providing a complete line of charcoal grills.