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Barbecue/Smoker Recommendations


helenas
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Thanks for all the replies.

I am still a bit concerned with the safety issue of the wooden balcony.

Most of the people at my complex have gas grills for that reason.

Is there any real difference in the gas versus charcoal in terms of safety?

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Thanks for all the replies.

I am still a bit concerned with the safety issue of the wooden balcony.

Most of the people at my complex have gas grills for that reason.

Is there any real difference in the gas versus charcoal in terms of safety?

With gas, when you turn it off, it is off! With Charcoal, unless you douse em with water, the coals are gonna stay lit until they burn out! Which may be a concern in apartment complexes.

I use a propane grill, Vermont Castings, and love it. It gets up to temp. quickly and does a number of other things that I wanted. I also have a Smokin' Tex electric smoker, which may suit your smokin' needs, too! It's not a 'real smoker's' smoker (so I've been told!), but I don't have to stoke a fire all day or tend to it in any way. Again, in an apartment you might have the safety issue of the fire box and the amount of smoke generated. You can find the Smokin' Tex at www.smokintex.com or Bass Pro Shops sells them online also!

Bob R in OKC

Bob R in OKC

Home Brewer, Beer & Food Lover!

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The Weber is a very good grill at reasonable prices.

It is very durable.

As for not having adjustable grill levels so heat can be controlled--one simply needs to build different height fires--that is level the charcoal: one area higher (hotter) one area lower (cooler) and have an area with no fire for indirect.

Simple.

also

equally simple-- starting the fire use a chimney --there is no need for any fancy "starters." A chimney is just as quick and easy and shouild cost about twenty bucks for a decent model.

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If he's balking at the price of the Weber, I think he'll get sticker shock when he looks at the Kamado's. The #5 is $700 before shipping which will probably add $100 or so to the total. This works out to almost twice the cost of say the Weber Performer.

Very true. But you also need to take into consideration that it'll do double duty as both grill and smoker (although not at the same time).

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With gas, when you turn it off, it is off!  With Charcoal, unless you douse em with water, the coals are gonna stay lit until they burn out!  Which may be a concern in apartment complexes. 

With ceramics, you can close the vents at the top and bottom, and the coals will snuff out pretty quickly due to lack of oxygen. Then I just re-use what's left for the next cook. I never burn out the coals completely.

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You guys are a HUGE help. Thanks!

Don't flame me (tee hee), but I am thinking I may need to go with a gas grill.

Having coals concerns me. I know the flavor is incomparable. But, I think it may be a better option...

I wish I could go BGE so I could do pizza and bread as well as smoked items, but think I may have to wait on the BGE until I have an actual yard.

Any suggestions?

I heard the Weber Genesis is good.

So many choices.

Who knew choosing a grill would be this hard?

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Thanks for all the replies.

I am still a bit concerned with the safety issue of the wooden balcony.

Most of the people at my complex have gas grills for that reason.

Is there any real difference in the gas versus charcoal in terms of safety?

With gas, when you turn it off, it is off! With Charcoal, unless you douse em with water, the coals are gonna stay lit until they burn out! Which may be a concern in apartment complexes.

I use a propane grill, Vermont Castings, and love it. It gets up to temp. quickly and does a number of other things that I wanted. I also have a Smokin' Tex electric smoker, which may suit your smokin' needs, too! It's not a 'real smoker's' smoker (so I've been told!), but I don't have to stoke a fire all day or tend to it in any way. Again, in an apartment you might have the safety issue of the fire box and the amount of smoke generated. You can find the Smokin' Tex at www.smokintex.com or Bass Pro Shops sells them online also!

Bob R in OKC

Marlene in the Dinner thread said she loves her Vermont castings. Just did a gorgeous looking spit roast on it. I like the idea of having said attachment...may need to check this one out. I will also look at the smoker. Thanks Bob!

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I think a lot depends on what you want to grill...and how much time you have to do it. We ended up with quite a variety of grills and smokers: an old Weber kettle (charcoal), a Weber Genesis (propane), a Brinkmann smoker (wood or charcoal) and a very old electric smoker. The kettle makes great burgers and steaks and decent smoked ribs, but was a lot of work when it came to smoking something like brisket or pork shoulder that took a long low/slow time; the Brinkmann is much superior there. But when it comes to convenience and getting something on the table in a hurry (or after a long day), the propane is the way to go. The Genesis is a very good product and was definitely worth a little extra money I spent when I replaced another brand. It has weathered very well and still starts up fast. It makes a decent pizza. We lose power here a lot more than we should and have even made morning coffee on it too (and you would not want to wait for charcoal for that!!). To be honest, I still have not found a good use for the old electric smoker I bought at an auction for $5...maybe I will try smoking some fish.

“Cheese has always been a food that both sophisticated and simple humans love.”

M.F.K. Fisher, How to Cook a Wolf (1942)

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Been mentioned around here before, but I'm a big fan of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker for smoking or slow cooking barbecue, etc. http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/

Pros: Inexpensive at around $200 delivered, holds heat beautifully, the web site above dramatically reduces the learning curve. By following their instructions, I got great results the first time, light weight and portable.

Cons: Not good for conventional grilling or searing (it can be used for higher temperature "baking"), also not too good in colder weather.

I'm headed towards a 3 grill set up (but I do have the room in a detached screen porch).

I always have an inexpensive charcoal grill with cast iron grates and the capability to adjust the height of the food away from the fire. I have a Weber Smokey Mountain. My next desire is a Weber gas grill with a rotisserie. I've cooked some things on my neighbor's rotisserie and it rocks for lamb legs, pork roasts, hams, chickens, etc.

I'm also interested in this, particularly for tailgating. http://www.woodflame.com/en/

Anyone tried it?

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Been mentioned around here before, but I'm a big fan of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker for smoking or slow cooking barbecue, etc. http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/

Pros:  Inexpensive at around $200 delivered, holds heat beautifully, the web site above dramatically reduces the learning curve.  By following their instructions, I got great results the first time, light weight and portable.

Cons:  Not good for conventional grilling or searing (it can be used for higher temperature "baking"), also not too good in colder weather.

I'm headed towards a 3 grill set up (but I do have the room in a detached screen porch).

I always have an inexpensive charcoal grill with cast iron grates and the capability to adjust the height of the food away from the fire.  I have a Weber Smokey Mountain.  My next desire is a Weber gas grill with a rotisserie.  I've cooked some things on my neighbor's rotisserie and it rocks for lamb legs, pork roasts, hams,  chickens, etc.

I'm also interested in this, particularly for tailgating.  http://www.woodflame.com/en/

Anyone tried it?

The WSM is a wonderful thing. However, you can't really grill with it which means you need something else. I love the WSM, and back it up with a propane grill.

Edited by lancastermike (log)
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I'm a Weber Kettle queen, and find that mine has withstood the elements (it's over 25 years old, and sits out in Minnesota year-round), and with a little fiddling, can smoke on it very well as well as grill. Best $50.00 (that's what they were back then) investment we ever made. How much faster is starting the charcoal with the propane thingie than the chimney?

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 1 month later...

I need to buy a gas grill for around 400 dollars. I want a smallish one and don't need any fancy add ons. Want it for after work - quick meals - grilled steaks, burgers, chicken, fish, etc.... One that has some power and is made of quality parts. Any advice on what to look for when making a purchase? Any brand or specific units to look at or to stay away from? Thanks.

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I'm hard pressed to recommend a gas grill, having no experience with them. I'm a Kettle Queen, so I'm wondering if you've considered the Weber Performer? Seems to me that it has all of the advantages of a quick start with the benefits of charcoal.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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Yes yes, Susan, we all know your preference for the kettle. :raz: However, since he specifically asked for gas, I'm going to suggest a couple.

Weber is generally going to be out of your price range, but in the small gas grill department it is one of the best.

This one is a little more than you want to spend

weber

Failing that, broil king does a pretty servicable job for the kind of grilling you're looking to do.

Marlene

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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I too am a diehard Weber Kettle and Smoky Mountain user, but if I wanted a gasser, I'd probably get a cheap, non-stainless, rectangular Weber. A nice advantage of the brand is that Weber stocks parts for most everything they make, for a very long time. That makes their products a bit less disposable than most.

Craig

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I'm with Craig on non-stainless. I've never owned a stainless but a good friend of mine regreted getting one because of the level of cleaning he has to do to keep it looking nice. He'll go with non-stainless the next time round.

I made a point of getting a grill with a side burner that I have used just once. I will never worry about having that feature again.

One piece of advice I read somewhere suggests at least 100 BTUs per square inch of grill and my limited experience backs that up.

I use two low-end Char-Broil brand gas grills (one at home and one for some voulunteer cooking away from home) and get decent but not great results. They both suffer from hot spots that make for uneven cooking if you put a lot of l smallish things on it. The one I use in my volunteer cooking will start to burn things at the rear before the stuff at the front starts to take on color.

If your only trying to cook up 4 or six burgers/pieces of chicken or whatever then I would look for one with a grill that looks (maybe) twice as big as you think you need and then you should be able to get decent results.

I do believe that charcoal offers up better flavor but with my schedule the convenience of gas give me tasty enough results.

As an aside, when I do have the time then I fire up my wood-burning smoker and drive the neighbors crazy with the tantalizing smells.

Porthos Potwatcher
The Once and Future Cook

;

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Your requirements sound just like the ones I had before I bought my Weber Q 220. I also got the mostly plastic staionary cart (yes, plastic... no rust) and a cover. The cart comes with a hose to convert to a 20# tank that fits the cart. It's small enough that you can easily lift it off the cart, attach a 1# tank and take it to the picnic grounds. My neighbor uses his on his boat.

It does a better job at searing than my bigger, non-Weber grills had done. I suggest that you follow the cooking directions that come with the grill. It's quick, easy and without flare-ups. I like it a lot.

-- Jeff

"I don't care to belong to a club that accepts people like me as members." -- Groucho Marx

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Look for solid brass burner assemblies and brass venturi tube(s). Once you have those now make sure it has heavy duty porcelain coated grill surface.

Cheaper grills (and there are some fancy looking all stainless grills at $300 - $400 that are really a cheap grill with a nice suit) don't use brass for those crucial parts and you'll find yourself replacing them every few years.

The side burner is a bit superfluous for some of us but if you want to saute some onions and peppers to put on one of these....

gallery_2480_51_1094673461.jpg

they can come in useful.

I got my current grill at the insanely low price of $200. It was a one time buy that a local building materials discounter got in two years ago. My brother worked there and gave me a heads up at the time. It says "Great Outdoors" on the nameplate but it was made by Vermont Castings. Perhaps not coincidentally.... Consumer Reports magazine has a grill review in their latest issue and the current Vermont Castings grill gets high marks.

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A good friend of mine recently spent $600 on a pretty fancy propane grill at Costco. It's got a lot of bells and whistles, like a side pot burner, storage and a rotisserie InfraRed capability. So far, it seems pretty decent and well wearing - although it's only about 9 months old.

For myself, I've got a Home Depot $115 New Braunfels barrel-shaped charcoal grill with side box. After having gas for many, many years and then getting cheap and buying this grill, I've decided that this is the way I prefer to grill.

If you can splurge (or find one at an auction), I do highly recommend the MagiCater propane grills. After using one at my old bbq shop, it's become my secret indulgence and the one I would buy for my home. The BTUs are fantastic and the water pan completely eliminates flare-ups. But at $2K they're pretty pricey.

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I would look into Broil Mate, the less expensive Broil King models. Solid construction, enamel/cast grates, easy assembly. We're very happy with ours after a year. When shopping, we found the quality/price value at the "big box" stores was very poor for grills, especially the stainless ones, with a few exceptions. You might look for Vermont Castings (Home Depot) and some Fiesta models.

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I'm a huge fan of Vermont Castings and consider them some of the best gas grills ever made, but they can be pricey, so I figured they might be out of your price range.

Marlene

Practice. Do it over. Get it right.

Mostly, I want people to be as happy eating my food as I am cooking it.

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Don't skimp on the side burner. If you can find one that is about 12k BTU's, get it. In warm weather I find myself doing alot of frying outside. It cuts down the smell in the house and cleanup on mine is a snap.

I'm a NYC expat. Since coming to the darkside, as many of my freinds have said, I've found that most good things in NYC are made in NJ.

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Hi,

But, WHY DO THEY HAVE TO BE MONSTERS?

I would love a new gas grill. I think that 30" wide (or less) would be just about perfect. I will admit that a lift up shelf on each side would be nice. I would even accept a 12" infrared burner that could double as a side burner or steak incinerator. I also want a smoke box that in precisely on top of one burner. I would also like to block all the extraneous air flows to force the smoke to linger with my food. I would like non-magnetic stainless THROUGHOUT and stainless long lasting burners. A rotisserie with its own infrared burner would also be acceptable.

I do not want two extra wide shelves. I do not want to grill 64 hamburgers at the same time. I do not want to simmer a sauce outside - I may want to infrequently deep fry outside.

Why do you not make a small but high-performance model to fit these specs?

Tim

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I love my Coleman RoadTrip grill. Especially being able to throw the grates in the dishwasher. Had it for about 4 years and still rec' the heck out of it after 3 apartment balconies and 2 countries, and a whole hell of a lot of tailgating.

http://www.coleman.com/coleman/ColemanCom/...uct_id=9941-768

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  • 1 month later...

I've also been shopping around for a gas grill, but I'm a bit confused. I've noticed the absence of lava rocks or ceramic briquettes in most models. Are (were) those used for flavor or heat distribution? Is there anything you can add to a gas grill to enhance the flavor of your food as one would a charcoal grill?

Karen C.

"Oh, suddenly life’s fun, suddenly there’s a reason to get up in the morning – it’s called bacon!" - Sookie St. James

Travelogue: Ten days in Tuscany

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