The Skottle: Cooking With Farm Equipment?
Making some delicious burgers… with farm equipment?
In this, our latest (and only) episode of “Cooking with Farm Equipment” we will be tilling a field prior to sowing our crops using a disc harrow borrowed from our friend, Jerry L’Ecuyer… This important implement will not only break up our soil, chop up old weeds and crop remains, but later it will also help us make one hell of a good cheeseburger. You heard right.Although an already well-known and respected product, I’ll go ahead and reintroduce the Skottle Grill produced and sold by Tembo Tusk, Jerry’s own company that supplies innovative gear for the road less traveled. To clear up any confusion I may have caused with the farming equipment reference, and to show I was only being slightly facetious, I borrowed this excerpt from Tembo Tusk’s own website:
“The history of the Skottle comes from the South African farmer and finding a secondary use for old harrow discs by turning them into an outdoor cooking utensil they could use while out in the fields. The Skottle caught on with the public in the 1940s and 50s and is now synonymous with grilling in South Africa. Anything that can be cooked in a pan, skillet or on a grill can be cooked in a Skottle.”
Re-purposed farming equipment used to “Braai” (Afrikaans for “grill”) in the field. See? We aren’t completely full of it, this time. So, let’s get down to the meat and potatoes of this braai, and talk about what the Skottle can do: anything, and everything. The end.
Seriously though, I haven’t been able to think of anything you can’t cook in this thing, and neither can anyone else I’ve spoken to about it.
Cooking on the Skottle
The cast iron disc speaks for itself in terms of quality and longevity, but the seasoning and smoothness of the surface is, in my opinion, the Skottle’s most desirable feature because it is insanely easy to clean. I admit, I’ve had a struggle with cast iron products in the back-country and, until now, thought I’d never use it again. But with low heat and a little water, you can easily scrape anything off the surface with a simple and inexpensive wooden spatula.
The 3 legs that support the grill are very sturdy and can be installed or removed in seconds with a few turns of a threaded eye bolt, and the Coleman single-burner stove can be left attached to the grill’s cradle underneath for an even more convenient, and quick setup. Coleman propane cylinders screw right into the base of the burner, but I am using a 5 lb LP tank with an LP appliance hose instead, for longer use and less waste. If you decide to go that route, get the appliance hose with the green fitting on the tank side (not black) because it flows better.
About the Skottle
The Skottle’s carry bag is constructed of a ‘tough as nails’ vinyl made by Blue Ridge Overland Gear; another company with a tremendous reputation for quality. Combine them with Tembo Tusk, and you find a collaboration that lives up to a gold standard of American badassery. This package may not be light weight, it may take up a little space (this isn’t for backpacking, folks), but to wear these products out?? That just simply is not a thing.
When I said that we “borrowed” this Skottle from Jerry, I meant just that… I’m supposed to return it after 3 months unless I want to buy it. Well, there’s pretty much no way he’ll ever see this one again. I have removed all other pots, pans, and even my traditional grill from our kit with every intention of using the Skottle solely for ALL of our cooking needs from here on out.
Now that the commercial break is over, it is time to cook some serious butter burgers on our harrow disc… Right? Right.
Being a burger addict, I mean connoisseur, my wife and I have tried probably 20 different burger recipes. All of them had their merits, and we quickly devoured them whether they included 3 ingredients, or 20. My wife found the following recipe online from someone who apparently knew the secret to killer butter burgers. These are my absolute favorite, and as it turns out… they are also the easiest ones to make. Before you go on and on about how awesome your burgers are, let it be known; I will bring the Pepsi/Coke Challenge to anyone, anywhere, any time. You want to go right now? I could eat…
BBB– Badass Butter Burgers:
Pay close attention, this gets complicated!
What you will need: Skottle Grill or flat griddle, a cast-iron grill press and a spatula (we like the wood ones, NO METAL).
1. Take one pound of 80/20 hamburger meat (leaner meat will not hold together well or be as good… this is not a recipe for your weight loss plan) and create four equal balls of meat. If you have like 40 kids or something, modify to be about 1/4 pound each.
2. Heat the Skottle until it is very warm, drop a dollop of butter then place a ball of meat directly onto the butter, then smash it with the grill press. Be sure to smash it good so it is not too thick, remove the smasher and salt and pepper the meat, now don’t touch it!!
Once the burger is ready on one side (don’t flip it until you see that it is starting to get a nice crisp look… you want it fully cooked on that side) flip the burger then top with cheese. A cheese that will melt fairly quickly is best (cheddar, Swiss, Velveeta, American for example). Meanwhile, place the buns out on the edges of the Skottle to warm them (no need to butter them). Once the cheese melts, remove the burgers, add your toppings and enjoy.
Seems too easy to be true awesomeness right? You’re welcome.
Editor’s Note: A version of this story previously appeared on treadmagazine.com in March 2018.