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Jenise

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Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Jenise » Sun Oct 01, 2006 1:23 pm

In our marriage, we've had two barbecues. The first was a cheap Kenmore model that we rebuilt several times and got 12 or so years out of. The second was a Broilmaster that reminds me a lot of our Jeep Cherokee--the frame and the guts are good, but just about everything that wasn't part of the frame fell off. It now needs a new burner, and rather than spend $100 and half a day doing that, we're considering upgrading to something one size larger and more attractive.

By larger I mean a grilling surface of about 600 square inches--propane units only. We don't care about a side burner but one this size will always come with one. What we do care about is the ability to sear, which is going to result from some magical combination of BTU's, distance from the burner, and the ability of flames to reach the meat.

We went looking yesterday: Sears, Home Depot and Lowe's. The size unit we're talking about is generally the mid-sized unit if a company makes three, and these are price at $700 to $1000 and at the end of the day we were more inclined to buy the Jennair, whose quality in terms of steel gauge and overall solidness was unmatched by any other units we looked at, plus amenities like a handle at one end for people like us who move our barbecue from one side of the house to other depending on the weather, at $899 or a cheap Charbroil for $269 since our marine environment is going to be so ruthlessly unkind to whatever we buy. Cast iron rusts, steel pits....

But damn is it hard to decide on this kind of thing without using it first. All you can do is try to imagine how it might work. The Jenn-Aire had the lowest distance between the grates and the burner, about 3.5-4". But the burners have these wide, shallow, upside-down V shaped covers which are supposed to disperse the flame, and eyeballing it suggests that there would be hot spots at the edges of the V and cold spots down it's unperforated 5" wide center area. Maybe that's the point--here you get flame, there you don't, but we can't look at that and see "even cooking" the way we could with the Weber (only the 400 sq in Silver model available to look at here).

The Charbroil, on the other hand, had the greatest distance from grate to burner, about nine inches. Can't see how you'd ever get any true flame-broiling from that.

For comparison, most of the other units averaged about five inches from burner to grate.

Anyway, just talking out loud here. If you love your barbecue and it both gets steaks nice and crusty on the outside without cremating the interior, and it handles low heat well, I'd love to hear from you.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Bob Henrick

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Bob Henrick » Sun Oct 01, 2006 2:02 pm

It sounds to me as if you are considering gas grills only, so I will exit stage left!
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James Roscoe

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by James Roscoe » Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:10 pm

Bob Henrick wrote:It sounds to me as if you are considering gas grills only, so I will exit stage left!


Oh, please Bob! We are begging you! Give us the link to your beloved grill! Once Jenise sees it online she will never go back!
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
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Jenise

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Jenise » Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:43 pm

Yup! Sorry, but our lifestyle requires the spontaneity of gas grilling. Plus, my husband doesn't have your cojones for being out in the cold tending a charcoal fire during the winter. :)
Last edited by Jenise on Sun Oct 01, 2006 8:28 pm, edited 1 time in total.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Hoke

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Hoke » Sun Oct 01, 2006 7:57 pm

Jenise:

Don't get the CharBroil. I've had a couple---usually because they looked sharp and were aggressively priced, so they made you think you were getting the things the bigger grills would provide at a discounted cost.

Never been happy with any of my CharBroils, and got rid of my last one. Things don't work, or fall off, from the get-go, and the things rust out quick.

Just bout a Weber grill, the Silver Genesis series----and although I scoffed for years at the Weber claims, I have to tell you: the thing has delivered on all its promises!

I love it now.

We actually downsized---the same time we downsized our house. Got a two burner; first two burner I've had in a long time, actually. No side plates, but plenty of well thought out design elements.

The other thing I bought at the same time was a Weber-designed grilling plate---a fairly simple plate with curlicues cut into the plate and small handles on each end. Simplifies things a bunch for us, as we like to grill/smoke veggies and fish and such. Works like a charm, and has bought new dimensions to our cooking.

Another great grill is the Dukane. I've never felt wealthy enough to afford one, but they are great grills. And yes, the Jennair is a gorgeous design. A friend had one. Don't thing you'd go wrong with it.

Another thing is the industry is designing a lot of un-attached devices to companion with grills. You might go that way too: buy your basic grill for total quality, and then get a companion device to do the ancillary stuff.
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Lou Kessler

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Lou Kessler » Sun Oct 01, 2006 9:47 pm

We bought the Weber Silver Summit about 18 months ago and have been happy. We have it hooked directly to a gas line from under the deck. In approx. 10 minutes warmup time it reaches a temp of over 600 degrees with the top down. It does what we bought it for, searing steaks, lamb chops, etc beautifully. Does have a side burner which hardly ever gets any use. It's on the expensive side but it does do what we wanted it to do.
I'm with your husband when it comes to spending a long time outside during the Napa winter.
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MikeH

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by MikeH » Sun Oct 01, 2006 10:32 pm

We bought a Weber Genesis 2000 (propane) for $500 back in June, 1995. Other than replacing various grates, did nothing until this Memorial Day. Spent about $150 replacing the cookbox and ignition. Still using the original burners. Very happy with it. We do steaks, searing them with all burners on full. At the other extreme, the three burner setup can be configured to smoke meat at low temps.

My observation here in Cincinnati is that Weber sells only a few models to the Lowe's and Home Depots of the world. They seem to prefer selling through smaller outlets and those outlets seem to get a much broader product line to sell. So if you are interested in Weber, you will probably find them at the local independent hardware or some other similar retailer.

In your environment, you should look at a unit with as much stainless steel as possible. Weber has such units and I believe Frontgate Catalog sells a high-end stainless unit. If you don't want to go the stainless route, I suggest the first thing you do with your new grill is replace all the nuts, bolts, etc. with stainless. Future repairs will be much easier.
Cheers!
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Bob Henrick

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Bob Henrick » Sun Oct 01, 2006 11:00 pm

Mike, welcome back...you have been absent for some time now.
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Mike Filigenzi

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Mike Filigenzi » Mon Oct 02, 2006 12:27 am

I'll pipe in with a positive Weber comment as well. When my wife moved back out here from Massachusetts in '97, she brought the Weber with her. She bought it somewhere around '94 or '95. It's a 3-burner model with no side burner. The thing appears to be bulletproof. After our lawn guy shredded the cover with his lawn mower about 6 years ago, I never got around to buying a new one. The wood on the little side-table thingie has gone away, but the grill itself works as well now as it ever has. No problems with burners. The grates are showing some wear and I suppose we might need to replace them someday, but not anytime soon. Only word of warning I'd give is that I don't know if they build them as well now as they did then. (But Hoke's post makes me think that they do.)

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Leslie D.

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Leslie D. » Mon Oct 02, 2006 2:41 am

We get a good char on steaks from our inexpensive five year old Char-Broil.

It's needing some work, though and I've been looking at grills.

I like the way cast iron sears things but most higher end models seem to come with stainless steel grills. Do you get as good a sear with stainless steel?

The Vermont Castings models look very attractive at a midrange price.
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David Creighton

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by David Creighton » Mon Oct 02, 2006 10:58 am

about not wanting to tend a charcoal fire in the winter: as cheap as charcoal grills are this time of year, you can purchase a nice one of them for the good weather and still have plenty of money for your (uuuugh) gas thing.
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Howie Hart

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Howie Hart » Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:18 am

creightond wrote:...as cheap as charcoal grills are this time of year...

Last May I purchased a large Brinkman Professional from Sam's Club for what I thought was a bargain at $199. Two weeks ago, my brother-in-law from Tennessee called me up and wanted to buy one like it. I gave him the details. The next day I happened to be in Sam's and they had it discounted to $148, so I called him up. He went to his local Sam's, where they had one that some had used once and returned. He bought it for $88. 8)
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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by wrcstl » Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:24 am

Bought a weber about 3 months ago and love it. I also like the porcelain plated iron grill as it heats up and holds the heat well. I would buy this again and never think of another. Have heard some very mixed reviews on Charbroil. You will find Weber is the Internet reviews choice and have to agree.
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Jeff Yeast

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Jeff Yeast » Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:39 am

I've had a 3-burner Weber for 5 years and it cooks as well today as it did out of the box. The only thing I had to replace was the wood shelving that didn't hold up well, but the new resin replacements should last a long time.
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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Jenise » Mon Oct 02, 2006 11:43 am

Hoke, great information. You mention a brand I forgot to mention, Ducane. I did see one at Home Depot and it was somewhat like the JennAir, in that it seemed to have been manufactured to a higher standard than most we looked at. Bob wasn't interested, though, as he read that Ducane had gone out of business, therefore there'd be no teeth in the warranty. We noticed yesterday afternoon that our neighbor has a Ducane, though, so we can get a first-hand report or even "test-drive" it.

You're exactly right about the attractions of the Charbroil. And I hear you about what you didn't like--but on the other hand what you complain of is kind of what's wrong with the Broilmaster we have, which we paid $500ish for about five years ago. At half that price, the Charbroil still looks like good value. Leslie reports that she gets a good char on steaks (thanks, Leslie).

Glad you're liking the Webber. We were very impressed with the one we looked at. Considering our environment, we liked the fact that it had a lot of hard plastic (actually, it's polyprolene, which is nearly indestructible) parts. Can you get a steak really crusty on it?

Mike, I understand that there are many more Webbers out there, I've seen them in the past (meaning, when we lived in Southern California). We just haven't determined where to look for same up here (can't say I've noticed a Barbecues Galore around) and were starting our search at the big local outlets. I know anything we fall in love with, we can order.

Lou and Mike, nice to get more endorsements for the Webber. The design really looked intelligent (we pulled every single barbecue we looked at apart).

Speaking of designs, our Broilmaster has the butterfly shaped burner and above that a bed of rocks which apparently are meant to both hold heat and spread the fire evenly. Our old Kenmore, circa 1986, had something similar. It was interesting to note when BBQ shopping this weekend that we did not see a single model still using the rock system.

The Jennair's looking better. We discovered that you can order from Lowe's over the internet and pick up at the store for considerably less than the store's stated price. Like $700 internet price vs. $899 for the same model to unsuspecting walk-in customers. Still hate to spend that kind of money, though--we don't want an outdoor kitchen. Don't need a burner and wouldn't use a rotisserie, and we don't want to show off. We just want a reliable means of grilling smelly foods outside and occasionally cooking large batches when entertaining. We will by happy with anything that chars a steak well and has a burner(s) that will last four-five years before they require changing.

Our new Viking range (not yet installed) has a grill, so once that's in we might grill indoors exclusively during the winter.

Creighton--charcoal grills get cheaper than gas models at this time of year? We didn't notice that--though we did see some really cool looking charcoal models.
My wine shopping and I have never had a problem. Just a perpetual race between the bankruptcy court and Hell.--Rogov
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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Bob Henrick » Mon Oct 02, 2006 12:01 pm

Howie, when I got my Kamado set up and cooking, I gave one away just like yours, just to be rid of it. Didn't need it anymore. It always worked fine, except that I was always having to replenish the fuel. I don't do that anymore. Great cooker though.
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Hoke

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Hoke » Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:36 pm

Jenise:

The ability to char/sear meat, to me, comes from a grill's ability to get up to a very high heat level fairly quickly, and to sustain it.

That's one of the reasons I like my new Weber grill. It gets very hot, very quickly. You can see that needle on the hood shoot right up.

As versus my CharBroil, which seemed to take forever to heat up to a hot enough level.

The Weber also works well afterwards, if you leave the heat on and the hood down, to carbonize the grill leavings. Then you can whisk the stuff right off in the sink, and you're good for the next go.

And if you don't have it already, buy the "Big Book of Grilling" from Weber. Hands down the single best book on grilling I've ever seen. A must have.
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Leslie D.

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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Leslie D. » Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:50 pm

Jenise wrote:Hoke, great information. You mention a brand I forgot to mention, Ducane. I did see one at Home Depot and it was somewhat like the JennAir, in that it seemed to have been manufactured to a higher standard than most we looked at. Bob wasn't interested, though, as he read that Ducane had gone out of business, therefore there'd be no teeth in the warranty.


According to this website article Ducane was bought by Weber. Napoleon is very popular here with people looking for high end grills.
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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Leslie D. » Mon Oct 02, 2006 1:50 pm

Leslie D. wrote:
Jenise wrote:Hoke, great information. You mention a brand I forgot to mention, Ducane. I did see one at Home Depot and it was somewhat like the JennAir, in that it seemed to have been manufactured to a higher standard than most we looked at. Bob wasn't interested, though, as he read that Ducane had gone out of business, therefore there'd be no teeth in the warranty.


According to this website article Ducane was bought by Weber. Napoleon is very popular here with people looking for high end grills.


Forgot the url for the article:

http://bbq.about.com/cs/toppicks/tp/aatp060402.htm
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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by Howard » Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:07 am

We're also getting a Viking with the broiler so I'll be looking for a charcoal grill for the outside.

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by Howard » Tue Oct 03, 2006 1:20 am

Don't know if it matters but apparently Jenn-Air does not actually make the grill, it is made by a company based in China called Nex-grill or some such. Their service is rumored to be atrocious. Here is a link to e-pinions where a number of people have bad things to say about them.

http://www0.epinions.com/msg/show_~thre ... um_id_~405

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by Dale Williams » Tue Oct 03, 2006 8:42 pm

First of all, please say "grill." You know how us Southerners get re the word "Barbecue" being misused. :)

Put me in the Weber crowd. Really like by Summit Silver B. I used to be a charcoal guy, but the decider for me is those night when Betsy wants a side grilled- with gas no problem, but if she had asked me to set up charcoal to grill two ears of corn or 2 squash, I would have pleaded for another solution.

Searing is fine as long as you preheat with top down first. Ialso try not to overcrowd surface, so if I'm flipping steaks I can flip onto "virgin" grates, not just turn over.

The 3 burner bottle works well for indirect cooking.
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James Roscoe

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Re: grills

by James Roscoe » Tue Oct 03, 2006 9:55 pm

Bob H., just give us the link for the Komodo and be done with it. Once Jenise sees it she'll be hypnotized by the sheer beauty of the thing.
.....we here highly resolve that these dead shall not have died in vain -- that this nation, under God, shall have a new birth of freedom -- and that government of the people, by the people, for the people, shall not perish from the earth. A. Lincoln
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Re: Need to buy a new Barbecue

by wrcstl » Wed Oct 04, 2006 10:11 am

Ducane has been purchased by Weber and they consider it their low end grill. I had a Ducane for several years and it never worked well. Replacement parts are very expensive and the joke is "that's where they make their money". Others may have better experiences but I definitely would not recommend a Ducane.
Walt

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