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BBQ recommendation: Weber or Broil King + maintenance tip
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Jul 23, 2013, 03:30 AM
 
Hi! I never owned a BBQ and now that I have a balcony, I'm ready to jump in the bandwagon. I read Consumer Reports and various reviews and my choice was set on the Weber Spirit E-310. However, some people suggested Broil King. I did some research and the reviews are great too. I would buy the Signet 20. On paper, they are very similar and both seem good choices. However, Consumer Report listed the Weber much higher than the Broil King (77 vs 60). The warranty on the Weber is also much longer (25 years on the body, 10 years on the burners, 5 years on the grates). The Broil King is significantly cheaper. Both seem very reliable and good buy and both have oustanding reviews. The only thing that makes me hesitate is the CR review. Any input on the subject? I won't use it for many people and won't use it more than a couple days a week, and only during summer. However, the BBQ will remain outside during the winter (with a cover).

Also, what care should I take in order to maximize its life expectancy? Some people say I should "season" the grill. Some people say we shouldn't brush the grill after use (like i planned to do). What kind of brush is the best? When's the appropriate time to brush it?

thank you!
     
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Jul 23, 2013, 08:27 AM
 
Both make great grilles. Almost all BBQ manufacturers have moved to lower-quality Chinese steel and/or manufacturing over the past 10 years, but Weber and Broil King have managed to avoid big quality drops in their lineup.

I just "upgraded" to a big Weber but I've owned Broil Kings in the past and loved them; they are not quite as good - slightly more hot spots and uneven heat control and not quite the same solid feel; however the value is obvious tremendously better than Weber. You're paying extra for the Weber name, no question.

A positive for the BK is that you can upgrade to a slightly better model for the same price; get an extra burner, a rotissiere kit if you want one, etc.

If you're on a balcony never pay extra for a side burner; you will never, ever use it, because whatever you'd put on there can be put on your kitchen stove just inside without wasting extra propane and valuable work space around the grille.

Don't brush it clean after use because it's a waste of propane; you always need to heat it up before grilling next, so brush it clean then when it's nice and hot!

I grill year-round in Canada - just get a solid cover and actually use it and you'll be fine. I have a lighter cover for summer use that folds up into a neat little box right on top of the grille; when you put it on, it just folds down around it. Very convenient and non-messy for a small balconey.
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Jul 23, 2013, 09:40 AM
 
Just noticed you are in Canada. PS Broil King AFAIK is a Canadian company so it's always nice to support the home team now and again. FWIW I used the Signet 90 (?) for a couple years and thought it was a nice little 3-burner. (I suspect the 20 is much, much cheaper than the Spirit, too.)

Also, that BBQ cover that folds into a nice little box is at Canadian Tire.
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Jul 23, 2013, 02:14 PM
 
My advice is to **** both of them and get a Big Green Egg.
     
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Jul 23, 2013, 02:18 PM
 
I think we went Weber. It is sturdy and has nice grates but the starter button went kaput the week we brought it home. We keep a lighter handy.
     
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Jul 23, 2013, 03:52 PM
 
1. Weber has awesome customer service. You call them, you get a new replacement part in a few days. It's very comforting.

2. I like the BGE as much as the next guy, but for someone who's never BBQ'd before, I can't say I would recommend buying one - and they are not cheap if you get the M or L size.
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Jul 23, 2013, 04:06 PM
 
You like gas over charcol?
     
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Jul 23, 2013, 04:08 PM
 
If you don't have room for a real pit, Weber is a great retail product.
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Jul 23, 2013, 04:57 PM
 
Originally Posted by BadKosh View Post
You like gas over charcol?
Generally, yes. Less work, faster, much less mess; there is a difference in taste but it is minimal and can also be described as preference. I generally make the analogy to manual vs. automatic cars; at the end of the day both can produce a very similar result, but one involves you more in the process. (I love love love to drive stick; I bought an auto. That should say it all.)

I enjoy charcoal and experimented with Weber's bullet smoker for about a year; now I simply smoke with my gas Weber. I've been toying with getting a BGE/kamado-style for a second grille, and will probably do so a few years down the road.
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Jul 23, 2013, 05:11 PM
 
I don't think there's much difference when it comes to grilling. For barbecue, there's a big difference.

If "fast" is a concern when you barbecue, you're doing it wrong.
     
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Jul 23, 2013, 05:45 PM
 
Fast to light and maintain? I walk outside in the rain or a snowstorm, click a few buttons and that's my extent of fuel/heat maintenance, other than turning a dial one way or the other. Charcoal is not as annoying as people make it out to be, but it's no contest when it comes to convenience.

Feel free to educate me further on grilling vs. barbeque. I grill low and slow on a biweekly basis (this past Sunday it was a smallish smoked pork shoulder for 8 hours; this weekend I'm experimenting with two rub variants on 4 racks of ribs) and I can't agree there is a "big difference" between gas vs. charcoal. Like I said, a while back I used a Weber Bullet for just over a year - side by side with a gas grille - and as much as I enjoyed it, it wasn't enough of a difference to stop me from consolidating into a large gas Weber when I got the chance. I still use indirect heat when I want; I still use wood smoke when I want; it still tastes great - my results lead me to believe a blind taste test would show an identifiable difference but would not show majority preference to either method.

To be clear, yes, I experiment a fair bit. On Sunday for example I did two similar-sized pork shoulders at the same time - the other was in a slow cooker, so we could sample the difference between pulled pork using the two methods.
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Jul 23, 2013, 06:15 PM
 
In my view BBQ has two different fundamental approaches:

Grilling: cooking meats fast ... directly over high heat.

Smoking: cooking meats slow ... indirectly over low heat with wood smoke to impart additional flavor.

Now there are some zealots who insist that "real" BBQ is only what I listed as "smoking". I don't subscribe to all of that. It's all BBQ as far as I'm concerned .... just different techniques.

OAW
     
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Jul 23, 2013, 08:05 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Fast to light and maintain?
I'm saying if you have an 8-hour cooking process, "fast to light" is a bizarre-ass concern.

We can agree to disagree about wood vs. gas.
     
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Jul 23, 2013, 08:33 PM
 
I've always been a charcoal guy. Though I have been toying around with the idea of a small gas grill for those spur of the moment situations when I have the urge to grill some burgers or steak. An itch that presently goes unscratched during the week due to the the time and hassle of prepping a charcoal grill.

OAW
( Last edited by OAW; Jul 24, 2013 at 02:49 PM. )
     
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Jul 24, 2013, 12:03 AM
 
Gas grills are the microwaves of grills. I'm far too lazy to bother with coals.

-t
     
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Jul 24, 2013, 03:08 AM
 
Even though I'm a charcoal guy, I had to get an electric grill a few years back (my landlord back then wouldn't allow charcoal grills). I ended up with a Weber, and the built quality is excellent. The only thing that bothers me a little is that I need a wrench to disassemble it.
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Jul 24, 2013, 03:09 AM
 
All gas grills and all charcoal grills are the same (to me). How you spread the charcoal and lava rocks is what matters the most. I'm no BBQ aficionado however, just someone who likes to occasionally BBQ and eat.
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Jul 24, 2013, 08:15 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'm saying if you have an 8-hour cooking process, "fast to light" is a bizarre-ass concern.
Really? Saturday morning I'll walk outside, flick two dials to turn on those burners, walk back inside, and that is likely the extent of my fire maintenance for the day - ~220 degrees for the next 4 or 5 hours.

Just because one has 8 hours of barbeque, doesn't mean it's not more convenient to spend 30 seconds of it on fire maintenance as opposed to 15 minutes.

As I mentioned, I really don't think charcoal is that bad to work with - but lighting, maintaining, cleaning...? It's not really a contest.
We can agree to disagree about wood vs. gas.
Like I said: I regularly burn wood on my gas grille. You're more than welcome to do side-by-side runs like I have; I just could not get people to regularly prefer charcoal-fueled flame over gas-fueled when they didn't already know which was which.
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Jul 24, 2013, 08:51 AM
 
Either I light up my 22" Weber and cook low n slow for Pork BBQ, or ribs, but If its ribs I 'will' use my oven if it's in the winter time just for the heat!
chicken wings are always cooked on the Weber with charcol. Beef would go into a crockpot or oven, but chicken and pork are better on the grill. Of course you have to find the right combination of settings and procedures over the decades to really get the best taste whatever your method. My Pulled Pork recipe has been tweaked for over 20 years now. I had the advantage that my relatives came from NC, and would bring back BBQ from various pit BBQ joints all over NC.
     
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Jul 24, 2013, 01:46 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
Just because one has 8 hours of barbeque, doesn't mean it's not more convenient to spend 30 seconds of it on fire maintenance as opposed to 15 minutes.
It's more convienent to go to a restaurant.
     
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Jul 24, 2013, 01:52 PM
 
I mean, if your goal is not to **** with it, why not just put it in the oven?
     
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Jul 24, 2013, 02:22 PM
 
Main reason for grilling: to not heat up the house in the summertime. Use of the side burner for cooking sides also nice.

Second reason: tasty goodness.

Added bonus: no baking pans to clean up.
     
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Jul 24, 2013, 02:28 PM
 
Do you mean grilling, or cooking a pork shoulder for 8 hours?
     
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Jul 24, 2013, 03:25 PM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
It's more convienent to go to a restaurant.
I...have no idea what you're talking about. What does a restaurant have to do with whether one factors in convenience when choosing to use gas or charcoal?
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I mean, if your goal is not to **** with it, why not just put it in the oven?
**** with what - the flame? Does your oven have a fire on which to you burn hickory chips? Why does the amount of ****ing with your fuel source mean so much to you? I honestly don't know where you're coming from here. Are you trying to say that one should not factor in the convenience of lighting and maintaining and cleaning a gas grill when making such a purchase? I feel like you're trolling me here.
Originally Posted by subego View Post
Do you mean grilling, or cooking a pork shoulder for 8 hours?
What the hell's the difference? You're making this delineation based on the type of heat. Whether you're cooking a salmon filet directly for 6 minutes or indirectly for 22 minutes or a pork shoulder indirectly for 8 hours - it's all cooked in a grill; furthermore, it's likely on the same grill. The only real difference is temperature and placement of the food/heat source.

As I've mentioned several times, I really like using charcoal; but if I have just one, I'm choosing gas, and will add charcoal down the road. FireWire has a balconey (presumably smallish) and identified only gas-powered options; the BGE would be a great alternative, but for someone's first BBQ? I certainly would not recommend it, for exactly the reasons OAW outlined - it's just not really as convenient or simple to use.
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Jul 24, 2013, 05:23 PM
 
Originally Posted by ShortcutToMoncton View Post
I...have no idea what you're talking about. What does a restaurant have to do with whether one factors in convenience when choosing to use gas or charcoal?

**** with what - the flame? Does your oven have a fire on which to you burn hickory chips? Why does the amount of ****ing with your fuel source mean so much to you? I honestly don't know where you're coming from here. Are you trying to say that one should not factor in the convenience of lighting and maintaining and cleaning a gas grill when making such a purchase? I feel like you're trolling me here.

What the hell's the difference? You're making this delineation based on the type of heat. Whether you're cooking a salmon filet directly for 6 minutes or indirectly for 22 minutes or a pork shoulder indirectly for 8 hours - it's all cooked in a grill; furthermore, it's likely on the same grill. The only real difference is temperature and placement of the food/heat source.

As I've mentioned several times, I really like using charcoal; but if I have just one, I'm choosing gas, and will add charcoal down the road. FireWire has a balconey (presumably smallish) and identified only gas-powered options; the BGE would be a great alternative, but for someone's first BBQ? I certainly would not recommend it, for exactly the reasons OAW outlined - it's just not really as convenient or simple to use.
I'm not trolling you, but I do seem to be causing you irritation. That is not my intent, so I shall be less agressive and (honestly) apologize for having irritated you.

My statements refer specifically and only to barbecue. "Low and slow" as you put it.

All I'm saying is if that's what you intend to do (and I don't think that's what FireWire intends to do), ease of lighting and cleaning should not be high on your list of priorities influencing your decision.

Otherwise, I agree with your recommendations, and would only add something in the hibachi family may actually be better if approaching this from a space/money standpoint.
     
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Jul 25, 2013, 01:36 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post

All I'm saying is if that's what you intend to do (and I don't think that's what FireWire intends to do), ease of lighting and cleaning should not be high on your list of priorities influencing your decision.
Those who just want to grill should buy a gas Weber and be done with it, if you're serious about BBQ/smoking, and have the space, you build a covered pit and use charcoal and/or hickory logs (logs being my favorite, by far). There's the ritual of building the fire, getting the wood to a certain char, manually adjusting the desired level of smoke. I love all that and will spend a day on a whole piglet (40-50lbs), after applying my Cuban marinade for 48 hours, but most think it's tedious (until they taste it). It'll make a rabbi break from kosher law, and that's a proven fact.
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Jul 25, 2013, 08:00 AM
 
Originally Posted by subego View Post
I'm not trolling you, but I do seem to be causing you irritation. That is not my intent, so I shall be less agressive and (honestly) apologize for having irritated you.

My statements refer specifically and only to barbecue. "Low and slow" as you put it.

All I'm saying is if that's what you intend to do (and I don't think that's what FireWire intends to do), ease of lighting and cleaning should not be high on your list of priorities influencing your decision.

Otherwise, I agree with your recommendations, and would only add something in the hibachi family may actually be better if approaching this from a space/money standpoint.
No worries, I figured we were just talking past each other. I only come on here every few weeks to see if there's anything I'm interested in - so I type quickly.

Agreed with you both. We are actually about to re-do our entire back yard and I had suggested building in a brick BBQ pit - unfortunately it just isn't feasible in this area of Canada.
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Jul 25, 2013, 08:59 AM
 
Originally Posted by Shaddim View Post
It'll make a rabbi break from kosher law, and that's a proven fact.


Did you lead that poor rabbi into temptation ?

-t
     
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Jul 25, 2013, 12:47 PM
 
Originally Posted by turtle777 View Post


Did you lead that poor rabbi into temptation ?

-t
He led himself, he dropped by unannounced and I was just cooking. He hung around talking with me, and by the time it was finished he was almost in a state of frenzy. I actually tried to talk him out of it, but it was no good, he'd smelled too much. Poor guy.
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Jul 25, 2013, 01:46 PM
 
If you cook a pig long enough, it becomes chicken. It must be, because I serve bacon to my inlaws and yet it disappears...
     
   
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