GoGalley Eagle 100 Grill
GoGalley Eagle 100 Grill
Meathead's Hands On Review of GoGalley.
GoGalley Eagle 100 Grill: The Best Large Portable Rig Ever
I'm a big football fan, an undersized high school linebacker who even did spring training with the University of Florida Gators as Paper Gator when I was sports editor of the campus paper (click the link to read about my dubious record at the Swamp). I'm the guy who knows enough about the game to scream at the coaches from deep in the end zone bleachers as if they'll hear and heed me.
My playing career is loooong behind me so now I have gotten serious about tailgating. I love nothing more than going to Bears games in the snow and getting there early enough to cook a hearty meal and down a few adult beverages.
Tailgating is such a ritual that I even have a checklist of what to take. I usually bring a small portable gas grill or charcoal grill, but in the fall of 2011, thanks to the manufacturer, I had the opportunity to amp up my game with a new product, the GoGalley.
Packed with innovation, this is the best rig I've ever seen for tailgating or camping. But GoGalley is not just for football games. Heck it is even a fine backyard setup. It is not cheap at about $2,000, but it is a bargain for what it has under the hood and what it does.
The GoGalley is a single unit that contains a grill, a smoker/oven, a side burner, large work surfaces, storage, and a trailer hitch. But that is like saying an F-22 is a jet with some weapons. This baby has everything except the kitchen sink.
Let's start with the most clever innovation on this rig: The trailer hitch and the way the designers have made the GoGalley portable.
The whole shebang folds up into a box that is 32.5" wide, 49" tall, and 41" deep plus 10" for the trailer hitch. It fits nicely on the skid on which it is shipped.
It weighs about 350 pounds. When it is folded up, you roll it back to the trailer hitch on your car or truck, remove a large T shaped heavy duty handscrew that holds the trailer hitch securely to the body, and move the hitch on the grill in position to mate with the vehicle. Slide the two together, lock them, toggle a switch on the grill's side, and a battery powered motor and cable winches the unit up off the ground and snug against the vehicle's hitch. Put the T screw back in place, lock it to the hitch, slide the casters off, and there's enough clearance to motor down the road at highway speeds. Exact clearance height will depend on your vehicle. The hitch connection fits a DOT approved 2" square receiver hitch with a minimum of class III rating which means it can handle up to 500 pounds. If your hitch is smaller, there are adapters available.
This design is especially cool because some universities, like Notre Dame, prohibit trailers in their tailgating lots. When you get to the stadium or campground, lower it with the winch, unlock it, unfold it so the sideburner is on one side and the smoker is on the other side, lift the work tables, and you have everything but the kitchen sink. Setting up takes about 3 minutes if you stop to drink a beer.
You can fold it up and lock it back on the trailer hitch while you're at the game and never have to worry about someone stealing it. After the game you can be back up and running in minutes.
GoGalley is designed for portability, but there is no reason it can't be used in your back yard. It can be opened up into a straight line as in the photo above, or in a V shape, or even a U shape making for a very compact and efficient kitchen. The wheels on the side cabinets lock tight when you decide on your configuration.
Gas grill. The center section is a 4-burner gas grill with 540 square inches of primary cooking surface and a 150 square inch removable warming rack above. Each burner is 12,000 BTU for 48,000 BTU total. The main grates are cast iron and are held in by easy to open clamps for easy cleaning. The burners line up side to side so you can cook indirect or have a hot zone on one side and a warm zone on the other. There are porcelain coated heat diffuser plates above the stainless steel burners and a tray under the grill is angled to catch and drain grease to a small pan in the cabinet that is easy to remove. The burners light with a push-button piezo switch, and the designers have put in two of them in case one fails, which it shouldn't. The propane tank straps into the storage cabinet below the grill, but you should remove it when driving. The hood is double layered on the top to help retain heat. I had no trouble getting it over 600°F on a 70°F day as measured by my lab grade thermocouples. Heat Flux Rating for the 4-burner gas grill is 88.89. Our posted Heat Flux Rating is thrown off by the additional 672 square inches of primary cook surface in the smoker.
Smoker/oven. When GoGalley is unfurled, there is a nifty gas smoker and oven on the right that, if it was a standalone it might be the best gas smoker on the market. Unlike all the others, this one is not flimsy. It has a solid steel frame, double walls, two exhaust vents, a stainless steel burner, and silicone door gaskets. It has a cast iron box for smoke chips and a water pan right above it for humidity. There are four 12" wide by 14" long removable shelves that can hold 8 short racks of baby backs, 4 whole chickens, 4 pork butts, etc. Skip the wood chips and you have an oven that can be used as a warming oven or for baking cookies, rolls, or beans. When pegged on low with the water pan in place it can smoke at an ideal 225°F easily (most cabinet gassers cannot go this low). The top of the smoker gets hot so it can be used to keep a serving platter warm, but it can also burn you if you're not careful, and you don't want to absently mindedly put an unopened beer on it.
Burner/boiler/fryer. The left side has a big cast iron burner that puts out 25,000 BTU. There are three levels on which it can be set. Raise it up to use a large skillet, wok, or griddle; drop it down low to insert the capacious six gallon aluminum cauldron that comes with the system. The pot has a perforated insert. You can fry a pretty good size turkey in that baby or boil a mess of lobsters. If you are foolish enough to overfill the turkey fryer or put a frozen bird into the oil and it overflows and catches on fire, there is an emergency fuel turn-off under the grill that goes from open to closed with a quarter turn.
Work tables. Then raise up the two 29" long stainless steel work tables, one on each side, and there enough room for prep and serving. They are sturdy enough to hold whatever you need, but I wouldn't sit on them. The wing on the left has a hole for a standard 13 gallon garbage bag and a ring that holds it in place. There are even tool hooks on the tables. Nice details.
There is a one year guarantee on parts and workmanship. How well will it take a beating riding on the back of an SUV to the games and being rolled around parking lots? The body is framed with square tubular heavy duty 11 gage steel and parts appear to be welded properly. The moving parts use long heavy piano hinges. Latches appear to be well made and mounted.
Many parts are stainless and the rest is powder coated, a nice sturdy finish, but black is the only color available at the moment. I am told an all stainless option is in the works.
It comes with a heavy duty vinyl coated water proof cover made from the trap material used for hauling steel on flatbed trucks. There is a cinch belt to hold it in place while in transit.
It comes with two bimetal dial thermometers that work pretty well when I compared them to my lab grade thermocouples, but, as always, you should use digital thermometers to be sure.
Cooking with the GoGalley
The manufacturer sent me one of the first units off the assembly line to test and I took it to a 2:30 p.m. college football game at Soldier Field in Chicago. We got there at about 9 a.m., claimed a great parking space, and put my Last Meal Ribs in the smoker. I had put Meathead's Memphis Dust on them the night and cut them in half so there was plenty of room around them in the smoker.
Then I made omelets for breakfast. I had broken the eggs before we left home, chopped some fresh herbs into the mix, and poured it into a plastic bottle. When I got there all I had to do was drop some butter into the hot non-stick pan on the side burner, shake the bottle, and pour in the eggs.
The ribs were ready by noon. I pulled them out of the smoker, tossed them on the hot grill, painted on the sauce, and sizzled them for about three minutes per side so the sugars would caramelize. Needless to say, our campsite was popular with passersby. Meanwhile I was putting the finishing touches on Italian sassiges on the grill (there's plenty of room for them and the ribs) while my wife was frying some onions and peppers in olive oil on the side burner. When the ribs came off I toasted the inside of the buns for the sausages on the grill, nestled the sausages in, and topped them with the fried onions and peppers. Condiments were laid out on the side tables, and the platter of ribs was placed on top of the smoker to stay warm.
The other night I made smoked burgers, so easy with this unit. I popped a couple of 6 ounce ground chuck patties in the smoker at about 225°F, tossed in a handful of pellets, and 10 minutes later took them out and put the on the preheated grill to build the crust. Now there's a sure-fire hit for your next tailgater.
There are a few minor bugs to be ironed out with future designs (this is, after all version, 1.0), but absolutely nothing serious enough that would make me postpone a purchase.
The big wheels make rolling it around easy, but they must be removed when GoGalley is attached to your vehicle and you are motoring down the highway or they will scrape bottom. They are very easy to put in place and locking them is done by tightening a large T-shaped thumbscrew. But if you don't get that screw down tight, the wheels can pop off if you hit a big crack in the ground. Just make sure you tighten them well, perhaps with a pair of pliers. Even with the wheels removed, the unit can come close to scraping bottom on some smaller SUVs with a low mounted hitch. Also, the unit must be on level surface when you detach it from the hitch or it will be difficult to extract the tongue from the hitch.
The front wheels have an easy to use locking mechanism to prevent GoGalley from rolling when it is in use. Alas, the locks can't be accessed when the unit is folded. The wheels are so good that it just might roll away without locking them down, so I recommend putting the front wheels on the back and visa versa so you can lock the rear wheels when it is still folded.
For some reason, there is no igniter for the side burner and it must be lit with a match or a lighter and the markings on the knob for the side burner as well as the knob for the smoker don't line up properly on mine. Federal safety laws require lots of vents on gas grills to allow air in and combustion gases out. When hauling GoGalley I am concerned that some water and mud may get into the cabinet under the grill through vents in the bottom, but I haven't tested this yet.
The side burner has a small round metal disk that keeps rain out of the side burner. I would prefer a square lid that will cover the whole left side cabinet and a door to keep out rain and snow when I am cooking (hey, I'm no fair weather fan!). Also, when I am done cooking I leave the unit uncovered to cool before I put the vinyl cover on and, well, sometimes adult beverages are served and I forget, and that left side is unprotected.
Alas, the only major shortcoming of the GoGalley is that it lacks the kitchen sink. And it can't guarantee a victory for the home team.
$2,699 Manufacturer's suggested retail price (MSRP), actual price may vary.
Where To Buy (Buying from these suppliers supports this website):
Combination Grill & Smoker
1,212 square inches ( about 59 burgers )
150 square inches
Manufacturer claims that all or practically all of this device is made in the USA
40. Heat Flux is the BTU per square inch and is a more useful measure of how much heat a grill delivers than BTU alone.
Cooked On It
We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.