By: Max Good
Although MHP makes a large, newer styled stainless grill, the WNK4 is the largest model that retains their classic design. Made with cast aluminum, it is practically indestructible. It will withstand harsh weather, abuse, and never rust. MHP owners love to brag about how old their grill is, how they never clean it, and especially how they never cover it. I remember these big black boxes on ground posts when I was growing up. Not having seen one up close since my childhood, I was struck by the old fashioned appearance. Whether they’re dated or classic is in the eye of the beholder. In the 60s this cast aluminum design was the rule rather than exception. It is still made by a few other companies like PGS right here in the USA. But you won’t find these at any big box store where almost every grill is steel and, more often than not, made in China.
The WNK4 passes a lift the lid and shake test with ease. The cast aluminum housing of the cooking chamber is thick and solid. The novel “Stay Kool” handle is a perforated stainless steel tube. It rolls freely within its side mountings as you lift.
Remove the cooking grate and you’ll see notches on the front and back of the grill body which are built-in shish kabob skewer holders. Instead of metal flavor bars over the top of the burners, MHP uses “Flavor Master” porcelain briquettes which rest on a porcelain coated grate just above the burners. In the beginning, lava rocks were employed, but the smooth uniform shape of ceramic briquettes promotes even heat and allows gunk to burn off more effectively. MHP goes a step further by using kiln fired, porcelain coated briquettes. They believe this system provides more even heat, vaporizes drippings better than most flavor bars and, of course, will not rust as do most flavor bars. The bottom aluminum casting tapers toward the back to divert grease into a small stainless steel cup. However, MHP claims not much grease escapes.
All MHP grills present a variety of options. The WNK4 may be ordered with stainless steel rod cooking grates and warming racks, or “Sear Magic” grates. Sear Magic consists of two sided, reversible aluminum cooking grates. One side is ribbed for grill marks and the other is smooth. As the name indicates, they intensify heat from standard gas burners and work in tandem with IR burners to sear while reducing moisture loss. They are similar to the popular GrillGrates, but not quite the same, and of course MHP came first. Our posted price is based on a basic WNK4 grill head mounted on a two wheel cart. Heat Flux rating is also based on this configuration.
It has one large, 40,000 BTU stainless steel “H” burner that is effectively two burners fused together with two controls for zone cooking. Temperature range is 300°F to 550°F. The WNK4 has two NuStone (faux stone) shelves or two stainless steel fold down shelves. Many options are available that can drive up the price significantly. You may add a side burner and/or a rotisserie kit and 12,000 BTU backburner. The “H” burner may be replaced by three Infrared burners, or two cast stainless burners and one IR burner to create a “Hybrid” model. These IR and Hybrid models have three controls and come with Sear Magic grates. Available in natural or propane gas, it can also be retro-converted. Electronic ignition is battery powered. Most MHPs come with built in “heat indicators”. We do not like “heat indicators” and prefer you purchase a digital thermometer. They actually removed them for a period of time but then, bowing to public demand, brought them back with a higher quality device they claim to be accurate within 15 to 25°F.
MHP grill heads can be built into permanent installations or mounting on a variety of posts, columns, and carts. You can chose a 48″ aluminum post for in-ground installation or various columns and carts offered in aluminum, coated steel and stainless on wheels. Some have enclosures for a propane tank, some do not, but none have doors, shelves, condiment trays, etcetera, and none of these features are offered as extras. A stainless steel masonry enclosure for built-ins with a matching set of double doors is also available. All stainless steel carts, burners and grates are high grade 304 stainless steel.
For built-in installations, MHP offers some drawers, doors and a pull out trash compartment. BBQ tools, shish kabob skewers, a smoke box, and other accessories are available. As for parts, these guys have been around since the beginning of gas grilling and many older models are still working in the field. They got parts. They even have a “Restore a Grill” section at their website.
The warranty is exceptional and testifies to stories of indestructability MHP owners are keen to share about their grills. Limited Lifetime Warranty on housings, control panel, stainless steel burners, cooking racks and Sear Magic Grids. 5 Year Warranty on IR burners and porcelain briquettes. 1 Year Warranty on igniter, gas valves, knobs, NuStone shelves and briquette grates.
If you like both low maintenance and durability, take a look at MHP, particularly the cast aluminum models. There are reasons the MHP warranty is so good. Since the “H” burners max out at about 550°F, consider getting at least one IR burner. They don’t come with a lot of goodies, they aren’t cheap and some may feel they lack curb appeal. But these cookers are time-tested, rock solid, versatile, and unique.
Modern Home Products introduced the first gas grills to America in 1960. Made with cast aluminum, Modern Home Products grills withstand harsh outdoor conditions and won’t rust. Some MHP owners love to brag about how old their grill is, how they never clean it and especially how they never cover it. In the 60s this cast aluminum design was the rule rather than exception. In recent years MHP introduced stainless steel grills bowing to changes in consumer tastes. Aluminum grills are still made by a few other companies like PGS right here in the USA. But you won’t find these at any big box store where almost every grill is steel and, more often than not, made in China.
Published On: 12/18/2012 Last Modified: 3/4/2021
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