★★★★★ - The Ozpig portable BBQ campfire stove and heater is everything I've just described. There isn't anything else like it on the market that offers the same level of quality at what is an extremely competitive price point.
This Ozpig portable BBQ review is for the Series 2 model which hit the UK market for the first time in April 2021.
I've just counted back 50 years to the first time that I remember going camping and I can't think of any year since when I haven't been travelling away either in a tent, caravan or campervan. If you've read some of my recipes on this site that I've written on my travels you'll have seen many images of my trusty Le Creuset charcoal grill with cast iron ash pan. Since purchasing it way back in 1990 I've learned so much about barbecue technique, the use of different fuels, direct versus indirect cooking, open fire versus closed lid to name but a few. So when the time came last year to replace my Le Creuset (the steel legs have sadly rusted to a point where it's unstable) I wanted to find something that:
I'm a big fan of ceramic barbecues and cook regularly on my Monolith in the back garden so I contemplated buying one of their new Icon portable models. For sure I would get quality moist cooking but despite it's portability credentials it's still a "two person" lift and even with the exhaust cap removed it wouldn't fit under the campervan bunk.
It was a friend of mine who showed me his Ozpig portable BBQ, it was the Series 1 with the solid door (which he subsequently upgraded) and short legs, it cost £295, was very quirky in looks but as soon as I got closer I started to see why he waxed lyrical about it.
You can use an Ozpig in a variety of ways and I'll talk about the full versatility later but suffice to say that my friend had added to list..."it works well as a little garden incinerator"!
In a nutshell, this Ozpig portable BBQ cooker is built to last and I can see why this will be the last camp stove that I ever buy because it's going to outlast me.
Ozpig claim that you can assemble in about 2 minutes and that's actually not far from the truth once you've cleared the annoying bits of polystyrene foam from out of the leg sockets.
So here it is set up in my back yard. Note that the offset flue section is an optional extra.
When I opened the box I was presented with a comprehensive user manual (English only) but I didn't need it. I just up ended the Ozpig, screwed in the legs and righted it...job done. It's pretty intuitive how the other parts fit together and the manual is there for back up.
I had one leg which didn't want to catch the reciprocal thread in the socket but as soon as I figured that a bit of vegetable oil eases everything then that problem was solved.
My Series 2 Ozpig cost me £295 which is the same price that my friend paid 4 years ago for his Series 1. The Series 2 comes with the vented front door and the leg extensions included, these features were Series 1 optional extras so definitely no argument from me over value for money. In fact, when I see what else is on the market at this price point (and how flimsy some of them feel) I'm impressed with what Ozpig has produced for the price.
The original design is for that of a wood fire but I have to confess that I use lump wood charcoal and it works equally when cooking. The included hot plates can be used to heat pans, grill food directly and keep food warm.
The small circular hot plate is 26cm (10") in diameter
Hook the hotplate to the side and a wok sits nicely over the open ring or add the cast iron grill grate.
The cast iron grill grate is 25 cm in diameter and sits in a drip tray which ensures that grease and juices are directed back into the fire rather than down the side of the Ozpig.
Speaking as a European where campervan ovens are largely non-existent (they are becoming more common in the UK) I can't wait to get my hands on the additional Oven Smoker cabinet that I've seen on the web.
Having said all that, let's not forget how / why the Ozpig portable BBQ came into being. It's a campfire, moreover the new Series 2 mesh door coupled with the spark arrestor on the top of the flue make it a safe campfire and if (like me) you're trying out your new Ozpig in the back yard, it's an amazing patio heater. Having done my cooking over charcoal, I'm now adding small dry logs to get the full heater effect.
To be honest, having experienced the versatility of a ceramic barbecue I really did wonder whether the Ozpig would live up to the marketing blurb but it does. It's equally versatile albeit with different strengths, it's possibly unique and it's certainly a lot more portable.
The included carry bag is handy, you can pack up your Ozpig portable BBQ and easily throw it in the back of your car, SUV or campervan but sadly the quality of the bag is wholly lacking I'd give it year before it gets punctured.
I'm also a little concerned that flue parts are going to rub and scratch paint when packed up and on the move, it would be really nice if there was a set of protective sleeves which would make handling everything a little cleaner too but I might be being overly cautious.
I love it! Having become a convert to kamado cooking I'd forgotten just how much I miss sitting and cooking in front of an open fire with a cold beer to keep me company. I'm packing it up right now to put in my campervan and can't wait for freedom and the open road.
For more information about how to use the Ozpig Series 2 there are some really insightful video resources available on the manufacturers website
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