~1 min read


The Bighorn is touted as being the final word on searing steak: a 1500 degree outdoor broiler capable of producing a perfect crust every time. But a good broiler is one of the very most versatile tools in any kitchen, and especially commercially tools like a salamander are virtually ubiquitous because of it. So I set out to buy one not only to answer the question of whether it could make a good steak, but more broadly to determine if it could fill the role of a salamander in my outdoor kitchen.


A great single-purpose searing device, but not a salamander.
Rating: ★★★☆☆
Price: $170
Link: Amazon link here


  • Incredible sear on steaks and pork
  • Extremely fast to heat up
  • Cooks extremely quickly
  • Unexpectedly good gas efficiency
  • Very good build quality for the price


  • Too hot for many uses, even at low settings
  • High heat in front of the unit limits placement
  • Does not come with a rain cover


shishito peppers

Result: ★★★☆☆

Just shishito peppers washed, dried, and coated in a simple soy/miso/lemon juice sauce. The peppers were placed on a 1/4 pan sheet and put into the bottom rack of the Bighorn. They began to take color and then blacken immediately, even on the lowest settings. The result was perfect blistered shishito peppers in probably 30 seconds. I would seriously consider this as a fast-as-heck concession stand food option, but you really do have to pay attention: placed on an upper rack the pepper stems lit on fire.


Result: ★★★☆☆

This is the real reason we got the Bighorn: making s’mores (fast!) at the Gambler 500. The good news is that on a low rack at the lowest temperature we were able to toast the marshmallows to just-charred and melt the chocolate to gooeyness within just a few seconds. The bad news is that the heat is so intense even on these low settings and low rack position that it’s impossible to achieve browning on the marshmallows other than the char at the top. I personally don’t mind that, but it was definitely a harbinger of what was to come.


Result: ★★☆☆☆

This was the prototype for the Grizzled Wizard nachos. And at their best they came out better from the Bighorn than they did from the steam oven. They also came out faster. So, why is this only a 2 and the steam oven recipe is a 4? nachofire While these were delicious, you must be absolutely certain that every corner of every chip is covered with cheese, because the alternative is having chips burn way before the cheese could brown. There is also no possibility of multi-layered nachos, because the heat at the top is so intense that nothing underneath it will have had time to melt before the top burns.


Result: ★★★★☆

Searing is what the Bighorn is for, so it only seems fair to test it on that basis. Cutting to the chase, it is excellent at that. It is able to produce a deep sear without difficulty and even a pleasing amount of pyrolysis like you would get on the grill. If you are someone who really loves a well-seared steak, but hates smoking up your kitchen or firing up your grill to get it, this is a nearly-perfect way to do that. The only caveat is that the temperature felt on the surface of the food is very proportional to the distance from the heating element, and so anything with a rounded profile (like the back of the pork chop I tested this on) can get uneven color.

Future tests

  • Test with the gas regulator at a lower setting. This may be difficult to repeat well, but may also convince the device to act more like a toaster oven.