The Bottom Line
There is a very good reason that the steak you cook on your backyard grill doesn't taste the same as ones from fancy steakhouse restaurants. The truth is, most of those restaurants don't use a grill. They use something called a Salamander. These are intense gas powder infrared broilers. The heat comes down from the top, so no flare-ups, and they cook at temperatures around 1,500 degrees F/815 degrees C.
It takes specialized engineering to produce this kind of heat in a product that is safe for household use. While there have been models in the past, the Otto Wilde model offers more versatility, heat, and convenience at a reasonable price. Running around 1,200USD, this isn't an inexpensive product, but then how much is the perfect steak worth? And don't worry. This unit will cook a lot more than just steaks. While relatively small, it can cook medium sized pizzas, fish, burgers, practically anything that benefits from high-temperature cooking.
- High-grade construction
- Capable of reaching extremely high temperatures
- Adjustable position cooking grate
- Removable top for easy cleaning
- Two independently controlled main burners
- Won't cook a big meal all at once, but does cook very fast
- Two infrared top-mounted burners
- Fully adjustable cooking grate
- 304 stainless steel components
- Countertop unit is light enough to make moving it relatively easy
- Removable cast iron cooking grate and drip tray
- Removable top section for easy cleaning
- Piezoelectric ignition
- Measures 17" X 17" X 12"
- Weighs in around 18 pounds
- Made in Germany by Otto Wilde Grillers
Guide Review - Otto Wilde Over Fire Broiler (O.F.B.)
In the past, there have been a few pieces of cooking equipment of this type.
The inexpensive, but to be honest very poor quality Namath Rapid Cooker and the excellent, but more expensive Twin Eagle Salamangrill. The Otto Wilde unit has many advantages over both of these products and is the best of this type of cooker that I have used. It has two infrared burners, independently controlled. They each have a wide range of heat output and the cooking grate can be adjusted easily and by several inches. This puts a great deal of control in the hands of the user.
The attention to detail in this product is great. Made in Germany, the construction quality is equally as good. It isn't a wonder that the Kickstarter program that launched this product generated several times the revenue asked for. Take for instance the adjustable height cooking grate. Made of heavy cast iron, it hold a lot of heat and smoothly adjusts from very close to the burners to the bottom of the unit. Competing products have shelf brackets that require the cooking grate be pulled out and repositioned. While that doesn't sound like much of an inconvenience, when you are cooking at 1,500 degrees F, it can actually be a problem. But more than this, the handle that adjusts the cooking height is also the tool that allows you to lift out the cooking grate.
It is also a bottle opener, just in case.
One of the problems of this kind of cooking equipment is cleaning. Put a couple of fatty rib-eye steaks on the cooking grate at the maximum temperature and grease will splatter. It will splatter everywhere. The inventor of this unit (and yes, that would be Otto Wilde himself) has gone to great lengths to deal with this. There is a stainless steel plate in the bottom of the unit that pulls forward. This covers whatever surface you have placed the unit on and protects it from the drippings. Once done, this plate is removable and dishwasher safe. The really fantastic feature, however, is the removable top. There are two locking latches in the back, release them and the entire burner assembly section can be removed, flipped over and cleaned. This makes getting inside the unit easy for cleaning and maintenance.
Most people are not going to spend this kind of money to cook the occasional steak. Fortunately, there is much more versatility to this style of cooker than that. With an optional pizza stone (or, to be honest, without works fine) this is a great little pizza oven. It won't hand a large pizza, but then it can cook one in about two minutes, so size isn't really a factor. It will also cook anything that benefits from intense heat, and because of the dual burner design, adjustable heat and cooking grate, it can grill most anything. It makes a truly fantastic burger and can handle as many as six patties at a time. For those serious about heat, this is a product worth looking at.
This unit doesn't come cheap. At around $1,200, for what must be considered a very specific piece of cooking equipment, it isn't for everyone. It is, however, for those serious about steak the perfect cooking machine. This unit will do things no other piece of outdoor cooking equipment can. And, of course, it can do so much more as well.