Recommend this product?
We have three grills; a large monster sized stainless steel grill, this medium sized Weber charcoal kettle styled grill and a small tabletop one that has probably been used five times. I am the only one that uses the Weber; since you have to start the charcoal and actually stand there and wait for things to happen everyone likes to be able to turn the knob on the propane tank and grill in a matter of minutes. Me, I love the taste of things that are cooked over charcoal so I don't mind starting the coals or waiting for them to turn red hot. In San Diego we had a very cool push-on propane grill but the tweekers kept stealing the tanks or worse cutting the nozzle and line because they were so messed up that they couldn’t unscrew the attachment from the fuel line.
This is not something that I would recommend for tailgating or for large parties; you can cook a lot on it but since it is a round area you do have to move things around on the surface of the grill to get them to cook evenly and to avoid hot spots. There are two grill pieces; one is larger and is the actual cook area. The smaller one goes in the bottom of the kettle and is what the charcoal is put on. This allows air to circulate above and below the briquettes so they get hot faster. On the bottom of the kettle there is a round turnable vent that you can close when you are done cooking to cut off the air from the charcoal. I've saved a lot of money on charcoal by closing the vent on the lid and the vent on the bottom when I am done cooking. I do suggest you use tongs for this, touching them with your bare fingers is a most painful lesson to learn.
There are a couple different versions of this grill; one had wooden handles and seems a little more rickety than this one. Some assembly is required when you buy this and there is upkeep associated with it to keep it from getting wobbly. The two wheels on it will get loose so you have to make sure to tighten the nuts on them but do not over tighten it or it will lock up on you or have a jerky feeling when you move it. You can move this around when there are hot coals in it but you need to be careful; it only has two wheels and one leg so there is always a chance that it could tip over. When moving this always make sure that kids and pets are free and clear of the area incase an accident happens.
I use a charcoal starter instead of buying the stuff that has an accelerant in the charcoal. I stack the briquettes on top of the start, plug it in and set the timer. It usually takes a total of about 25 minutes from plugging in the charcoal starter until its time to grill. You would be wise to take a nice long look at the grill surface the first time you use it. It will be the last time you ever see it looking pristine no matter how attentive you are to cleaning it. Ignore whatever Weber says about this being a "one touch" or "easy to clean" grill surface. You need to invest in a good wire brush that has a metal cleaning tool on the end to get in between the slats as well as into the connector areas.
I usually cook marinated chicken thighs or breasts that have pineapple juice, teriyaki base and brown sugar on them so that can cause a real mess if I don't clean it when the grill is still hot. Because of the size of the grill surface it is hard to carry in the house and wash in the sink and trying to wash it in the back yard with a garden hone and scrubber is not recommended unless you want to end up soaking wet.
Why is it so important to keep the grill rack clean? If it is dirty you don’t get a nice sizzle when you slap a hunk of meat on the grill, if you are cooking with a barbeque sauce or marinade it could transfer on to the next batch of food you are cooking and a dirty grill rack doesn't get as hot or convey the heat as efficiently.
Why isn’t this good for tailgating? Unless you are packing everything into the bed of a truck you will have to take this apart to get it to wherever you are going. It’s easier to just invest in a tabletop grill or make friends with someone that brings a huge grill that they will let you use.
This is a good patio grill but because it isn’t something that I would recommend having around or in a common area if you are having a small gathering and kids will be running around. The sides of the kettle section get extremely hot and all it takes is a kid to bump in to it and you are looking at a nasty burn or worse if they happen to tip it over. There is no way to make this more stable or weigh it down; I have tried adding some bricks under it but they didn't do anything to actually weigh it down. If you are going to have kids running around when grilling make sure they know that they are not allowed near the grill.
If you are looking for a charcoal grill in the $40.00 to $50.00 range then this is one of the better picks. We got this at Home Depot a couple of years ago and it has been a dependable kettle styled grill. As long as you keep up with cleaning the grill surface and tightening the nuts on the wheels this thing should last you years. I have used this in the dead of winter when I wanted to cook large batches of chicken as well as in the summer when I didn’t want to have to turn on the oven or fry things in the kitchen. This is a step up from the Weber grill with wooden handles on the sides and lid, it was worth the extra five dollars in price to get this one because you can vent the lid a little without the wooden handles feeling wobbly when you rest part of the lid on it.
^V^ © 2010 Freak369 ^V^
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Amount Paid (US$): see review