Manufacturer: West of Memphis
West of Memphis BBQ is a family owned business in Mesa, AZ, that designs and manufactures a mind boggling assortment of steel smokers, grills, cabinets, kitchens and tailgating systems. These clever and ruggedly attractive hand-made products are modular and combine an unusual mix of tradition and technology. They morph before your eyes as fireboxes convert from charcoal and wood to gas with ease and cookers switch from smokers to fryers to pizza ovens. In the picture below you can see many of their components. Like Legos, they can be assembled into infinite configurations. They even have a trailer mounted options.
West of Memphis made their first grill in December 2010, sold their first model at the end of 2011 and won the VESTA Award from Hearth & Home Magazine for Charcoal, Wood, Barbecues and Smokers in March of 2012.
I caught up with owner, Steve Goldenstein, for a brief conversation and within 10 minutes my head was spinning; the man is on fire with ideas and enthusiasm. Meathead had exactly the same experience. With 300+ products and counting, I had to stop and ask how the heck he did all this in such a short time. Turns out Goldenstein owns Studio Iron, LLC; a big art and architectural metal forge. So he's no novice when it comes to metal fabrication.
These are handsome, handmade systems. Standard construction is all plate steel, but you can order the shiny stainless stuff if you wish. My first impression was they have a Wild West look, but Goldenstein was actually inspired by very old, ornate metal grills and ovens he saw in Italy. My second impression was they must be expensive. And they can be, but you can get started (remember these are modular and the possibilities are endless) for about $600. For that price you get a wood/charcoal cooker with a 480 square inch iron cooking grate and a stand on wheels. Add $300 for a lid and you've got a smoker. For a couple hundred bucks more you can slide out the wood/coal insert and replace it with a gas burner module or have the ability to change from one to the other. After that the sky is the limit for this imaginative grillmeister: Santa Maria Grills, Ovens, Elaborate Pit Smokers and Tail Gating Systems and 45 different cooking components like deep fryers, chili roasters, rotisseries and woks.
Grates are cold rolled steel, sandblasted, oiled and burned. Goldenstein says it is similar to cooking on cast iron, but his grates are pre-seasoned. Just like cast iron, however, they will rust if not maintained. He declares all West of Memphis products are 100% made in America and will never be anything else. Initially, every cooker was a custom order and all sales were direct. Now they are working with a few distributers and have put together popular configurations in their Ironman Series. Lead times range from a few days for basic models to 4 weeks for a large, made to order moveable pit.