The Great Skottle Debate: Tembo Tusk Vs. Oris

We are a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for us to earn fees by linking to Amazon.com and affiliated sites. Some of the links on this website may link to vendors which are "affiliate links". This means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive a small affiliate commission.

There is nothing quite like camping over a weekend, waking up on a sleepy Sunday morning, and breaking out the gas and skottle for some championship bacon and eggs!

tembo-tusk-vs-oris-skottle-debate

There always seems to be that one guy who says, “oh, you’re using THAT brand?” Tembo Tusk and Oris: The Great Skottle Debate. Who will be victorious, and who will catch the oil?

Although there are similarities in design between Tembo Tusk and Oris skottles, there are also significant differences. Tembo Tusk uses carbon steel, while Oris uses cast iron. Oris skottles are slightly taller and can be disassembled for multiple uses. More people, however, seem to prefer Tembo Tusk

There are a few construction differences between these two makes, as well as public opinion. But do these differences make all that much difference when it comes to cooking? And what other similarities and differences are there between these two brands?

Which Skottle Reigns Supreme? 

If you are unfamiliar with what a “skottle” is, it’s fundamentally a wok-style frying pan connected to a gas bottle. 

This cooking utensil found its origins in South Africa when a farmer in the early 20th century repurposed one of his harrowing disks (a type of farming implement) into a grill to cook on. 

These early “skottels” as they are called in South Africa, gained popularity during the 1930s and 40s. Skottels were used over open coals, but eventually, gas burners and tripods/stands were added to make them portable

These outdoor cooking utensils are incredibly portable, practical, and widely used in their country of origin and are gaining popularity globally.

There are some variances in design and function. Some “skottles” are like large cast-iron frying pans, without the sides, that are placed directly over open fire/coals to cook on (similar in design to the original). Many are mounted on a tripod. 

Within the realm of skottles there are a few “big name” brands. 

Two of these brands are

  1. Tembo Tusk

An American-based, family-run company whose mantra is the toughness and durability of its products.

  1. Oris

An American-based company that focuses on skottle manufacturing. Their skottles are designed to be versatile.   

What Makes And Sets A Great Skottle Apart From A Good Skottle

The most alluring drawing cards of a skottle are their portability and their versatility in terms of cooking.

They are portable barbecuing frying pans, which can be converted into ovens, generally powered by gas fires. 

A good skottle will be one that you can cook a variety of food items on with ease.

The skottle (the actual pan part or cooking disk) will distribute heat as expected. It will be easy to pack up and transport and comes with all of the needed attachments.

A great skottle will do the same things, but only better

The problem is. Many of us have very different ideas on what is or is not convenient.

Some skottle designs have the gas bottle attached just below the skottle top, while others have separate units that screw together to create a cooking structure. 

There are pros and cons to both. The one that comes apart is much easier to transport and store, while the already assembled skottle is less effort to set up and use.

A more significant determining factor for distinguishing between good and great skottles is the manufacturing quality

How long does the skottle last? How much use can you get out of it before it rusts, the burners break, etc.

Most important is. Does the skottle meet YOUR needs

 If your neighbor is or isn’t happy with their skottle doesn’t matter. If you bought one, does it work for you

Can you cook enough food, quickly enough, sufficiently enough, and in the most enjoyable way?  You have yourself a GREAT skottle if the answer is yes.

Tembo Tusk Vs. Oris Features Compared

Below we compare the skottles manufactured by Tembo Tusk and Oris along the lines of “quality, “effectiveness and efficiency in cooking,” “comfort and convenience of use,” “cleaning,” and “price.” 

For an accurate comparison, we will be comparing the “Tembo Tusk Adjustable Leg Skottle Grill Kit” and the “ORIS cooking system Skottle kit.”

Tembo Tusk Vs. Oris Quality Of Manufacturing 

When purchasing any appliance or utensil, it is paramount to know that you are investing in something that is well made

This includes materials used and the assembly process. Due to the fact that you will be cooking on this, safety is a concern. Anything subpar in construction could result in unwanted consequences.

These skottles are made up of the frame, the burner, the gas bottle bracket, the cooking disk, and other accessories

Frame

  • Tembo Tusk 

The legs for the tripod are constructed using stainless steel that is approximately one inch thick.

  • Oris

The legs for the tripod are also made from stainless steel, which is approximately one and a quarter-inch thick.

Cooking Disk

  • Tembo Tusk

The cooking disk is made out of carbon steel, with an 18in diameter.

  • Oris

The cooking disk is made out of cast iron, with a 17in diameter.

Cooking Disk Attachments

  • Tembo Tusk  

Three steel thumb screws hold the disk in place.

  • Oris      

Steel clips hold the burner in place so that when you remove the cooking disk, the burner does not fall off.

Burner bracket

  • Tembo Tusk

The bracket which holds the burner in place is made of stainless steel.

  • Oris

The bracket which holds the burner in place is made of stainless steel.

Weight 

  • Tembo Tusk 

The overall weight is approximately 18 pounds.

  • Oris 

The overall weight is approximately 35 pounds.

Burner

  • Tembo Tusk

They originally came with Coleman 10 000 BTU burners but have since changed to Kovea Scout 10 000 BTU burners.

  • Oris

They use an unspecified single burner of 10 000 BTU.

When compared, the Oris is heavier, with thicker legs

The most significant difference is that Tembo Tusk uses 18in carbon steel disks, while Oris uses 17in cast iron. 

The Tembo Tusk Company has been at this for longer. They started in 2010. The original name of “Skottel” is from South African, but ”skottle” is trademarked by Tembo Tusk.

Tembo Vs. Oris Effectiveness And Efficiency In Cooking

The “meat” of what it comes down to with the differences in carbon steel vs. a cast-iron disk, which skottle cooks food better and quicker.

  • Tembo Tusk

The carbon steel heats up quickly from the middle outwards due to it being thinner.  However, the thinner material does lose heat faster. While cooking, the middle is the hottest part, while the edges are slightly colder, i.e., heat is not as evenly distributed.

  • Oris

The cast-iron cooking surface holds heat better; it does, however, heat up slower but does not lose as much heat when food is put on it. Due to their thicker cast iron design, these skottles have a more even distribution of heat.

Lid /Skottle cover 

Both skottles companies sell a lid as an added extra.

  • Tembo Tusk uses a 13-inch cover, which leaves a more extensive area uncovered, so some space is wasted.
  • Oris has a 15-inch cover, which fits over most of the disk, with not much room left around it.

Carbon Steel vs. Cast Iron

Although very similar (both are an alloy of carbon and iron), cast iron needs to be thicker than carbon steel. This is due to its brittleness. Since it is thicker, cast iron heats up and cools down slower than carbon steel. 

Carbon steel works out to be more expensive than cast iron, which is also why it is generally thinner.

Tembo Tusk Vs. Oris Comfort And Convenience Of Use 

Cooking efficiency aside, how comfortable it is to cook on the skottle and the “little things” that make it more convenient also play a big part in choosing a brand.

Height

  • The Oris skottle was taller at 32in, while the Tembo Tusk was shorter at 28in.
  • However, the Tembo Tusk’s new design allows for the legs to be adjusted to 20, 29, and 36 inches

Features

  • Oris 

These skottles have a removable cooking disk. The purpose behind this is it can be used for cooking with other pots, pans, or kettles, like boiling water, making soup, or chili. 

Due to its weight of around 30 lbs and design, the Oris skottle can support up to 150lbs of weight. 

The cast iron is pre-seasoned.

Oris skottles have less of a concave shape (they are flatter). This means that there will be even spread of oil across the whole surface. This also helps in the more even distribution of heat.

Oris skottles are designed to take a large bottle or a smaller tank of gas.

  • Tembo Tusk 

These skottles cannot be disassembled and used with other pans/pots.

These skottles are slightly more concave. This allows more oil/sauce/fat to mix with the food being cooked. Meat also cooks in its juices and doesn’t dry out, and adds flavor.

This also means that you can cook different “things” at the same time. The middle indent can heat water, while the outer rim is slightly less hot and can cook veggies or meat. 

These skottles also come pre-seasoned

There is an alternative stand made of plastic that is attached directly to the gas bottle. This makes these skottles more portable.

The frame’s legs detach from the skottle, which means storage of the entire unit can be in a smaller space. 

One of the purchasable additional extras for the Tembo Tusk is a windshield. This small metal screen is attached around the burner and blocks the wind from blowing the flames out.

 Tembo Tusk comes standard with a convenient carry bag

Tembo Tusk Vs. Oris Cleaning

When it comes down to it, this is always the worst part of a meal, the washing up!

With these two skottle brands, cleaning is pretty straightforward and painless.

  • Tembo Tusk skottle cleaning involves boiling water in the disk and using a plastic spatula to remove the oil and leftover food. It is important to note that soap should NOT be used when cleaning.
  • Oris skottle cleaning involves the same process, except they have a specific cast iron brush which is recommended. The same lack of detergent is highly advised when it comes to cleaning.

To “store” the Oris skottle, a mixture of vegetable oil and a small amount of water is spread over the disk. 

This removes any last traces of water from the metal (the water helps the oil spread, and once it evaporates, the oil remains, waterproofing the disk). This is to prevent the cast iron from corroding.

 Tembo Tusk Vs. Oris Price

The price is usually the determining factor in most competitions. 

  • Tembo Tusk

For the Tembo Tusk Adjustable Leg Skottle Grill Kit (18in), you are looking at $395.

This includes the skottle (disk), frame, burner, and carry bag.

  • Oris

For the ORIS cooking system Skottle kit (17in), you will pay $325

This includes the skottle (disk), frame, and burner (no bag).

Neither of these companies includes the gas with the skottles, and you must purchase it separately. 

The Winner Of The Great Skottle Debate

The “winner” of the debate is a contentious point

Diehard fans of either brand will argue until the end of days why their preferred skottle is the better one. 

In all fairness, both are great buys. The Tembo Tusk does what a skottle needs to do, it has a slightly quicker heating up time, so cooking is slightly shortened. 

The Oris’s big drawcard is that it has multiple uses due to the removal of the skottle disk and longer heat retention due to the thicker cast iron skottle disk.

Both are made well, and both are rather pricey at first glance.

What’s the deciding factor? You, the buyer. 

If the multi-purpose design of Oris appeals to you, go for it. If you like the simple and to-the-point Tembo Tusk, then pick that one!

Both designs will cook your food and provide you with convenience and ease when traveling and camping.

Conclusion

Fans will debate over and over again. The truth is, no matter which skottle you purchase, you should purchase one! They are compact, lightweight (mostly), and convenient enough that no camper, overland, or outdoor enthusiast should be without one. Pick one, and let the adventure begin!