To Mar: Still no word from the SOH people about the construction. Does not bode well. I have seen on youtube a commercial for a British version of the product, which claims to be cast iron, however.
To Brad: My car’s trunk is big enough for the Smokey Joe Gold; I will research the mod you talked about and give it a try. Thanks.
As for the Lodge, I remember seeing it for more like $60. It’s a shame that cast iron hibachis are so hard to find these days; I got my first one from a supermarket for a couple of bucks back in the mid-70’s; I’ve tried the steel ones, but really don’t see the point. The Lodge, of course, doesn’t have the built-in chimney starter or the self-cleaning advantage.
I just checked out Chef Central in Northern New Jersey (which generally has good stock and mediocre prices), and they’re charging $90. I see on Amazon, that they have the kind of cast iron hibachi that I originally had for $25, but there are complaints of major quality control problems. To me, the main advantage of the original Son of Hibachi were the quick setup and takedown, but, as I said to Mar, if it is not cast iron, then I withdraw any recommendation.
Update: I called up Son of Hibachi on the phone. The bad news: it’s now stamped steel. Sigh. The good news: The man who bought out the old business also bought out all the old stock, so he has a bunch of the original cast iron ones. You’ll have to deal with him directly if you want to buy one, though.