I just love to BBQ and since I live in Southern California, it's no problem to cook outside all year long. My last Weber BBQ was the traditional kettle style about 18" in diameter. It had wooden handles on the lid and on the sides. The wooden handles would get a little warm but never uncomfortable from the heat of the charcoal. After sitting outside for about 17 years, the unit naturally showed signs of wear, the wooden handles finally started to deteriorate, and the spot weld holding one of the side handles broke. The only things I disliked about the old unit was the small cooking surface but that was only an occasional problem depending on what I was cooking. The other problem was that the ash catcher tray underneath made a mess. But, all in all, the Weber kettle BBQ's are the way to go.
Recommend this product?
I recently got a new BBQ and upgraded to the One Touch Silver model with the 22.5" cooking surface. Out of the box it was fairly easy to put together. The assembly directions contained no words but were a series of numbered illustrations that were fairly easy to follow. I noted the 3 legs attach to the base in jam sockets and are a tight fit. They may loosen over time so I plan on drilling small holes in each socket and inserting one screw in each just for my own peace of mind.
The ash catcher on this model is a round tray underneath the kettle attached to the legs. The shallow tray will hold the falling ashes but the wind is going to blow them around. This is the same as my old unit but I'll put up with it as I'll explain in a moment. The ash catching tray is attached to the legs by 3 kinda v-shaped springs. It's a rather funky arrangement and doesn't appear too secure. I'll have to wait and see how it pans out and if the ash catching tray ever falls off.
I really like the new method of cleaning the ash from inside the kettle and opening the vent holes underneath. My old BBQ had 3 round holes in the bottom. Each hole could be opened or closed by means of a round metal disk that was rotated to the desired position. This was OK for opening the vent holes to begin cooking but required the use of gloves or some kind of poker to close after cooking due to heat. The new unit...why its called 'one touch'.. has a nifty set up for opening the vent holes (slots now, not just small round holes). There are 3 metal blades which look like propellers inside at the bottom of the kettle. These blades are attached through the bottom to a long metal handle underneath. To open or close the vent holes, you just grab the handy lever and slide it back and forth to open or close the vents. Easy and quick.
This handle and blade set up also makes cleaning out the old ashes fairly easy. Once the ashes have cooled inside the kettle, just move the handle outside back and forth and the blades inside sweep the ashes through the vent slots and onto the ash catching tray below. It takes about a dozen or so sweeps and most of the ashes are cleaned out. Pretty handy. Of course, now you have to remove the ashes from the tray below, and that can cause a mess, but I've been putting up with that for years.
Now, when I bought this unit, I had originally planned on purchasing the same model but with the built in ash catching container. This upgraded model has a round metal container attached directly to the underside of the base. It's designed to catch the falling ashes in an enclosed container which is then twisted off and the ashes thrown away. It probably works fairly well and will catch almost all the ashes and eliminate the mess the open tray and wind can cause. The reason however that I didn't buy this upgraded unit was the cost. While I'm not a cheapskate or a miser, I really don't like to pay for something that's over priced. My model with the open tray below was $89. The same model with the upgraded ash catcher was $145. It just didn't seem very cost effective to pay $56 more just for this metal container attached underneath. When I had seen these 2 models for sale at various places, but not really paying much attention, I had thought that there would be maybe a $10-$15 difference. But, what I plan to do now is go to a thrift store and find an old stock pot that will rest on the ash catching tray underneath. This should take care of most of the falling ash mess and I wish I'd thought of it sooner.
The next drawback to this unit are the handles on the lid and on the side of the kettle. My old Weber had wood covered metal handles. During cooking, the wood would become slightly warm but never hot or uncomfortable. I'd never even think twice about grabbing that lid handle and opening the top to flip a burger or turn a steak. But, these new handles are metal (like the old ones) but covered with some type of glass impregnated plastic. What a surprlse and a design goof! These handles are uncomfortable to hold as the edges are not rounded like the wood ones and dig into the hand. Plus, they get hot! Not enough to burn the skin but enough that I almost dropped the lid the first time I grabbed the handle on top. Very uncomfortable. Having some woodworking skills, I plan on removing the plastic handle from the lid and replacing it with a wooden one.
The handle on the side of the kettle is used for pulling the BBQ to where ever you want to set up for cooking. The side handle is really poorly designed. If I try to use the handle by reaching my fingers down and through, the backs of my fingers touch the edge of the lid when it's in place. It's going to cause a bad burn if I'm not careful. The only way to use this handle is to grab it in an underhand grip...then there's about 1/8" between my fingers and the edge of the lid. Of course, there's always the option of taking the lid off first and then there will be enough finger room; or, just making sure the BBQ is where I want it on the patio and not moving it until I'm done cooking and the unit has cooled.
So, overall, the Weber 22.5" one touch Silver model is a typical kettle style BBQ. I've used the Weber brand for years and you can't beat the results. I won't go into cooking on this unit other than to say I just love the kettle style of BBQ and this unit cooks great and has plenty of surface space.
Amount Paid (US$): 89