- 500 square inches of cooking space
- Stainless Steel V-shape cooking grates
- Heavy steel firebox
- Body lined in 1/2-inch firebrick
- Steel construction with stainless steel components
- Grate adjusts from 4 to 19 inches above the coals
- Mounted on four rubber wheels
- Shovel and Ash tool included
- Made in Argentina by Nuke USA
Full Review – The Puma by Nuke
- Authentic Design
- Heavy Construction
- Large Cooking Area
- Great Cooking Versatility
- Prone to rust
The Nuke Puma is an Argentinean-style grill (or Parrilla) actually made in Argentina and imported to the United States. This is a serious grill, weighing in at over 350 pounds. It offers all the traditional features. To the left is a heavy steel basket for burning whole wood logs (or chunks or even charcoal) down to the properly sized coals for cooking. These are shoveled over the firebrick and spread out to the pattern you want.
Unlike Nuke’s previous entry into this market, the Nuke Delta, the Puma has no lid. This is pure grilling in a very traditional style. It requires a little practice. But then, this kind of cooking is a skill. But don’t worry. The learning curve isn’t very steep. The secret is in knowing how and where to place the burning coals.
First of all, you can simply use charcoal. Any charcoal really. Light it as you would and pour it out over the firebrick floor of the grill. Level it out and you have an even and consistent heat source. In this way, it is like cooking over an evenly built campfire. Amazingly enough, this style of grill is incredibly versatile once you master a few principles.
The body of this grill is a large, rectangular box, lined with firebricks. Using the traditional method, you burn down logs or large chunks of meat into coals. Shovel those over to the cooking area of the grill. Then pile them up for intense heat or level them out for a lower, more even heat. The cooking grate can be lowered to four inches above the fire or lifted to nineteen inches away (a warming distance).
But it is in fire management where you control the cooking. A ring of coals around food will cook it indirectly. It will need to be flipped occasionally for evenness. A pile of coals directly under food will sear. Thick layers on one side will make a high-temperature area and few or no coals will create a cool area. You can grill several different foods at the same time and get them all done together. All the time, the firebrick will absorb and radiate a consistent and even heat.
The Nuke Puma is a serious grill. With a firebrick-lined cooking area, this grill weighs in at over 350 pounds. You will need help getting it assembled. The main body of the grill is heavy, double-layer steel. The whole thing sits on four wheels so you can move it around, but these are not proper casters, so it doesn’t exactly turn. You will want to get it where it is going to stay and leave it there.
The cooking surface for this grill is suspended on a pair of cables and raised or lowered with a large wheel. The 500 square inches of cooking surface is V-shaped stainless steel and angled towards the front. Grease, collected in the grates, drains into a trough in the front. This reduces drippings getting to the fire and potentially causing flare-ups. The grates come in three sections and are lightweight, but you are cooking by the heat of the fire, not by heating the grates.
The front of the grill has a full-width drop-down door, kind of like the tailgate on a pickup truck. Opened, you can access the fire and move the hot coals around. Closed it holds in heat and helps to keep the wind away from the fire. This door is heavy but it locks securely in place.
With this grill, you get a shovel that exactly fits the firebox and an ash tool for grabbing and moving the hot coals. There is an optional griddle that sits in the firebox for cooking breakfast, vegetables, or other small items. There is also a nice and very large cover, which I wholeheartedly recommend.
The Nuke Puma has some stainless steel components. The upper section of the grill is all stainless and the walls of the grill are also capped in stainless steel. Aside from this, the rest of the grill is painted steel. It will need to be kept clean and covered to prevent rusting. In the month that I have tested this grill, it has developed some minor rust in a few areas.
The construction quality of this grill is good and while heavy, assembly is straightforward. The real beauty in this grill is the pure experience of grilling. For those that want to get serious about live-fire cooking, this is the grill to get. It is simply fun. If you do get this grill, get some good hardwood and get grilling. You will have a blast.