Our favorite Japanese cooking gadget maker promises a premium steak dinner for one with no fuss.

Ever want a steak dinner without all the smoke and grease splatter that comes with grilling? Well, Japanese company Thanko, which produces unique but useful items like the “hands-free smartphone holder” and the one-person bento rice cooker, have released an ingenious product that allows you to stone-grill food for one person. The Wood Stone Raclette Cooker is a solo cooking device that just requires an outlet to work, and you’ll have yourself a meal cooked on a granite slab.

Of course, our local Japanese-language reporter and gourmet Tasuku Egawa had to try it out for himself. He purchased one for 7,980 yen (US$70.71) and gave us a report on cooking a steak from start to finish with the gadget.

▼ When it arrived at his place, it was bigger and heavier than expected.

The set comes already preassembled, for the most part. There is a metal plate on the bottom, and in the middle are the heating rods. The top is open to allow for either a plate or a grill to be set on it. It fit his desk space surprisingly well, so it’s perfect for deskwork snacking.

If you’re wondering what the bottom plate is for, it’s for setting any of the four mini raclette pans on for heating up smaller portions or more liquid-y recipes.

▼ Because steak dinner isn’t just about steak.

▼ The heat is controlled by a dial, offering better control than fixed heat settings like low, medium, and high.

These two plates are responsible for making the package so heavy, Tasuku figured. The metal one on the left is for plain old grilling, and the granite stone plate on the right is the star of the kit.

▼ Guess which one Tasuku picked to try first?

As you can see, the stone plate is fairly heavy-duty. Tasuku was afraid of what would happen to his floor should he accidentally drop it.

▼ He definitely wouldn’t get much of his apartment deposit back.

And now, on to the actual cooking part. Tasuku picked up a nice, juicy steak from his local supermarket, prescored and ready to grill.

After heating up the plate, he wasted no time in tossing the slab of meat onto the granite plate.

In two of the mini raclette pans, he decided to throw in some leftovers he had from Japanese food chain Matsuya, some steak slices and a bit of macaroni and cheese, since he wanted to see how long it would take to heat up the leftovers in the device.

Here was his ultimate setup. Tasuku would like you to ignore the fact that he mistakenly put the granite plate on top of the steel grill plate – it’s really fine without the steel plate – but we digress.

The first blessing (or curse) that Tasuku noticed upon the start of his grilling journey is that the bottom heated up really, really quickly. If you just want to heat up what’s on the bottom, that’s great, but if you want it to finish at the same time as whatever is on top of the stone plate, you’ll probably need to start the top layer earlier. Turns out, that slab of granite takes time to heat up.

▼ The leftover steak heated up quickly and extra-juicy, likely because the stone plate above it prevented any heat from escaping.

Tasuku also noticed that the bottom section is quite shallow, so he unfortunately burned a few pieces of macaroni in the heating process.

▼ Don’t worry, he still had enough left over.

He also wished that the pans weren’t separate because he found it a bit tedious to keep track of. It would be better just as a single pan, in his opinion. Another thing to watch out for is that the groove carved into the edge of the stone plate is shallow and collects liquid quickly. If you don’t keep a careful eye on it, it will overflow quickly.

▼ Tasuku recommends having a few tissues on hand to blot the edges every now and then.

Despite the need for careful blotting, though, he was extremely pleased with the final product. There was no scorching, it cooked evenly throughout, and, best of all, it didn’t ruin his work area with flying grease or smoke.

▼ Just the pure, unadulterated taste of cooked steak.

Tasuku thinks this is a big selling point. It’s not enough of a fire hazard to set off your smoke alarm, so you can grill to your heart’s – or stomach’s – content. Care is also fairly easy, with one small catch. The granite surface is smooth, so a light wash will get rid of most of the grease and any excess food stuck to it, but the groove is quite delicate, so you’ll need to clean it with something very, very soft, like a brush.

He also recommends taking off the screw covers on the sides since they come off easily. They’re just there for decoration and protection, so taking them off won’t affect the actual grilling process.

▼ Sayonara, screw covers.

And there you have it! Even with its few drawbacks, Tasuku thoroughly enjoyed his solo stone grilling experience. He thinks it’s great for people who want to have a really nice meal at home alone, or for people that work at home a lot. You can enjoy a premium dinner right at your desk, and afterwards, you can enjoy your food coma with Thanko’s Chin Rest Arm.

Photos ©SoraNews24
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