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NY Times: "Pimp My Grill" article is smokin'


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article from the NYTimes

... some will spend almost any amount of money to satisfy... market segment we call the 'man cook with fire' types ... like luxury car owners, many people who splurge on a grill that can simmer, bake and fry are looking to impress... Now the high-end grill market accounts for 3 to 4 percent of the 14.5 million grills sold last year... for those who want to stay on top of cooking technology, there is no such thing as too much power; grills have become an extension of their constantly updated kitchens... A new breed of grill cuisine is rising along with grill prices.

What type of grill are you using?

Do you upgrade as the people in the article have done?

Is this "overkill"?

Is this an area of cooking in which too much of a good thing is never enough? :rolleyes:

Melissa Goodman aka "Gifted Gourmet"

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delonghi indoor grill, weber kettle, brinkmann smoker.

no, but i will eventually (probably a big green egg and a more ridiculous smoker)

no - for overkill, see some of the setups on the bbqnews.com forum. okay, maybe not overkill, but they are pretty elaborate and $$$ (particularly the mobile setups).

Edited by carpetbagger, esq. (log)
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A big, $3000-$5000 or more "Professional" grill is pretty pointless for your average two adult, two kids family unless you do a LOT of entertaining. The BTU overkill syndrome is really much like the ludicrous horsepower syndrome on trucks and cars, where the grill or car is a replacement for lack of prowess in other areas.

I use a $600 Weber Genesis Sliver C, natural gas model which I have been very happy with for the past five years, and should pretty much satisfy the needs of ANY moderate sized party. Its very low maintainance, built like a peice of military field equipment, and produces excellent results for a gas grill. During weeks with nice weather I use it probably 3 or 4 times a week. The $3000+ Weber Summit has more cooking space, but it sure will not produce better results. I'm considering going to a gas ignition, charcoal fuel ceramic Kamado #9 ($1400) but only because of its versatility for both low tempature cooking, smoking and high temperature cooking and charcoal flavor.

Dedicated BBQ smoker setups which you can get pro/competition results from are another league and animal entirely and totally separate from Grill discussion.

And if you want to eschew using LP or Natural Gas entirely on a grill and go 100 percent charcoal, you can't do much better than the original Weber 22-inch Kettle at $150. There isn't a single $5000 grill on the market that will make hamburgers, steaks, pork, chicken, or fish taste better than one of those.

Edited by Jason Perlow (log)

Jason Perlow

Co-Founder, The Society for Culinary Arts & Letters

offthebroiler.com - Food Blog | View my food photos on Instagram

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give me a couple of sticks, some wire mesh and a bag of charcoal and ill be happy. i think most of the people (certainly not all, but i dont think im generalizing too badly when i say most) would be far better served spending their time and money buying some meat and practicing good technique with a basic grill/smoker of their choice. ive had some of my worst meals at houses that were best equipped and used the best ingredients, and vice versa

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Weber Grill, Smokey Joe (sorta Weber junior), and New Braunfeld offset smoker. The only thing I'd upgrade would be the smoker. I have my eye on the Meadow Creek line.

These cookers are made by an Amish family in New Holland, PA. I had a chance to tour their plant. There is no electricity in the building and you can only contact them through their distributers. But the smokers are as high tech as they get. The Amish have been smoking food long before BBQ became faddish.

Jim Tarantino

Jim Tarantino

Marinades, Rubs, Brines, Cures, & Glazes

Ten Speed Press

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That's a lot of money to spend, to grill a couple of chicken breasts. Conspicuous consumption, all the way.

We received a Weber 24" kettle for our wedding fourteen years ago. It needs refurbishing or replacing--we'll replace it with the same, $84. at Home Depot.

Re. the article. I was delighted that Chris Schlesinger had the last word. When I converted from vegetarianism soon after marrying :raz: his books on grilling meat were invaluable.

Margo Thompson

Allentown, PA

You're my little potato, you're my little potato,

You're my little potato, they dug you up!

You come from underground!

-Malcolm Dalglish

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give me a couple of sticks, some wire mesh and a bag of charcoal and ill be happy. i think most of the people (certainly not all, but i dont think im generalizing too badly when i say most) would be far better served spending their time and money buying some meat and practicing good technique with a basic grill/smoker of their choice. ive had some of my worst meals at houses that were best equipped and used the best ingredients, and vice versa

I agree. Conspicuous consumption. That's OK, it's their money, but I too have had bad food from fancy set ups. The same goes for fancy indoor kitchens, some of the owners would be better served learning how to buy good ingredients and cook properly. It reminds me of the Boston Market TV commercial that shows a huge fancy stainless steel range in a obviously upscale kitchen. A woman walks in and sets a Boston Market bag on the range and yells "dinner's ready!" :hmmm:

I have a large Brinkmann charcoal grill ($179 at Sam's club). The two features I need in a charcoal grill are enough size to cook indirectly and an easy system for raising and lowering the fire and/or the grate. Cast iron grates are nice too, this Brinkmann has those as well.

I also have a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker for slow cooking and barbecue ($200 at Amazon.com). I love it, just participated in the 2nd Annual International WSM Smoke Day last Saturday. http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/

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I must add, however, that my neighbor has a Weber gas grill with an electric rotisserie that I sometimes covet. The solution is that when I want to rotisserie something, I take it to his place and treat them to dinner using his grill. Did a leg of lamb a couple weeks ago, that rotisserie is the deal for that.

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I just recently upgraded my old Weber (12 years old - similar to the Genesis Silver series mentioned up thread a number of times) to a Jackson Grill. I wasn't really looking to invest in a stainless steel monster, but we were at a charity auction, and I figured "Why not?" It's about the same size as the Genesis, but is all stainless steel. I'll let you know what I think of it after I've cooked with it for a while. So far, so good.

I'm with most people here ... it's about the heat provided and the construction. I also take a long hard look at the grills. Stainless steel or cast iron is what I want. Everything after that is useless for me.

My next grill? I'm looking to add a Weber Kettle and another Bullet to my collection. But I'm too cheep to pay the $150 for a new Kettle, so I may have to go search the garage sales.

A.

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Up 'til 3 weeks ago, I was strictly a charcoal man. I'd only work with my Weber 22" kettle, or my lil' Weber Smokey Joe baby kettle.

While both had never failed to turn out good food, I was getting a little tired of the whole setup routine (no lighter fluid, stoke the chimney, relight the stack when the first batch of newspaper failed to ignite the charcoal, etc.). Then, the siren call of gas grillin' finally got to me...

So, I caved and picked up this little baby for $149. It has turned out to be perfect for grilling steaks, small chicken parts (nothing too thick), burgers, dogs, and so on.

Anyone looking for a small grill, be sure to check it out. More information available right here.

P.S. This unit should not be considered a replacement for a real gas grill, i.e. Weber, et al. But it could definitely be used to supplement your collection of grills!

So we finish the eighteenth and he's gonna stiff me. And I say, "Hey, Lama, hey, how about a little something, you know, for the effort, you know." And he says, "Oh, uh, there won't be any money. But when you die, on your deathbed, you will receive total consciousness."

So I got that goin' for me, which is nice.

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We just dropped a couple of Benjamins on this baby, hardly a status symbol but fine for us. Whether we just accidently cooked the steaks more perfectly than usual, or they were unusually good steaks, or searing them at 650 degrees made all the difference, the first experiment with the new toy was wildly successful.

As my wife is not keen on the smoke flavor (and occasional carbonization from fires that break out while I duck inside for more wine) we get with our official "The Simpson's" baby Weber, the gas grill is a nice fit.

I feel like that if I had five large for a grill, I'd have something made out of brick and iron, and lay in a couple of cords of hardwood to stoke it with.

I'm on the pavement

Thinking about the government.

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After reading this topic I was glad that I decided to invest in my son-in law and be absolutely sure that his virility was not questioned by anyone in his neighborhood or yours.

Since they have covered outdoor area with plenty of ventilation adjacent to their kitchen I shopped over the internet for a "South Bend Infra Red Ceramic Broiler/Warming Oven".

This is the same type High Speed Broilers utilized at almost every Steak House operation such as "Ruth Chris et all:

His works with Propane but they are available for any type of Gas Heat. I purchased it used from Portland Oregon in Stainless Steel with Fan and on wheels in excellent almost new condition for $1500.00 (no sales tax in Oregon) my son picked it up with his Buddy pick-up and they had no problem setting it up in less then a 1/2 hour.

With a available temperature in excess of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit it easily cooks a 1 inch thick Steak to medium rare in about 4 minutes.

Making Toast is fun because it almost toasts instantly under the broiler. He sears off a Lamb Rack or 1/2 Chicken on both sides for about 1 minute each then places them in a pie tin in the warming oven for about 15 minutes for rare lamb and about 25 minutes for a fully cooked chicken 1/2.

Thicker cuts of Meat he keeps turning to allow heat to be centered resting the Meat on top or the warming oven to set and finishing according to preference when it's ready to serve.

Fish Filet's he cooks by pre-heating a steel platter, putting some butter on then adding the fillet skin side down and putting the piece into the broiler. After browning he then puts it into the warming oven for several minutes until it's cooked to his guests taste.

Hot Dogs and Burgers are put into the broiler after he brushes on some oil to the cast iron grids then turned frequently until ready (about 2/3 minutes). Lobsters are delicious as the Infra Red Heat penetrates into the meat quickly using the broiler and warming oven alternately. Au Gratins work very well as does anything skewered. Grilled Veggies are almost ready in a flash.

He even enjoys the effect when his friends price out a new broiler on the internet and they are awed that he has a $10,000.00 plus (retail) broiler.

The unit actually uses much less propane then his other open Gas Broiler. The same bottle has lasted several months of regular use and it's ready to go after about 1 1/2 minutes, with adjustable heat on both sides.

He slow cooks dry rubbed Pork Ribs at a low temperature in the broiler, then places then in the warming at about 225 degrees until they start to fall apart.

It's very versatile, low maintenance with it's built in fat catching drawers, easy to clean and weatherproof. No mess or smoke and the cook remains clean and comfortable.

Irwin :cool:

Edited by wesza (log)

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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i was actually saying that if someone suggests that there's no reason for more BTUs or surface area then they obviously don't use a grill like I do, or like countless others must, and haven't thought about it enough to think "hey, i guess there are plenty of people out there who want lots of BTUs to cook a steak like Peter Luger's and lots of surface area for multiple zones when they're preparing food for lots of friends and family."  if people can't see that use and value, then yes, to my mind, they haven't given it much thought. 

*g* I've helped grill things on a firebrick grill, about 5 foot by 4 foot. Three sides lined with firebrick, top covered with about 3/4" thick narrow grillework (not straight grill pattern, a nicely engineered diamond mesh kind of deal). Wood fire. Will comfortably handle a party of 30-50 adults, plus kids. You could definitely get much fancier than just burgers on it if you've got any kind of skill at cooking with fire. Stick a couple dutch ovens loaded with peach cobbler in the coals, bake potatoes in the coals...

I've noticed a lot of egulleters tend to use their charcoal grills for barbecue tho. That will serve a lot of people using a fairly small grill. If you tried to do steaks for 50 on a small grill, you'd go mad. Either that or you'd get devoured by your guests.

Emily

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Moderator's note: I removed some posts from this thread that were off-topic. Let's keep to the subject at hand: High-end and other grilling equipment.

Carry on!

Marsha

Marsha Lynch aka "zilla369"

Has anyone ever actually seen a bandit making out?

Uh-huh: just as I thought. Stereotyping.

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I thought it would be informative if I provided additional information about the Infrared Broilers effectiveness toward efficient high speed grilling at a better value.

Middleby Marshall's South Bend Infrared Broilers are considered the best by the majority of Steakhouses everywhere, even exported to Europe and Asia.

The Model 171 with heating oven utilizes Schwank Infrared Ceramics at as high as 110,000 BTU enhanced by a circulating fan to elevate temperatures and efficiency to maximum temperatures as high as 1800 degrees.

The actual Gridded Cooking area is 24 1/2 inches wide by 27 1/2 inches deep with easily adjustable rollers height, depth and level controls. The enhanced Infrared heat penetrates all items quickly speeding cooking times in excess of 50%.

This size grid can quickly Broil as many as 20+ large Steaks, Chops, Skewers or Fish Fillets at one time with fast turnover.

The Holding/Warming oven is 25 inches wide by 25 inches deep is heated by the broilers gas fumes with large capacity allowing items like large lobsters, racks of lamb, larger steaks, poultry and casseroles to heat thru nicely.

When cooking several items to different doneness they can be placed on top of the warming oven allowing juices to set, returning to the broiler to finish prior to serving.

The retail listed price of the model 171 with warming oven is in excess of $18,600.00. One very recently sold on Ebay brand new for about $7,000.00.

There is one model 171 with warming over currently listed for completion of Auction in 2 days at $2,200.00 Dollars in Good used Condition. I purchased ours in Oregon for only $1,500.00 but prices are often lower on the west coast because most Chef's, Cooks and operators are not familiar or experience in using underfired broilers. Then with careful shopping be often purchased new at 50% discounts.

Places like "Peter Luger's" used "Radiant Broilers" still being sold. I think theirs was a"Garland" model, but by now they may have upgraded to Infrared.

Salamanders rarely use more then 40, 000 BTU's have little or no grease/oil capacity are setup over stoves and generally utilized as Cheese melter's, Browning Morna's, Au Gratins, Onion Soups, Garlic Toast and Oysters Kirkpatrick's. Most are only 12/16 inches deep, average about 22 inches wide on Restaurant type Ranges. Many places use then to finish a undercooked Steak while still in a plate.

After searching over the internet and following this thread I feel that this may be the best value for the dollar, with quick clean-up, easy maintainance, parts always available, and much less smoke, splatters and comfort during cooking.

It would be interesting if another eGulleter purchased the Broiler currently available on Ebay.

Irwin

After reading this topic I was glad that I decided to invest in my son-in law and be absolutely sure that his virility was not questioned by anyone in his neighborhood or yours.

Since they have covered outdoor area with plenty of ventilation adjacent to their kitchen I shopped over the internet for a "South Bend Infra Red Ceramic Broiler/Warming Oven".

This is the same type High Speed Broilers utilized at almost every Steak House operation such as "Ruth Chris et all:

His works with Propane but they are available for any type of Gas Heat. I purchased it used from Portland Oregon in Stainless Steel with Fan and on wheels in excellent almost new condition for $1500.00 (no sales tax in Oregon) my son picked it up with his Buddy pick-up and they had no problem setting it up in less then a 1/2 hour.

With a available temperature in excess of 1500 degrees Fahrenheit it easily cooks a 1 inch thick Steak to medium rare in about 4 minutes.

Making Toast is fun because it almost toasts instantly under the broiler. He sears off a Lamb Rack or 1/2 Chicken on both sides for about 1 minute each then places them in a pie tin in the warming oven for about 15 minutes for rare lamb and about 25 minutes for a fully cooked chicken 1/2.

Thicker cuts of Meat he keeps turning to allow heat to be centered resting the Meat on top or the warming oven to set and finishing according to preference when it's ready to serve.

Fish Filet's he cooks by pre-heating a steel platter, putting some butter on then adding the fillet skin side down and putting the piece into the broiler. After browning he then puts it into the warming oven for several minutes until it's cooked to his guests taste.

Hot Dogs and Burgers are put into the broiler after he brushes on some oil to the cast iron grids then turned frequently until ready (about 2/3 minutes). Lobsters are delicious as the Infra Red Heat penetrates into the meat quickly using the broiler and warming oven alternately. Au Gratins work very well as does anything skewered. Grilled Veggies are almost ready in a flash.

He even enjoys the effect when his friends price out a new broiler on the internet and they are awed that he has a $10,000.00 plus (retail) broiler.

The unit actually uses much less propane then his other open Gas Broiler. The same bottle has lasted several months of regular use and it's ready to go after about 1 1/2 minutes, with adjustable heat on both sides.

He slow cooks dry rubbed Pork Ribs at a low temperature in the broiler, then places then in the warming at about 225 degrees until they start to fall apart.

It's very versatile, low maintenance with it's built in fat catching drawers, easy to clean and weatherproof. No mess or smoke and the cook remains clean and comfortable.

Irwin

Irwin :cool:

I don't say that I do. But don't let it get around that I don't.

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Geez. I'm still in love with my 25-year old Weber Kettle. It grills, I can smoke meat. I suppose I could even make toast on it. But, I have a toaster. I have a stove. I have an oven. The investment was originally $50.00. We've replaced a couple of parts (wood handle on top; no charge becuase of garage inventory -- the other was $7.99 damper thingie). OK. I'm a dinosaur.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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  • 2 weeks later...

I use a custom grill my father built for me. It is cast iron, with a firebox, and enough room to smoke two briskets comfortably. You can also just build a fire right in the bottom and do regular grilling. Mine is smaller than the typical ones he makes, as I don't have a lot of room to work with, and really don't need to cook 25 briskets at a time. :raz: He typically sells them for $200-$2000 depending on size and how many fancy attachments people want. I think they're really worth it. They cook evenly, hold heat well, and are extremely sturdy.

My father went to a huge cook-off in Lockhart, TX, this past weekend, and he was telling me about the CRAZY grills and smokers he saw. One guy had converted an entire fifth-wheel trailer into a smoker. It had stainless steel, a water circulation unit to add moisture to the meat (we're still trying to fingure out how this worked), a refrigerator and freezer, and it could cook some ungodly amount of meat at one time. It sounds insane.

-Sounds awfully rich!

-It is! That's why I serve it with ice cream to cut the sweetness!

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[HOMER]Mmmm...an ungodly amount of smoked meat[/HOMER] :laugh:

 

“Peter: Oh my god, Brian, there's a message in my Alphabits. It says, 'Oooooo.'

Brian: Peter, those are Cheerios.”

– From Fox TV’s “Family Guy”

 

Tim Oliver

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when you go to a street fair on the central coast of california, you'll see rigs like this for santa maria bbq--they're huge flat trailers fitted with a heavy iron grate that raises and lowers with a series of winches. we're talking about a cooking surface measured in square feet rather than square inches.

as for me, i'm sticking with my weber one-touch. i picked it up a couple of years ago after several years on a hardware store weber, and it is amazingly sturdy (compared to the other one) and really easy to clean up. true, neither the grill nor the fire grate are adjustable, but that's only a problem the first couple of times until you figure out how to manage it (duh: add more wood!).

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