Review: Smoke Hollow 205

Smoke Hollow 205
Reviewed By: Josh Klassen
Our Rating:
4/5 stars
What’s Hot: With stainless steel as the main component of this grill, the Smoke Hollow 205 won’t rust out. Features include a double-wall lid, high temperatures of over 500°F, easy-to-clean design, and an affordable price tag.

What’s Not: Versatility is not the Smoke Hollow’s strong point. While it is light and very portable, there is little actual temperature control.

The Bottom Line:
The Smoke Hollow 205 is very portable and is easy to tuck away in your RV’s storage. It’s perfect for quickly grilling up easy meals like hamburgers and hotdogs, but don’t expect much more.

About the Smoke Hollow 205

My research tells me that the Smoke Hollow 205 actually started out as the Aussie 6T01. It then became the Aussie 205, and finally the Smoke Hollow 205 Stainless Steel Tabletop Grill. I’m not certain how this may have happened, as Aussie Grills and Smoke Hollow are brands owned by completely different companies, but if I were to guess I’d say there was a brand licensing agreement that eventually came to an end.  Regardless of how or why, the Smoke Hollow branded version is replacing the Aussie 205 at all major retailers.

There are very few differences from the original model and the current one. In fact, the product manuals are practically the same. The only difference worth mentioning is that the original Aussie 6T01 arrived slightly more assembled than the Smoke Hollow does today.

Features

Stainless steel construction. Not only does stainless steel look great, it is also easy to clean and is practically rust-free.

Stainless steel is also pretty light, which makes it a perfect choice for a portable grill. The Smoke Hollow 205 weighs less than 20 lbs and carries like a briefcase.  This means that it can go everywhere you want it to.

What impressed me the most was how quickly this grill reached optimal grilling temperatures. It can reach 500°F in as little as 5 minutes, which is ideal for grilling burgers and chicken quickly and thoroughly.

Other Noteworthy Features

  • A single burner produces up to 12,000 BTUs
  • Main grill has a 205 square inch cooking area
  • Includes warming rack
  • Double-walled lid for extra insulation and heat retention
  • Easy to clean removable grease tray
  • Commercial grade temperature gauge built into lid
  • Latching hood and folding legs for easy transport

In-Depth Smoke Hollow 205 Review

How Portable Is It?

The Smoke Hollow 205 is great for travel. It’s small, light, and easy to carry. It takes just a few seconds to set up, and it’s just as easy to pack it up after cooling and cleaning.

All four of its legs fold inward on hinge joints. The grill doesn’t stand much higher with the legs folded under as it does with the legs extended, but it does make it a little safer to carry and store because the legs aren’t sticking out.

The hood has two locking latches and a handle. The latches are secure and will keep the lid firmly in place. This is important for keeping all of the grill’s innards in place while you travel.

There is one critical point I’d like to make about the Smoke Hollow’s design in conjunction with portability. I don’t like how the regulator assembly sticks out. I feel that the way the valve sticks out, it’s too easy bump, possibly dislodging it. Please be aware that this is not something that has happened to the best of my knowledge.

Cooking Capabilities

Grilling with the Smoke Hollow 205 is not a disappointment, but it isn’t an amazing experience either.

The stainless steel wire grill grate measures slightly larger than 18 inches long and 11 inches wide and can fit 8 medium-sized preformed hamburger patties with no extra room.

A stainless steel flavorizer bar is supposed to prevent flare ups because it’s placed between the grill and the burner, but they still happen especially when grilling greasy foods.

One remarkably big feature of this little grill is heat. The Smoke Hollow 205 climbs to high temperatures extremely fast. Its single burner, with its 12,000 BTU output, will easily warm up to temperatures over 500° Fahrenheit in less than 5 minutes. In contrast, finding a temperature for the grill other than high is practically impossible. I wouldn’t consider doing any grilling with the hood down.

It’s best at grilling hamburgers, hot dogs and other foods that do well with quick, thorough grilling. Fish and steaks, on the other hand, would require more care to prevent overcooking.

Another observation is that the grill is hotter on the left side than the right.  This is because the U-shaped burner has more flame on left side.

Lastly, the warming rack is a bit of a disappointment considering that the marketing material makes it sound like it’s bringing another full 100 square inches of cooking space. It is technically more cooking space, but only in the sense that food placed on the warming rack is warmer than it was originally. When the lid is down, there is no real room for anything to actually cook. Consider the warming rack to be a place to put already-grilled food while more food is grilling.

All in all, expect your cooking experience to be adequate.

Cleanup

I really like how easy it is to clean the Smoke Hollow 205. Between one important design feature and the materials its made of, keeping it looking new is simple.

Because the body and lid are almost entirely stainless steel, using a plastic scraper and a cloth soaked in warm, soapy water is probably the most you will need to wipe down the interior and exterior. Just make sure that you do this when the grill body is still a little warm, but cool enough to touch.

The drip tray located at the bottom of the grill will collect the majority of grease and some debris from grilling. It’s very easy to remove and empty, and it can be washed in hot, soapy water along with your grilling utensils.

For the grill grate, the manual suggests cleaning off any baked-on grease and burnt residue with baking soda and water. Do this. I haven’t tried it yet, but this is my go-to for cleaning my gas range in my house and any pots and pans that have burnt food on them. I’ll take it one step further and suggest soaking it in a pan overnight if it’s really bad. This tip will work for the flavorizer plate as well.

Quality

If you want a high-quality grill, you need to spend more money to get one. That’s just reality.

But this isn’t a poor-quality grill, either. It feels sturdy. The fact that it’s 95% stainless steel including the double-walled hood helps.

I am concerned about parts that aren’t stainless steel. There are a few reports of the lid locks rusting out and disintegrating, and the flavorizer plate is very thin and won’t last as long as the rest of the grill, either. Keeping these parts clean and dry will go a long way, but I wouldn’t expect them to last as long as the rest of the grill.

There also seems to be a bit of a quality control issue, which is completely normal. Most grills that make it to stores are fine and won’t cause any issues. However, a small percentage of grills do seem to be defective. Should you find a grill that isn’t quite up to your standards, exchange it. Chances are good you will get one without any defects.

Technical Information & Specifications

In The Box

In the box, you will find the already-assembled grill body and hood. You will also find the regulator housing assembly, the ignitor assembly and the hood handle with bezels as well as screws and bolts for completing the assembly.

Other parts include the grill grate and warming rack, and a piece of metal they call the flavor activator.

Initial Assembly

Opening the box for the Smoke Hollow 205 portable grillAssembling the Smoke Hollow 205 is pretty straight forward. To complete the assembly, attach the handle, regulator and ignitor assemblies to the grill body. You will need a Phillips screw driver.

The trickiest part of putting it together is trying to balance the handle while setting the screws from the inside of the grill hood. I found that it’s manageable if you can flip the grill upside down and hang it off of a table or counter.

The wires from the ignitor may need some adjustment if the grill doesn’t initially light, but that isn’t too difficult to fix.

Warning:
The ‘Flavor Activator’ is a thin sheet of metal that rests between the burner and the grill grate. This piece of metal has sharp edges that can very easily cut through skin.
Image depicting the flavor activator plate and its placement on the Smoke Hollow 205

Accessories

The Smoke Hollow 205 doesn’t have any companion accessories that I’m aware of, but if there are any in the future, I’ll update this section. In the meantime, here are some great accessories that will work with it.

Camco Portable Grilling Table

Camco 57293 Deluxe Grilling TableThis portable grilling table from Camco is a perfect fit for the Smoke Hollow 205. Not only is the top table a perfect size for the grill, but it’s also very portable and easy to set up. It stores in its own heavy-duty bag and comes highly recommended.

Click here to see it at Amazon.

Char-Broil 4ft Hose & Adapter

Char-Broil 4-Foot Hose and AdapterThis inexpensive hose and adapter will convert your grill to use larger, refillable LP tanks instead of the small 1lb disposable bottle. On the other hand, refillable tanks aren’t as portable.

Click here to see it at Amazon.

Warranty

The Smoke Hollow 205 holds a one-year limited warranty. Outdoor Leisure Products, which manufactures Smoke Hollow products, also guarantees the Smoke Hollow against broken or damaged parts at time of purchase. For more information, check out the last page of their user manual. There is a link to it in the next section.

Specifications

Smoke Hollow 205 Product Information Chart
Brand: Smoke Hollow
Manufacturer: Outdoor Leisure Products
Model Name: Smoke Hollow 205/Aussie 205
Model Number: 205 FM205
Grill Height: 16.5″
Grill Width: 26.5″
Grill Depth: 12.25″
Weight: 19 lbs
Main Fuel Source: 1lb LP bottle
Default LP Bottle Size: 16oz. disposable cylinder
Upgrade to larger bottle?: With hose and adaptor
Primary Cooking Surface Area: 205 square inches
Warming Rack Surface Area: 100 square inches
Total Cooking Surface Area: 305 square inches
Length of primary cooking area: 18.25″
Width of primary cooking area: 11.25″
Firebox Materials: Stainless steel
Lid Materials: Double Layer stainless steel
Burner Materials: Stainless steel
Grill/Grate Materials: Stainless steel wire
Warming Rack Materials: Chrome-coated wire
Number of Burners: 1
BTU’s per burner: 12,000
Style/Shape of burner: U-shaped Venturi tube
Igniter Style: Piezoelectric Push Button
Built In Temperature Gauge: Yes
Side Tables: No
Stand: Built-in for table-top use
Storage Bag Available: No
Warranty: 1 year limited

More Resources

Online User Manual: Click here to view (Opens in new window)
Manufacturer’s Product Youtube Video: Click here to view (Opens in new window)

Ratings and Recommendations

Customer Ratings

I spent a lot of time sifting through online customer reviews for the Smoke Hollow 205 after completing my main review. Sometimes I walk away from a grill review wondering if I’ve been critical enough, but after reading nearly every customer review I could for this grill, I feel confident that most owners agree with what I found.

The majority of customers were happy with their purchase. Many stated that it was well-built and sturdy. Several comments were made that it’s very hot and easy to cook with. Many raved about how easy it is to transport, whether they were campers, RVers, boaters or tailgaters.

On the other hand, there were a few people who were not happy. Those that gave the Smoke Hollow 205 only one or two stars often did so because they received a defective product. Others felt the grill wasn’t a good enough quality in the first place.

There were a few complaints about it being either too hot or too cold. In the first case, I agree that it is a hot grill and may be too hot for some. In the second case, it could be a defective regulator.

Overall, the Smoke Hollow 205 has received good reviews and ratings from online customer reviewers, with 80% of reviewers giving it 4 stars or better.

 

Click here to see all customer reviews on Amazon

Just Portable Grills Rating

Portability:

5/5 stars

Cooking ability:

2.5/5 stars

Cleaning:

5/5 stars

Quality:

3.5/5 stars

Customer Rating:

4/5 stars


Overall Rating:

4/5 stars

Breakdown:

Portability: Extremely portable. No complaints about it. 5 stars!
Cooking Ability: Not so great, but can cook up hamburgers and hotdogs quickly. 2½ stars.
Quality: It’s a pretty solid unit, but quality control is lacking. 3½ stars.
Customer Ratings: 80% of available customer reviews are positive. 4 stars.

Recommendation

There is a line between barbecue awesomeness and keeping a product affordable. Though Smoke Hollow chose to go with affordability, this is still a fairly decent grill.

Don’t expect the warming rack to actually be used as extra cooking space, but consider it to be great for bun-warming. This is also not a good choice for cooking slow at low temperatures.

What this grill is great at is grilling up a mean hotdog (or 20) in record time, almost anywhere you want.

Prices and Where to Buy

The Smoke Hollow has a list price of $129.99, but I’ve never seen it actually sold for that much, nor do I think it’s worth that price tag. I would pay less than $90 for it.

 

Available Now At:


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2 comments for “Review: Smoke Hollow 205

  1. George Hill
    February 23, 2017 at 9:03 PM

    I saw this at Cabela’s branded as one of their grills.

    • February 24, 2017 at 7:10 AM

      You mean this one? Funny you should mention that. I just ran across it when I was there on the weekend and I took a bunch of pictures of it for comparison. It’s not the same, but it’s very, very close. I’ll post a comparison soon!

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