Author Topic: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!  (Read 1131 times)

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Offline TentHunteR

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2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #-1 on: April 28, 2017, 07:12:54 PM »
MAK Grills 2017 FlameZone Kit

If you've been wondering about the new MAK 2017 FlameZone kit, how well it works, what comes with it, etc...  wonder no more!

Will it fit my MAK?  Per MAK Grills:  The new FlameZone kit is now standard with all 2017 MAK 2 Star Generals and will retrofit all previous 2 Stars as well as 2016 and newer 1 Star Generals.

The FlameZone kit includes the new funnel section, diffuser plate, drip pan, covers and grates. All parts are made from 304 grade stainless steel.  Installation is straight forward and requires no modification to your current grill:

First, remove the existing grates, drip pan & heat diffuser. Insert the funnel section (making sure it slants down to the right). Next insert the diffuser plate, followed by the drip pan (an "F" is embossed along the front edge to help with proper orientation).

In the above photo you can see the new drip pan is not only slanted from left to right, but also beveled from the middle to the front & back to make grease drain-off easier.

The covers can be put into place for indirect cooking, or removed as needed for direct grilling.  The kit also includes two new split grates that are oriented from left to right to make removing the covers easier.

Note: A good pair of heavy leather gloves will be needed if you want to remove a hot cover part-way through a cook!

The new MAK Searing Grate & Griddle (optional - not included with the FlameZone) are also oriented left/right.
A nice feature of this setup is the tops of the griddle and searing grate are level to each other and the griddle offers some protection for your arms & hands from the direct heat when flipping steak, burgers, etc.




Temperature Testing

First, it's IMPORTANT to understand that the thermocouple (temp sensor) is positioned to read the average air temperature inside the grill for indirect cooking.  With the FlameZone covers off the cooking grate is now exposed to direct heat, so the actual temperature at grate level will be considerably higher than what the MAK's temp sensor is reading!

Note: This test was done using 100% Oak pellets.  Ambient temperature: about 70° F.

First, I made sure the MAK thermocouple and the pit probe for my Maverick ET732 were both clean (for accuracy). The Maverick pit probe was clipped about half way back on the left-hand side.  The lid was closed and the MAK turned on to  "Grill" mode (the highest setting).

As I monitored the temperatures, as expected, the actual grate temperature climbed faster than the pit temperature being read by the MAK.  It took about 15 1/2 minutes for the grate temperature to reach 500° F.  The Maverick's temperature range reached its maximum (572°) when the MAK read 460° (by time I snapped a picture, it read 465°).



Expected Grate Level Temps:
Based on the test above, and the MAK's maximum 500° pit temperature, you can expect actual grate level temperatures in the range of 610° - 620° F.





Performance Testing  (or... The Tasty Part)


1) FlameZone W/MAK Searing Grate & Griddle

We seasoned some 1 1/4" top sirloins, as well as some veggies & mushrooms with some Little Louie's.


The steaks were grilled for about 4 1/2 - 5 minutes per side to in I.T of about 125°.  The veggies & mushrooms were tossed in the griddle with a little olive oil.




The results using the searing grate were outstanding. The steaks had the right amount of char for that grilled flavor without tasting burnt.  The Griddle performed equally well giving a nice char to the veggies & mushrooms.




2) FlameZone W/Regular Grates

OK, so what about a REAL challenge using the regular grates?  Tandoori style chicken fits the bill.  It's marinated, so it's wet when it goes on, and since the marinade has no sugar, it won't caramelize easily!  I honestly did NOT know how well this was going to work. 

After letting the grill heat up for 20 minutes or so, some boneless chicken thighs, marinated in a traditional Indian spicy yogurt mixture, were placed on the regular grates.




The thighs had some nice char on the outside (like Tandoori chicken should), were still very moist on the inside, and tasted just like they'd come from a Tandoor oven!





Final Thoughts

After a few cooks with the FlameZone here are a couple of important take-aways for me:

● When direct grilling with the FlameZone, IGNORE what the Pellet Boss is displaying, especially if you've just opened the lid. The actual grate temperatures are much hotter!

● Use a longer set of tongs and/or wear some leather work gloves for hand/arm protection. That grill gets HOT!!!

● With the new MAK FlameZone added to my 1 Star, I feel like I truly have an all-in-one smoker/grill combo.


I Hope this was helpful. Thanks for indulging me!


Cliff
« Last Edit: April 29, 2017, 07:41:47 PM by TentHunteR »
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Offline Pappymn

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Fantastic write-up! If I had time to use mine more I would get these great upgrades. Hopefully someday
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Offline TMB

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Re: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #1 on: April 28, 2017, 07:36:03 PM »
Great write up Cliff makes me want a MAK just no $$$$$ to spend on one
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Offline rwalters

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2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #2 on: April 28, 2017, 09:48:21 PM »
Nice write up Cliff! My experience with the new setup pretty much mirror yours. Needless to say, I have been IMPRESSED with the new FZ :)
« Last Edit: April 28, 2017, 11:56:20 PM by rwalters »
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I am not a vegetarian, but I eat animals that are... :-)

Offline ACW3

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Re: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #3 on: April 28, 2017, 10:31:50 PM »
Nicely done, Cliff!!  That is quite an engineering masterpiece.

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Offline smokeasaurus

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Re: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #4 on: April 29, 2017, 10:20:38 AM »
Great review Cliff.

It is obviously clear that in the pellet world, there is MAK and then everybody else..........
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Offline HighOnSmoke

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Re: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #5 on: April 29, 2017, 12:20:46 PM »
Awesome review Cliff! Starting to make me think long and hard about selling my Grid Iron and jumping ship to the Mak side! ;)
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Offline rwalters

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2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #6 on: April 29, 2017, 01:15:31 PM »
Awesome review Cliff! Starting to make me think long and hard about selling my Grid Iron and jumping ship to the Mak side! ;)
I thought you love your GI??
MAK 2 Star, Weber 26" kettle, 36" Blackstone griddle, 17" Blackstone griddle.

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Offline tomcrete1

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Re: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #7 on: April 29, 2017, 02:09:10 PM »
I had no idea that it could do that! Wow! nice review ! :thumbup:
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Offline CDN Smoker

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Re: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #8 on: April 29, 2017, 06:43:35 PM »
Great write up Cliff, thank you for taking the time.  ;D
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Offline Tailgating is my game

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Re: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #9 on: April 29, 2017, 08:36:48 PM »
Cliff outstanding!
 
Will you share the Indian spicy yogurt mixture  recipe?
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Offline TentHunteR

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Re: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #10 on: April 30, 2017, 04:21:35 PM »
Cliff outstanding!
 
Will you share the Indian spicy yogurt mixture  recipe?

Here you go: Tandoori Style Chicken, Lamb, etc.  - Indian BBQ!
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Offline Tailgating is my game

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Offline Preich

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2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #12 on: May 22, 2017, 05:54:33 PM »
Fantastic review! Having just laid out $$$ for the MAK 1, now I know the next thing to save up for. Question: would the griddle be useful for getting a full-surface sear on a steak, you think?


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Offline TentHunteR

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Re: 2017 MAK FlameZone, Searing Grate & Griddle - Detailed Review!
« Reply #13 on: May 22, 2017, 06:06:58 PM »
Fantastic review! Having just laid out $$$ for the MAK 1, now I know the next thing to save up for. Question: would the griddle be useful for getting a full-surface sear on a steak, you think?


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Most definitely!  If that's the type of sear you prefer, then I would recommend doing a reverse sear and finish on the MAK griddle.
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Weber Performer with Stoven Pellet Grill Adapter
Modified Horizontal Offset Smoker
27 year old Weber One-Touch Silver (had for 14 years)
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