The Aspire by Hestan is the most beautiful grill I’ve ever owned. It gives me a sense of culinary confidence and makes me savor every cook. Read more to find out why.
Disclosure Aspire by Hestan compensated me for this review. Opinions are my own.
Y’all might not know this about me, but I’ve been a collector of classic cars throughout my life. It’s another hobby of mine. But never have I felt that that passion really combined with my love of grilling, until I got the Aspire by Hestan 36″ Rotisserie Gas Grill.
First of all, this beast arrived in a crate that was almost taller than me. It was boarded up safely like Fort Knox.
Once we got through the crates and the protective wrap, I unveiled a grill so beautiful I felt like it was a classic car that deserved to be treated with an extra special touch.
Just look at the finishes. The Marquise Accented handle and control panel and monogrammed temperature gauge are so gorgeous.
Even the Zamak die-cast knobs are stunning and are much more durable than plastic knobs you’ll find on other grills.
What makes the Aspire by Hestan Special
Okay. Enough oohing and aahing over its beauty. This is a grill after all, so it’s time to break down what makes this gas grill special and worth its higher price tag.
First off, there is no assembly required. The entire body is constructed of 304 heavy-gauge stainless steel and is welded together. The spring-assisted hood opens easily to reveal the inner components.
Let’s start with the primary burners. On the right and in the center, you’ll find the hefty 304 stainless steel tubular burners. They deliver 23,000 BTUs of consistent heat.
Resting on top of each burner is a radiant tray with ceramic disc briquettes. As the drippings hit the briquettes, they generate flavor, similar to flavorizer bars in other grills, but better.
A really cool feature about these trays is that they if they start to get a little too much build up, you can just flip them over. The briquettes peek through the top and bottom of the tray. So when you flip them, the cooked-on residue can burn off.
The main grill grates, made of stainless steel rods, set over the briquette tray. This is your main grilling surface.
Do you see that little notch in the top right and bottom left? Those are there, so you can easily grab the grates and remove them when it’s time for spring cleaning.
The Sear Burner
To the left of the ceramic briquette tray is the ceramic infrared sear burner. As the infrared heats up the ceramic, it creates an even layer of heat that can get up to 1,000F degrees. The mesh screen on top protects food that slips through the grate from falling directly onto the ceramic.
Let me tell you – even on low, this bad boy creates a powerful sear, similar to what you would get from cooking in a cast iron pan. Just look at that crust on that ribeye.
While you can order the Aspire Grill without the rotisserie, why would you? Go for the versatility.
The rotisserie burner is in the back of the grill. Like the sear station, it also uses infrared heat and a ceramic plate. It puts out 12,000-18,000 BTUs.
When you order the rotisserie version, you’ll get the whole setup that includes the spit, forks and electric motor that mounts to the side. It also comes with a broiling pan that you can rest under the meat to keep your grill clean. Or as an added bonus, place some veggies in that pan and cook them in all the drippings.
The rotisserie has its own knob, and when you’re cooking with it, you want to be sure to leave the other burners off. All the heat you’ll need will come from that rotisserie burner in the back.
I’ve also found that the rotisserie burner makes for a nice outdoor salamander. For those who don’t know, a salamander is a broiler that chefs use to create a superb crust on final plates.
I made Philly cheesesteaks from the rotisserie eye of round pictured above. Then I used the rotisserie burner on high to melt the cheese until it was nice and bubbly.
Additional Aspire by Hestan Features
In addition to buying the Aspire with or without the rotisserie, you have a few more options.
It comes in a gorgeous collection of colors. I of course went for orange, which is called Citra. Your other options are orion, reef, sol, bora bora, steeletto, matador, prince and stealth (or in common terms – navy blue, pink, yellow, turquoise, gray, red, royal blue and black).
You also have the option of buying just the grill top itself to create a built-in outdoor kitchen or the grill top with a two-door tower cart with collapsable shelves. That’s the version I chose.
The Aspire can be setup with either a liquid propane or natural gas connection.
One feature that took me a bit by surprise is that the Aspire needs electricity to start. I’m used to battery ignitors on gas grills, but this one is actually powered by electricity, so you need to set it near a power source (unless you light it with a match).
Once you hit that ignitor, it’s like starting a classic car. It’s so smooth and the burners light up in no time. Having power creates an added bonus – fancy lighting.
Two 20-watt halogen bulbs light up the grill interior and a set of LED lights illuminate the control panel. Check out how bright it is.
The Drip Pan
To me, the effort it takes to clean a grill is almost as important as how well it cooks. Therefore, there is one more incredible feature I have to share that sets this grill apart from all other gas grills – the drip pan.
No matter how great a cook you are, food is going to fall through the grates. Usually it will cook off, but some of those big pieces just end up charred and resting in the bottom of your grill along with a pool of grease.
With the Aspire, all of those charred bits and drippings end up in a pull-out drip pan that runs almost the entire width and length of the grill. It’s tucked away under the control panel above the doors.
All you have to do is line it with some foil. When it starts to collect some debris, pull out the pan, wad up the foil and toss it in the trash. And as I mentioned above, if the briquette trays get too dirty, just flip them over and they’ll clean themselves with the heat.
Aspire has created some videos that help break down the features even more. Click on the button below to watch them.
To get a great cook on any grill, it’s important that you understand how to control the heat.
The Aspire is pretty simple. The knobs turn to low, medium or high and the temperature gauge on the lid will display your general overall grill temp. The rotisserie knob has the same settings, but the temp gauge isn’t accurate with this burner. It’s engineered for cooking on the main grates.
Cooking over direct heat on this grill is simple. You just turn the burners on and go.
You can also cook over indirect heat by using just the right burner and leaving the center burner off. Because that sear burner gets so hot, I don’t like using it for an indirect heat source. I prefer to just go with the right burner.
I would say this is the only setback I found with the Aspire. When I’m cooking indirect, I prefer to have the two outer burners on. I find that provides a more even cook. You’re still able to cook indirectly though on the 36″. You just need to rotate the food throughout the cook.
These pizza twists turned out great. I elevated them on an upside down sheet pan, set them over the center burner (which was turned off), and cooked them indirectly with heat from the right burner.
If you like to do a lot of indirect cooking, and you prefer not to have to rotate your food, upgrade to the 42″. It has three independent tubular burners with the briquette trays, plus the separate sear burner. Or, if you don’t plan to use the sear burner, you can have the grill built with the three tubular burners.
It’s worth mentioning that you can also get the Aspire in a 30″ grill, which is a two-burner model. Again, you can choose the tubular burners, sear burner or rotisserie option.
The Hestan Brand
Some might say that grilling is grilling. Shoot I might have said that before I got this grill, but there is something about standing in front of the Aspire that gives you a feeling of culinary confidence.
Driving a 2010 sedan is not the same as driving my 1967 Convertible Mustang. The Aspire is my Mustang of grills. From the moment I start the burners, I get excited. The grip of the marquise handle is smooth yet sturdy like a leather-wrapped steering wheel.
When I want a little power, I ignite the sear burner, and when I want to ride smooth and steady, I go with the rotisserie. Each meal I’ve grilled so far has been fantastic.
It should be no surprise. The Hestan brand has been around since the 1970s, and they have worked with America’s greatest chefs to develop culinary kitchen masterpieces for restaurants and homes. They brought that design, function and innovation to their first line of grills as Hestan Outdoor. Now, they have a new lineup with the Aspire collection.
It’s worth mentioning that there is another grill company out there with a very similar name, but in my opinion that’s where their similarities end. If you want to do more research on the Hestan, be sure to spell it with an A.
Aspire by Hestan Accessories
On top of all the built-in features, the Aspire does have a few accessories available.
The Griddle Plate sets right on top of the grate over the briquette tray, so you can whip up smashburgers, saute veggies or even sear scallops.
The Smoker Set will give you smokey barbecue flavor, even though you’re using a gas grill. It is a heavy-gauge stainless steel tube. You fill it with wood pellets or wood chips and place it over the burner at medium to medium-low heat. When I used it on the sear burner, I started seeing smoke in about 15 minutes.
For even more authentic barbecue flavor, you can even use the Charcoal Tray. It sits right over the tubular burner. You add your coals and light the grill. When the coals start to ash over, place your grate on top and get cooking.
Last but not least, you’re going to want to get the Vinyl Cover to protect your new baby. It’s weather resistant and is honestly the best grill cover I’ve ever had.
Once you become part of the Aspire by Hestan family, you’re going to be so impressed, you’re going to want even more. I am in the process of designing my outdoor kitchen with the side burner and storage. I’m anxious to get a few pieces of CopperBond cookware, and I’m already in love with the wines from their vineyard.
Aspire 36″ Rotisserie Grill Specifications
Height: The Aspire is 52 inches tall with the lid closed. When the lid is open, the primary grate is 36 inches from the ground.
Width: 60 1/2 inches with shelves extended, 36 inches without shelves
Primary Cooking Area: 21 1/2 inches deep by 30 inches wide (647 square inches), sear station is 10 inches wide, tubular burner sections are each 10 inches wide
Warming Rack Area: 6 inches deep by 32 inches long (183 square inches)