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Grill Recommendations


helenas
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Which books would people suggest for someone who wants to learn from the ground up, how to properly operate and cook on a charcoal grill?

I'd put Chris Schlessinger's "Thrill of the Grill" among the top books that I've read.

woodburner

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Which books would people suggest for someone who wants to learn from the ground up, how to properly operate and cook on a charcoal grill?

I'd put Chris Schlessinger's "Thrill of the Grill" among the top books that I've read.

woodburner

I'd also add all of Schlesinger's other grilling books - Let the Flames Begin and License to Grill. He's a master.

Personally, I would not recommend Steven Raichlen's books. I've not found them anywhere near as helpful or interesting. Just my $.02

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I'm going to disagree about the Raichlen books. I have Schlesinger's books and agree they're excellent. Raichlen's Barbecue Bible has a lot of information in it though, lots of techniques, and a huge number of recipes from around the world. I like the more international bent of the BBQ Bible when I feel like cooking something West Indian or whatever. Lots of marinade and rub recipes as well. I do find he usually uses too much salt for my taste. And it's more about grilling than smoking.

I'd get books by both authors. You can't have just one BBQ book.

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I use both gas and charcoal, gas mostly for quick weeknights and a trusty Weber for smoking and grilling over wood or charcoal.

If you like stirfries, I'd also recommend an outdoor wok burner. I just got one, and am having a lot of fun with it. I've done some stir fries and some deep frying so far, and am looking forward to big-pot boiling (details here).

I think Raichlen and Schlesinger are both good bets; R's How To Grill covers pretty much everything and has lots of step-by-step pictures that are helpful to the beginner, while S comes up with really interesting combinations and has a great writing style.

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The best of all world's is to have an adustable fire box or grate which can easily be raised or lowered to meet your needs at any particuliar time, and can also be fitted with a rotisserie. For that you require a more modest piece of equipment made by Hasty Bake.

Thanks woodburner. I want to go the charcoal route and was curious about how you effectively adjust the heat, Hasty Bake's option of an adjustable fire box does seem to give you the best of both worlds.

I have been cookin with 'wood" for twenty years or so on various grills.

I suggest you go to Barbeque's Galore.

Barbeques Galore

My current grill is a Bar B Chef (their house brand)

Best I have ever used for the money!

This is the rig that Alton Brown uses on his grilling episodes.

These grills have an adjustable fire box (crank handle) like the Hasty Bake (a good model but IMOP expensive).

Cast iron grates etc and a front loading door with easy access to the fire box so you can add fuel easily.

Mine cost me about $500 and is very well made.

also

Barbeques Galore (a chain operation) is a great place-everything one needs for grilling and smoking--from a large selection of fuels to implements to grills gas and wood, charcoal grills and smokers , hot sauces, marinades, you name it they probably got it.

Highly recommended.

I recently just moved to an area with a BBQ Galore store but never paid much attention. This thread got me interested and decided to check them out after work today. Looked at both the Bar-B-Chef Texas ($499) and Bar-B-Chef Offset Smoker ($239) and I like what I saw. Both made of sturdy gauge steel (12 vs. Chargriller's 14 vs. Weber's 17 ), well designed and built. I currently have the Chargriller with smoker option I purchased from Lowe's a couple years ago and given a choice today I would definitely pay a little bit more $ and opt for the Bar-B-Chef Offset instead. And if I had more to spend or was looking to upgrade, I would definitely consider the Bar-B-Chef Texas.

Definitely worth checking out if there is a store near you.

Edited by SG- (log)
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  • 8 months later...

I have always been big on Weber but not sure if I really want to spend that much. Actually trying to convince dad to upgrade and take his weber but... What do you use? Has anybody used the weber propane start charcoal, I think it would be great flavor but dont know anybody who has used one. Also what is the most important thing, btu's, construction material?

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I probably shouldn't be posting a reply because I've had the same Broil Mate bbq now for the last 15 years but I do know that higher BTU's will give you more flexibility with your cooking. It's very hard to grill something when it just won't get hot enough for really good sear marks and the resulting flavor let alone cooking your food to your liking in a timely manner. My bbq is 50,000 btu's, has an H style burner and has treated me very well. I think as long as you don't go cheap, materials would probably similar in a particular price range.

Just a few thoughts.

My Photography: Bob Worthington Photography

 

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I have the grill you are talking about (Weber Performer) and I love it. Charcoal is the only way to go and with the propane starter you are ready to go in the same amount of time as preheating a gas grill. The only downside is it is you aren't going to get the vast expanse of rectangular cooking surface you can get with a gas grill.

Get your bitch ass back in the kitchen and make me some pie!!!

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My only beef with Weber is that you can't adjust the grill height. Even with the really fancy-pants models you have to accept the height that you are given and like it.

But a friend of mine has this Weber with the charcoal starter and I'm hella jealous... So maybe it's just jealousy talkin' here.

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I would say that the most important thing for a grill that you plan on using a lot is durability, which I think Weber provides the best. Lots of fancy plastic gimmicks can just break.

Though I cannot speak for other brands, I know that Weber will lasts for years and years and years and provide the same result each time... Weber may be more expensive but at least you wont have to buy another grill in 5 years.

Edited by orangeman747 (log)
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I'm a big, BIG fan of the Big Green Egg. I was never into grilling, but I saw this thing one day at a hardware store, and couldn't figure out what it was. My wife bought one for me for Father's day, and I've been a grilling monster since. It will maintain a temperature from 180 to over 1000 as you wish. Great for smoking and/or grilling. I'm into sous vide as well, and I'll often cook something sous vide and then finish it on the BGE. I really can't say enough about it. You can find more info at www.biggreenegg.com They also have a very informative and friendly forum :)

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  • 2 months later...

Considering the purchase of a Big Green Egg. Want a smoker and grill. I do have some concerns though. Was hoping you guys could help me out.

Is it safe to use on a wood balcony?

Is there enough room to grill burgers and such?

Am I better off getting a smoker and a grill?

TIA

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I don't have a BGE, but I do have a Kamado (actually I had 2 for a while), so I'll take a stab with ceramic-generic answers.

Safety: as safe as any other grill with something on fire inside. I seriously doubt it is any more dangerous than a charcoal weber. When I light lump (esp mesquite), there sure are a lot of sparks flying all over the place. I wouldn't want that to land into a pile of dry newspapers lying anywhere nearby.

Size: I think there's different size BGE, and I personally have had a K1 and a K5 from Kamado (still have the K5). One year we had burgers at our annual end-of-summer bbq -- was great to cook for 25+ people. Another year did low-n-slow pork for 35+ people: 4 pork butts probably weighing in at 30+ lbs.

Better than a smoker and a grill: hell no :) ! I gave away my metal smoker when I got the K, and the propane grill wasn't used much longer...

If you're considering the BGE, take a look at the Kamados. Beautiful yard art and much thicker ceramic construction. I saw pics a while ago of a clone of the Kamados that looked very nice, but I think they came with bigger price tags...

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one more thing I just thought of on the safety issue: weight. My K5 probably tips the scale at 500-600 lbs. Depending on wood balcony construction, that might be too much. Pretty sure BGEs weigh less.

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If you're considering the BGE, take a look at the Kamados.  Beautiful yard art and much thicker ceramic construction.  I saw pics a while ago of a clone of the Kamados that looked very nice, but I think they came with bigger price tags...

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.

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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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