Weber is the king of kettle grills, and the kettle style is really easy to master. If you can charcoal grill and want more space, then the Weber 26.75 may be what you want as a step up for bigger groups.
Recommend this product?
Over the years, Weber has continued to edge up on sizes. My first Weber was 18.5. Then, I did go up to 22.5. Now, they crank it up with 26.75. That is all inches from one side to the other. With the round shape on the grate, they all have a good amount of grilling space.
For me, the 26.75 is getting up there. I can reach around the 18.5 very easily. The 22.5 is a stretch as far as what I can man handle. Of course, the kettles have wheels, so you can roll and tilt. I have a step down on the back porch, so I need some lifting. Every inch makes a difference at my size - 5 foot 4 inches and weight - not saying.
For a really big charcoal throw down, Weber has the Ranch. That is one big sucker. Plant it and leave it. Buy a cover for sure. Find someone big to go dump out the ashes from time to time.
On the other hand, I think the 26.5 is on the outside range of easy as far as grilling and also clean up. For those with big group grill outs, then this may be the ticket. Bump it up to the super model Ranch, and I think most folks would need an extra hand. I know I do. This size at 26.75, I can manage - barely but more easily if I grab a buddy.
On the plus side, the Weber 26.5 is the familiar kettle style that many know and love. Ventilation is good. I do offset and suggest that - even on a smaller kettle. Crank the whole surface, and it is hard to keep the meat flipping. Especially hard with so much space here. But, if you are good and if you have a cool space to one side, then this is a good way to knock out a lot of grilled food and fast.
My preference is to shift cook and go smaller, but that is just me. It does mean that I am at the grill longer and while others are enjoying the party. It really is about what you're comforable with. I just kind of max at the 22.5, but I could see others taking it more extreme.
Regardless of the size or style of the grill, Weber is a stand up company. I have no problems with any of the grills I own from Weber, and I have chatted with employees at the company. Can't beat them for being helpful and nice.
I am an outdoor cooking writer and have a Barbecue Master blog and web site called Yes You Can Grill. I own and get to check out lots of grills. This big Weber kettle is a great grill, but it's bigger than I like to handle with charcoal. If I did bigger groups on a regular basis, I think I would go with it though as it does hold a lot of food. I would suggest using grilling gloves and also would recommend having a buddy to help flip foods with this size.
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Amount Paid (US$): 300