The Lotus Grill - How Does It Work and Should I Buy One?

Eating outside is my favourite thing. As soon as the clocks go forward, and there’s a little evening light in the sky, I’m itching to cook outside after a day at work. And following a few days of beautiful April sunshine I can’t wait for BBQ season. 

But in these very early days of English summer, lighting a charcoal BBQ feels a little fool-hardy in the evening. By the time the coals have turned white and we’re ready to cook, even the most enthusiastic griller has to admit it’s getting chilly, and (just a little?) dark.

Which is why I’m so excited to road-test the Lotus Grill...

What is the Lotus Grill?

Lotus Grill Standard, Red

This portable charcoal BBQ has a battery powered fan in the base. This means it creates a mini furnace system - sucking air through the coals once lit, to get them up to temperature in no time at all. And by simply turning the fan’s power knob, you can adjust the ferocity of the heat.

The headline that caught my eye is that the Lotus Grill is ready for cooking in just 4 minutes from lighting. Really? That does sound very quick. 

But when life is busy (and we’re currently moving home, renovating a house, and looking after two toddlers) every minute counts!

Could this be the BBQ that lets me cook and eat outside on a late-spring evening. And still be in bed by 9pm? Let’s find out.

SHOP: See all Lotus Grills at Sous Chef

How do you assemble the Lotus Grill

The Lotus Grill arrives in a fairly large box, which I was expecting to be heavy. But no! It really is incredibly light. Even before I had taken it out of the delivery box, I could very easily carry it from the front door into the garden.

And it comes in a beautiful zipped up bag with handles. So I will definitely be taking this out for some more adventurous grilling in the future. The beach, friends' houses... it is so easy to carry.

Lotus Grill carry case

While my husband put our two toddlers to bed I headed outside and got the instruction booklet out. The steps are very simple. In essence:

  1. Fill the charcoal cylinder with coal
  2. Light the charcoal from the base
  3. Turn on the fan
  4. Start cooking!

First, I inserted the 4 AA batteries (included) into the base, then slotted the metal bowl into the red plastic casing.

Lotus Grill BBQ step 1

Then I found a bag of charcoal from last summer (would it light?) and filled up the charcoal cylinder with a generous handful. I was surprised that the cylinder looked fairly compact. And so just 8-10 pieces of lumpy charcoal fitted in. 

NOTE: Next time, I will buy the Lotus Grill Charcoal to go in the BBQ. Although, it's an added bonus that any type of charcoal will work.

Where can you put the Lotus Grill?

Really lightweight, it’s easy to relocate this BBQ to wherever you fancy in the garden. To find that last corner of golden light as the sun sets.

And the tabletop BBQ is perfect for setting up on the garden terrace. Right in the middle of the table. As it’s smokeless (read on!) the added bonus is that no-one is in the ‘smoky seat’ down wind. It really is a very sociable way to cook outside.

How do you light the Lotus Grill?

The instructions called for lighter gel. Oh no! I’ve never used lighter gel, and certainly don’t have any lying around. Although I have found a couple of ‘eco wood’ fire lighters at the back of the shed. I decided that the principle of lighting these would be the same and decided to press on - using these firelighters instead of gel.

Lotus Grill BBQ step 2

So with a little click, the fire lighters were blazing, and I placed the Charcoal cylinder on top, as instructed.

And here comes the step that is different to a normal BBQ. I switched on the in-built fan. The effect is incredible!

The Lotus Grill fan transforms charcoal cooking.

The strong suction draws air through the coals, and you can see them turn from cold black lumps to roaring, red hot coals in mere seconds. It really is like lighting charcoal at the click of a button.

Lotus Grill step 4

What can you cook on a Lotus Grill?

At this point, I raced inside to prep our food! If the Lotus Grill is true to its word, I had just 4 minutes to get everything assembled. After a long day of stripping wallpaper, I’d grabbed some fish and black pudding from the local supermarket. 

So tonight’s super-fast BBQ menu was a Spanish-inspired Cod and Black Pudding skewers, in flatbreads with leafy salad. I also decided to char some spring onions (an inadequate imitation of Spain’s signature charred calçot leeks), but a tasty addition for our salad nonetheless

As I put the skewers onto the middle of the hot plate, I realised the added bonus of cooking on a Lotus is that the wooden sticks won’t catch fire. As speed was the essence this evening, I hadn’t bothered to soak the skewers. But because the Lotus Grill works by concentrated heat, rather than cooking over a large area of open flames - there is minimal risk of the wooden skewers catching or blackening. Great.

Other ideas for the Lotus Grill

The generous sized cooking area would happily hold 4-6 burger patties. 10-12 sausages and several kebab skewers. It's a good size for 2 steaks, and would also hold a spatchcock chicken. 

You could comfortably fit a small-medium sized fish such as a sea bass on the grill. Or 2-3 smaller fish such as mackerel. And I'm excited to try cooking a batch of mussels on the BBQ, or clams even.

And when it comes to veg. 2-3 large aubergine slices would easily fit on the grill. Or 6-8 large mushrooms. 4 peppers would blacken nicely on this grill, as would peaches or apricots. 

Is it really smokeless?

Another big selling point is that the smoke from the Lotus Grill is sucked away from the food, by the fan system. And this really does seem to be an effective system. There was some smoke when I lit the coals - but this is also perhaps due to using the wood lighters, rather than gel.

But once the coals are hot, very little smoke escapes from the charcoal cylinder. Just enough to give the food a proper BBQ flavour, but nowhere near enough to make all your clothes smell of smoke!

And the added bonus of a smoke-free BBQ is that no-one gets a faceful of BBQ smoke while you’re cooking!

What’s the verdict?

This grill is fast. And ridiculously easy to use. It uses barely any charcoal, and rewards you with an outdoor meal at the drop of a hat.

I lit the BBQ at 7.51pm and we were eating our Spanish-inspired skewers by 8pm on the dot. That really is impressive in my book. The Lotus Grill stayed hot enough to cook on for a good half hour.

I’m looking forward to many more April BBQs, and impromptu grilling sessions on the beach, in the park or at friends’ houses over the summer.

The Lotus Grill BBQ is great for:

  • People who want to BBQ on a whim, on any night of the week

  • Sociable BBQing! It’s so fun to cook in the middle of the table while you eat

  • Small spaces - it’s compact, lightweight and so easy to move about

  • Anyone pressed for time. This is a fast BBQ.

  • BBQ beginners - it’s incredibly easy to master this BBQ, and to control the heat with the fan controls.

Recipes to try on the Lotus Grill

  1. Yakitori tofu skewers
  2. Quick BBQ short ribs
  3. Crispy oyster mushroom skewers
  4. BBQ Pork Chops
  5. Vegan BBQ tofu, mushroom & sesame burgers 
  6. Yuzu Kosho BBQ Lamb skewers

Lotus Grill Standard, Orange

Lotus Grill Standard, Green

Lotus Grill Standard, Anthracite

Lotus Grill Standard, Purple

Lotus Grill Standard - Blue



  • Hello Terry,

    Please see my last comment for cleaning instructions. The colour won’t tarnish, but the steel could do over time if not cared for properly – so do follow cleaning instructions carefully. It can be left outside – and comes in a bag that it can be stored in after it has fully cooled down. It’s made in Vietnam.

    I hope this helps!

    Edie at Sous Chef on

  • Hi Fiona,

    I’m glad it was helpful!

    The LotusGrill is easily disassembled and once excess fat has been removed both the grill plate and inner bowl can be placed in a dishwasher or hand washed. As the LotusGrill® is stainless steel avoid using abrasive implements as these might scratch the BBQ. If your LotusGrill has a stubborn stain on it you can either soak overnight or use a metal polish product.

    LotusGrill strongly suggest that you clean your LotusGrill after every use to avoid fat and fluids being baked onto the grill and therefore becoming harder to remove later. The LotusGrill has been designed to use reflective heat therefore if the bowl isn’t clean it will not work to its best possible standard.

    Edie at Sous Chef on

  • Loved reading this review – thank you! Have been thinking about getting one of these – is it easy to clean?

    Fiona on

  • How easy is it to clean ?

    Does it tarnish/ chat quickly ?
    Can it be left outside ?
    Is it made in the UK or China ?
    Is there a connection to LOTUS ?

    Terry Clarkson on

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