In dire need of a new portable BBQ for the weekend, I ran out to the local hardware store to pick up a little tailgater job. Looking for something cheap, I was a little surprised to see a $54 Weber as the lowest end BBQ they had. Stepping around the display isle, I then encountered the Weber Baby Q. "oooohhhhh." Very stylish in a George Jetson kind of way. But at $109, I mean c'mon, really. So I went home and looked up grills in the June '05 consumer reporting magazine that hates it when you mention their name. I guess I am glad I did that. They pretty much trashed the Baby Q, but had good things to say about the regular Q. It was of course about $180.... Oh well. Go big or stay home my daddy always said.
Having had generally good experiences with the reviews from this magazine that reports on consumer goods (all except for the '00 Jetta that they gave great ratings to, what a hunk-o-junk, but alas, I digress), I figured I would take the plunge on the Weber Q.
Being available at either Home Depot or Wal-Mart, I decided to take the road of lesser evil and head to the old Depot. I loaded it into my cart, not too heavy, but I wouldn't want to lug it around too far. I grabbed the 20lb tank adapter also for good measure, since I had a full tank at home and didn't want to mess with the 14oz mini-tanks.
Assembly was a snap. There is almost nothing to it. Assembly requires 1 Phillips screwdriver to attach the 2 screws for the handle. That's it. Everything else (not that there is much) just requires hands.
The 20 lb tank adapter was an excellent purchase. No hassles or mis-threads or leaks.
Firing it up. Pop, pop, poof. That's it. Two hits on the igniter and it was up and running.
The heat. I was a little concerned by 2 things. 1, there was literally an electric humming noise coming from the regulator (yes, I said electric). 2, the flame looked really low to me at the highest heat setting. A little search at Weber had some info. The humming noise is common and goes away. It is triggered by atmospheric conditions (humidity, temp, etc..) The "low flame" I thought might be the safety device built into the regulator. It turned out not to be though. I dropped a BBQ thermometer on the grill, set the dial to high and gave it 5 minutes. I cracked the lid and it showed 500 degrees. It's just a low and efficient flame.
The meat/food. Nothing like a good old ribeye. Also, some vegetables in foil, tomatoes on a skewer, and some toasted focacia.
The results. Tasty. It all came out well. The cast iron grate is nice. It fits well (no wobble at all). Yes it adds the majority of the weight to the whole unit, but it holds heat and gives a great sear. There are hotter spots on the grill, but nothing a little simple rotation can't handle.
Overall, it is well built, functional and aesthetically pleasing.
Some noteworthy features:
1. Grippy rubber feet on the legs to help keep it steady on smooth surfaces. I didn't realize this until I brought it inside and sat it on the kitchen counter.
2. "Slots" built into the underside of one of the fold out trays that can be used to hold the Weber spatula and tongs.
3. The grease tray that slides underneath fits neatly inside the grill when not in use.
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Amount Paid (US$): 179.99