It is not often that I find a piece of camping gear that actually changes the way I camp, but the Skottle Grill from Tembo Tusk has done just that.
The Skottle (Pronunciation: Skō Til or Skaw-Til) originated from the farms of South Africa, where harrow discs were put to use as cooking tools in the fields. These are the discs that are pulled behind a tractor or mule to till the ground and prepare it for planting.
Before the skottle, we traveled with a 3 burner Coleman white gas stove, along with a cast iron skillet, cast iron griddle, and an assortment of pots and pans, and don’t forget the jug of white gas. All of that adds up pretty quickly both in weight and in the amount of real estate it takes up in the truck. In an effort to simplify our loadout, we picked up a Skottle last year, and it has easily replaced all of that.
Tembo Tusk has taken the shallow wok-like bowl of the harrow disc and made it more versatile than what was used in the farms by adding legs and a burner supported by a simple framework. This allows it to be used anywhere, using a standard single burner propane stove and it does this while still quickly breaking down for easy storage.
Tembo Tusk, along with Blue Ridge Overland Gear, has created a storage bag for the Skottle, made from the same type of vinyl that bounce houses are made of. It feels virtually indestructible, and even though we have used and abused it for over a year, it shows no signs of wear at all. We feel it was an excellent investment and fits the Skottle itself, plus room for any extra components that we might use in cooking a meal. In the photo below the bag is holding the Skottle (with burner and windscreen attached), the lid, the table top, cherry wood spatula, and two 1 pound canisters of propane.
The legs attach quickly to the bottom of the skottle with a just a few thumbscrews (one in each leg). Pretty much any of the single burner propane stoves will work, but I prefer the Century brand as it has the piezo ignitor so there’s no need for matches or lighters, and the burner goes in just as easy, with just a couple turns of the thumb screws. There is also no need to take the burner back off, you can leave it attached and just unscrew the propane when you are done and it will be ready for next time. I do recommend the optional windscreen as well, but it is certainly not necessary.
So now that you know what a Skottle is, what exactly can you cook with it?
The answer is simple, just about anything you would cook on your stove top at home. Breakfast dishes, no problem. Start frying some bacon, once you get a little grease in the bottom, slide the bacon to the outside to finish slow and stay hot while you put some hash browns in the middle to start cooking in the grease. Slide the hash browns to the side to stay hot, and crack a couple of eggs on the side of the disc and drop them in the middle. Easy as that you have Bacon Eggs and Hashbrowns all in one “pan” and everything has stayed hot while you are cooking the rest of the meal.
For lunch, you can grill up some chicken and bell peppers, warm tortillas on the side with some cheese so it starts to melt. When the chicken is done scoop it onto the tortilla and you have quesadillas. Pre-dinner appetizers, how about some pot stickers?
One of my favorite things to make for dinner on the Skottle is Ribeye with Potatoes and Carrots. You will have to wait for the recipe this one, but don’t worry it is coming along soon. If you want a simple quick dinner, I carry the frozen Skillet Meals in the truck fridge. Rip the bag open, dump it in and dinner is served. How about some popcorn for a snack while you sit around the campfire in the evening? Yep, the skottle will do that, a bit of oil, popcorn kernels and a lid is all it takes.
The Skottle is even good at the simple things like warming up banana bread when you just don’t want to wake up enough to cook.
As if it was not versatile enough as a cooking device with the addition of the lightweight table top it makes a great spot to make a cup of coffee
or just somewhere to set your cup while you watch the sunrise.
Now for the best part, the cleanup. That’s right, the clean up is the best part of the Skottle, and that is because it is caveman simple. There are two methods I use. The first is if the trip is not over and I will be doing more cooking on it. With the skottle still hot, pour some water in it, when it stops steaming, wipe it out with a paper towel, that’s it. Just remember, it is hot. The second method is what I use when the trip is over and the skottle will be stored, every few days of a long trip, or on the rare occasion that something sticks. Put a couple of caps full of olive oil (or whatever cooking oil you have) in the skottle and warm it up, you want it hot but not deep frying hot, add a small handful of coarse ground salt and use a paper towel to “scrub” everything clean and oil the skottle at the same time. When it is clean (should only take about 20 sec) take a clean paper towel and brush off the salt and soak up any extra oil. The skottle is left clean, oiled, and ready for next time.
I have gotten so hooked on the Skottle in the year that we have had it that I no longer carry other cooking gear on trips. In fact the night we bought a new stove for the house, I made chicken Fajitas on the Skottle in the back yard.
Now every review has to have the bad side, and this review has two. The first, I waited way too long before purchasing one. The second, somehow the Tembo Tusk logo on my carry bag ended up upside down. Tembo Tusk did offer to replace the bag as soon as they saw it, but I kind of like it, it makes it easy to tell which bag is mine.
If you decide to pick up a Skottle of your own, let them know I sent you
Do you have a Skottle and want to share some recipes or tips, let us know in the comments.
Disclaimer: The product was purchased at regular pricing and was not supplied for review.