Napoleon Rogue Review – Should you consider a gas grill?

Napoleon Rogue Review – Should you consider a gas grill?

Should you consider using a gas grill? It’s still a dangerous subject on BBQ fora. Even among my friends I noticed there wasn’t much enthousiasm when I told them I was going to test a gas grill. Offcourse they were happy a brand did contact me after reading my blog, but they often joke about it when I use the Napoleon Rogue. Is it something we should ignore being BBQ lovers or should we embrace it and look for it’s advantages. That’s what I wanted to know when I agreed with Napoleon Grills. Since I’m using the grill for 5 months now it’s time to make the balance. 

Disclosure: "This post contains test products and affiliate links. All opionions shared are my own."

Why is a gas grill contested?

There are a couple of reasons the opponents use when they say you shouldn’t buy a gas grill. The first argument is the lack of authentic BBQ taste. Immediately after that reason, mostly when the first reason get’s dismissed by facts, they tell you it’s not authentic and lacks the feeling of a real BBQ. The third reason is in the same line, telling you that if you’re just turning buttons you can as well use an oven. Are these reasons legit? I did consider them thoroughly and here’s what I believe:

Smokey grilled lemons for the sneaky bastard cocktail

About the taste:

First reason to disagree:

When talking about the taste I can honestly say I totally don’t agree with the opponents. Not that I will promote a gas grill as being the best grill to bring you some delicious BBQ taste. Since there is no difference at all. Why not? Simply because burning coals add no taste to the food by themselves. The taste you get when grilling is the taste of the juices dripping on the coals or burner plates. And that’s exactly why Napoleon Grills and other gas grills have invested on adding these burner plates on top of the gas burners. First time I used the grill I had nearly no drippings and the burners were clean. Therefore I was disappointed and thought my gas grill would be a big failure. But the more I used it, the more the drippings burned into the plates and the more flavors escaped while firing up the Q. So don’t clean the burner plates to often!

Second reason to disagree:

The second reason has nothing to do with the gas grill itself. Recently I was asked to join the jury of a culinary BBQ contest. In the contest none of the participants were using a gas grill. As a judge you had to blind taste the plates. I was a bit wondered to notice most of the meals I got served (13 plates) had nearly no authentic BBQ taste. I’m pretty sure most of these meals were made on an indirect heat source without additional smoke wood. Those who did have the BBQ taste were probably grilled directly or made with some additional smoke. So after all I guess it’s more the skills of the chef that bring the smoke taste than the heat source itself. So if you would like to have an authentic taste you can easily add some smoke chips to the smoker box and you’ll get a great taste after all.

Cider brined spitroast chicken
Cider brined spitroast chicken

Is it authentic or could you just use an oven instead?

This part is a bit different. The argument that you don’t get the BBQ feeling is something I really agree with! I have several BBQ’s and if I have the time to play with them I fear I would rarely use the Napoleon Rogue. Simply because I like making a fire, smelling some burning wood, hearing the fire whisper, … Moreover it’s my way to relax… take my time to do what I love. But saying it’s as easy as using an oven is not correct either. Especially not when you go for the authentic smoke taste. It took me a while to find out the right temperatures and amount of wood I needed to add to get the nice smokey flavor. And that’s one of the big differences with a regular oven. I don’t think you’ll add some smokewood to your oven? At least not if you’re happily married.

So it’s not easy?

Don’t get me wrong! You can go the easy way and just start a fire and grill on high heat. You don’t even need to add wood chips to get a nice meal. My wife was fond of the gas grill from the moment I explained her how to turn it on. Cooking outdoors is just great. And I bet you she makes some nice meals on the Napoleon Rogue and doesn’t want to miss it. Can I complain? I’ve been eating BBQ nearly every day the sun was out. Even in the middle of a working week. It’s easy to come home and make a delicious grilled meal in no time. By adding woodchips you even get the smokey flavor we all love. So why wait for the weekend? Why not just start to BBQ right now?

Cloud cookie pizza

 

Why should you consider the Napoleon Rogue?

Full option model

The Napoleon Rogue got about everything you need in a grill. There are two medium heat burners on the outside for indirect cooking and a high heat burner in the middle for grilling at high temperature (goes above 300°C/570°F). So if you want to make some pizza you’ll be able to get your temperature right (Not battle tested by me). By closing the lid you’ll be able to monitor the temperature by a fine working thermometer. Moreover it’s a good way to create an oven effect and keep the smoke inside your pit. Besides the burners there’s also the side burner which you can use to cook some pasta or potatoes outdoor and save some space in the pit for your meat. The grill is finished with a storage room for the Propane bottles with some extra space to store some of your tools.

cider brined spit roast chicken
cider brined spit roast chicken made with the spitroast and charcoal tray

 

Extra’s: Rotisserie

Besides the basics mentioned above there are two interesting options I could test. First there’s the rotisserie I’ve been longing for a couple of years. I’m ashamed to tell you I’ve only used it twice so far… And it got nothing to do with the rotisserie itself. I had a fun time using it for this delicious rotisserie chicken. You can easily adjust the forks to what you’re cooking and put on a counterweight to balance the meat. This way the rotisserie will be able to spin on a  well balanced tempo to get an even roast. Only minor point of criticism: There’s not a much place between the rotisserie and the lid. So doing a piglet or goat on the spitroast might get though (I didn’t test it though).

Cuban style pulled pork made on the spitroast with charcoal tray

Extra’s: Charcoal tray

For those who want to combine the ease of a gas grill with the authentic feeling of a charcoal BBQ the Napoleon Rogue has a nice option: the charcoal tray. By removing the burner plates and adding the charcoal tray in the Napoleon Rogue you can use the grill as a regular charcoal BBQ. You can easily start the coals by using the burners. It’s even possible to do a long run slow cooking session. Yet you have to pay close attention to the temperature. You do need to add some extra briquettes quite often. But for the purists that’s a good thing: you can’t say it’s not a challenge. If I could add one suggestion it would be to create a possibility to make it more airtight. But most of all adding to ventilation wheels so you could create some airflow for smoking and temperature control.

Southern vegetable breadpudding smoked on the Napoleon Rogue

Last but not least: the looks

Besides all options you don’t want an ugly grill messing up your garden view. The Napoleon Rogue looks bad ass. Just the way it should look. They payed good attention to details. The thermometer for instance is a real eye-catcher on the black lid. It’s look is pretty straight with some slight curves and the logo has been added on several places (no panic: mostly subtle). On the other side of the sideburner there’s a side table bringing soms symmetry (and it’s easy). On those sideplates there’s room to hang some tools. And that’s just what I need or I’ll drop those everywhere and constantly need to search for them.

Napoleon Rogue Review
Smokey Marinated grilled mushrooms

Conclusion:

So we started with the question: “Should you consider buying a gas grill or not?” My honest answer to this: “You really should consider it”. Not that I’m saying it can replace your beloved kamado, kettle bbq, offset smoker, … Cause those are all about the authentic craftmanship feeling. Yet they have some advantages you won’t get with a charcoal grill. So it’s all about what you prefer.

Pro’s:

  • The biggest advantage: you’ll be able to cook immediately without getting dirty
  • Easy to handle when you get to know the beast
  • A lot of space to grill
  • More BBQ even during the week
  • There’s a lid (some regular grills don’t have one)
  • You can cook as easily on low temperature (100°C/200°F) than on high heat (300°C/570°F)
  • There’s a side burner for cooking sauce, pasta, … –> full meals outdoor
  • You can convert it to a charcoal grill by using the charcoal tray
  • Delicious bbq flavor by adding woodchips
  • You can add a spitroast!
  • It got the looks
  • Room to store some tools
  • Easy to clean
  • Even the wife loves it

Con’s:

  • Rather expensive
  • Small airflow for smoking
  • Hard to control the temperature while using the charcoal tray (needs a lot of attention but that can be a pro too…)
  • Spitroast is close to the lid.
  • Possible arguments with your lady to decide who’s cooking…
  • Feels less authentic
Nutty Ribs smoked on the Napoleon Rogue

What can you make on the Napoleon Rogue?

No need for a longer text over here! Anything you want! Take a look at the following recipes and you’ll find out all of it’s possibilities. If you don’t own a Napoleon Rogue, don’t worry. You possibly will be able to cook those recipes too!

  1. Cuban Style Pulled pork with mojo verde:  Recipe
  2. Nutty Ribs: Recipe
  3. Pasta con scampi alla griglia / smoked garlic shrimp pasta: Recipe
  4. Cider Brined Spitroast chicken: Recipe
  5. The sneaky bastard (cocktail): Recipe 
  6. Marinated grilled mushrooms (appetizer/side): Recipe 
  7. Cloud cookie pizza (vegetarian): Recipe
  8. Southern Vegetable breadpudding (vegetarian/sidedish): Recipe
FULL DISCLOSURE
With my blog I try to share some passion. Some times I get some test products by passionate people or make use of affiliate links to cope with the costs. By buying through these links I earn a small commision without costs for you! All opinions shared are my own and no false statements will be made!

In this post: 
- I used the Napoleon Rogue Gas Grill I got from Napoleon grills for 5 months to test their product! I'm not paid to share there product.
- There are affiliate links on the book "Napoleon Rogue" "Charcoal Tray" and "Rotisserie"


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