It is almost summer in Seattle and that means time spent with family and friends outdoors, surrounded by fun and food. Speaking of food, how is your old grill holding up? Seeing any rust spots? Is it still heating up the way it used to? Are you having a tough time getting up to searing temperature? These are all things that tend to happen as the summer starts to ramp up. Well, don’t fear! We have a wide selection of grills available and we are going to talk about two of the best and put them head to head.
As companies, Lynx and Hestan have very different backgrounds, so it is interesting how they both became makers of the best outdoor grills in the marketplace. Hestan began in the world of professional kitchens and outdoor cooking is one of their newest ventures. Lynx was founded on the purpose of creating the best luxury outdoor cooking experience, and they have done a very good job in that.
Hestan’s story begins in the 1970’s when Stanley Cheng, who’s father owned an aluminum manufacturing plant in Hong Kong, licensed DuPont’s new material Teflon to use on cookware. This led to him creating cookware that had ridges in it to help protect the non-stick surface, which he named Circulon. After that, he then created a tougher, anodized aluminum pan which he called Analon. Thus starting the Hestan (a portmanteau of Helen, his wife, and Stanley) empire was begun. From there he went on to create a large line of high performing commercial kitchen appliances which are used and loved by some of the world’s biggest chefs. Stanley also produced award winning wines from his vineyard in Napa, newer innovative cookware, Hestan appliances for the home and finally, Hestan outdoor.
The Hestan grill offers more colors for the grill front than their Aspire model and you will see that the colors can also cover the grill cart, if you choose that versus the built in grill head. Moving from the Aspire line onto Hestan’s original outdoor line of grills, a lot of the features that we on the Aspire remain the same. Both grills have the Marquise accented control panel and handle.
Once we open the lid, the differences become extremely prevalent, starting with the lid itself! It is on a spring balanced hinge system that makes the hood extremely easy to open. This is a huge advantage as it allows Hestan to install a very heavy/well insulated grill lid. Without the spring balanced hinge, the lid would be difficult to open. The hinge also allows the lid to be partially open so you can have the lid at a partial level to allow more air into your grilling area. Another thing about the lid that is different from the Aspire, and every other grill on the market, is the stadium lighting.
Traditionally, most grills will have one central light in the back middle of the lid that throws light to the front of your grill, not even reaching the corners. Hestan has placed one light on the interior of each corner of the lid that shines directly down on the surface, lighting every inch so you can keep on grilling well into the evening.
The grates on the Hestan grill are a step above anyone else on the market. The DiamondCut grates create an exceptional grilling surface with incredible heat distribution given that the grates are made from heavy duty 5/16” stainless steel. These grates are very easy to clean. With the grate’s thickness and given the additional ceramic briquette tray installed below, their grilling surface is very evenly heated.
As with the Aspire grill, the Hestan Grill comes with patented flip-to-clean radiant trays with ceramic briquettes that generate smoky flavor from drippings. These look a bit different from the ones that are included with the Aspire but work just as well. And when they get dirty… Just flip them over and let the flames clean them!
In the photo above, you will see Hestan’s uniquely designed briquette tray on the right and you will also see the high-performance variable ceramic infrared sear burner on the left. What makes this sear burner different from others that you will see on the market is that it is a variable heat burner. What this means is that you do not have to move what you are searing to a cooler part of the grill. Just turn the ceramic burner down, close the lid and you are all set! Since these are customizable modules, if you want your grill to just have the sear burners, you could! Generally, you will see only one sear burner on one end of the grill.
The gas burner on the Hestan grill is quite different from what you see on other grills on the market. It employs Hestan’s “Trellis” burner design, which you can see below. The burner delivers up to 24,000 BTUs of high performance power which will give you precise control. It is still made of the 304 stainless steel and provides amazingly even heating, time after time.
Now comes one of my favorite parts about this grill. The infrared burner at the top of the grill. This ceramic infrared burner offers 12,500 to 18,000 BTUs, which is perfect for searing and finishing items. This also works in conjunction with the built in rotisserie, which is whisper-quiet and features a chain-driven, single-speed, 6 rpm, 50 in-lbs motor. Can you imagine the Chickens you could cook on this? Or Kebabs? What about Shwarma! The possibilities are endless with this rotisserie and infrared burner combo.
Lynx was founded in 1996, and much like Hestan, the group was very experienced in commercial kitchen cooking, however unlike Hestan, they wanted to revolutionize the outdoor cooking industry and transform it into a luxury experience that would last year after year. Soon after release, a review claimed the Lynx Professional as “the world’s greatest grill.” What helped them along, was the Lynx proprietary welding process that created seamless corners and eliminated gaps where residues could collect, while also giving Lynx grills its trademark gleam.
The Lynx Professional grill is their flagship grill, and why shouldn’t it be? It is not only beautiful in mirror hand finished stainless steel, but it is also a super smart workhorse. Smart? Yes! Lynx offers an option to upgrade their Professional grill to their Smart Series grill. Using the Smart Series Grill app, you will be able to simply send a recipe to your grill and it will automatically set times and temperatures on whatever it is you are cooking. This is done via temperature sensors in the grill as well as an electromechanical gas control valve that controls your gas output to the perfect temperature for your dish. Once it is ready to be flipped, or completed, you will receive an alert on your phone. Grilling was never easier!
When looking at the grill, you can see its hand welded quality and gleaming stainless steel. They have upgraded the back of the grill’s hood to add a wind deflecting fin on the back. In the research that Lynx has done, they had found that this simple design change deflected enough wind to make sure that everything that is cooking inside cooks evenly with no change in temperature.
The Lynx Professional grill starts up with a hot surface ignition. Just a push of the knob and the ignition lights the burner. It works all the time, every time. You do not have the uncertainty of lighting the grill as you would with a traditional lighting mechanism.
The grills on the Professional are a high gauge stainless steel, offering perfect sear marks and easy clean up. There is also a massive amount of cooking space on the grill. It extends more than 20 inches deep on most models. For example, the 36” grill offers 935 square inches of cooking surface (640 on the lower grates, 295 on the upper warming rack).
Now, under this beautiful grilling surface, will lie two different types of burners. The first burner is the ceramic burner. A traditional steel burner’s performance can change as it heats/cools over and over and over again. All of the expanding and contracting the burner metal is exposed to can weaken its bonds over time. This ceramic burner is made from cordierite ceramic, a material that is chosen for use in kilns and commercial ovens because of the high temperatures that it will endure. Lynx tested these burners relentlessly, burning on sauce, juices and other residue as well as encasing them in ice and heating them up from cold.
There is also the Trident infrared burner. With a traditional infrared burner, you will have one solid strip that emits the infrared heat to your grate and food. With the Trident infrared burner, each burner has three prongs extending from the base, all of which emit the infrared heat. Each of these burners emit up to 23, 000 BTUs of intense heat, and with an adjustable temperature control, you can precisely adjust the heat level from 300° F to 1000° F. This is a similar product used by chefs world wide in fine kitchens. You will love the searing highs and delicate lows that this infrared burner can produce.
The rotisserie system on the Lynx Professional grill is very robust. The Lynx Rotisserie has a dedicated burner, selectable positions, and selectable speeds to ensure you have a full range of options. With the optional Lynx Rotisserie Basket, you can carefully cook smaller dishes and sides while preparing a main—you can even roast your own coffee beans. It’s simply mesmerizing to watch the Lynx rotisserie steadily turn, summoning mouth-watering scents as it elicits a crisp exterior and succulent interior for lemon rotisserie chicken, red wine leg of lamb, a honey glazed ham, or a bourbon rotisserie pork roast.
Each of these grills, whether it is Hestan or Lynx, has a full line of options in terms of smoking boxes, additional side burners, undermounted cabinets for storage and more. When looking at both of these grills, you cannot go wrong with either of them. If you want to bring some color into your outdoor kitchen area, you may want to go with the Hestan grill. If you prefer classic styling, you may want to go with the Lynx professional. The features on each of these grills are very similar to each other, with small differences between them. You would be hard pressed to make a wrong decision with either grill.
We invite you to contact us at Metropolitan Appliance to ask any questions you have on these grills. Both Lynx and Hestan brands are on display in our centrally located showroom and any of our Appliance Specialists will be happy to assist you in creating your perfect outdoor cooking space.