Weber Grill Review: How Well Does It Cook?
Why you need to trust us
Before opening the valve about the same propane tank, we spoke with an increase of when compared to a dozen experts.
Joe Salvaggio of NY BBQ spent two hours explaining the basics of gas-grill design, function, materials, and maintenance. Joe and his brother Tony have run NY BBQ, among the NY region’s leading grill shops, for 30 years. The store carries grills from multiple manufacturers, which range from $400 backyard portables to five-figure custom built-ins. Because Salvaggio can be an independent retailer, he could speak freely in what he saw as the relative strengths and weaknesses of varied designs.
At the 2017 Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Expo, we interviewed senior product managers from nearly every major grill-maker in attendance, including all of the brands that finished up featured inside our test: Weber, Broil King, and Napoleon. We spoke with multiple makers of high-end grills, too, because they predominate at HPBE. Though we wouldn’t be testing their grills, we felt that knowing what switches into making a $4,000 grill helped us measure the less expensive grills inside our test.
We backed this reporting with comprehensive research-the in-depth, professional reviews at AmazingRibs.com being truly a standout source-and hands-on time with grills at the big hardware chains.
We then tested six grills ourselves in 2017. Our tests were designed and run by Wirecutter writer Lesley Stockton, who includes a decade of experience in professional kitchens, a lot of it allocated to the grill station. Sam Sifton, food editor of THE BRAND NEW York Times (parent company of Wirecutter), joined in the testing and added his comprehensive knowledge. In 2018, we tested Weber’s new Spirit II E-310-successor to your previous pick, the first-gen Spirit E-310-against our upgrade pick to find the best gas grill.
Gas grill vs. charcoal grill
If you’re investing in a grill, your first decision is which kind of fuel: charcoal or gas.
Gas grills offer three big benefits:
- Control: Adjusting heat is a straightforward matter of turning the burner knobs, which means you can certainly prevent burning or undercooking, and create different heat zones by shutting down a number of burner (handy for indirect grilling). That can be done the same with charcoal, too, nonetheless it takes work-you have to move the coals around and adapt the vents.
- Convenience: Gas grills start with the press of a button and heat up fast. Charcoal grills require 20 minutes roughly to light the coals and another ten minutes roughly for the grates to heat up.
- Cleanliness: Gas grills don’t generate much smoke and don’t produce ash or embers just how charcoal grills do, so cleanup is simple-you have to brush and wipe the grates and empty the grease trap after you’re done cooking.
Having said that, charcoal grills have several upsides of their own. Charcoal burns hotter than gas, to get an excellent sear on burgers and steaks. You can purchase a fantastic, do-everything charcoal grill for $150; gas grills start at around $200, and you’ll spend at least twice that on an extremely good one. Lastly, there’s the romance factor: For a lot of, it’s more pleasurable to play with fire than to twiddle a few knobs.
On balance, gas is just about the better choice in the event that you favor no-fuss cooking or grill often (and particularly if you grill on weeknights, when time reaches reduced). If you’re an intermittent griller or you love getting hands-on together with your cooking, charcoal can be an economical choice that, with a lttle bit of practice, produces great results.
How we picked the very best gas grill
We’d three firm requirements our main contenders had to meet up:
- Three burners: Three-burner grills are compact but big enough to cook a complete family dinner (say, chicken breasts using one burner, corn on the cob on another, and another vegetable on the 3rd), or a couple of burgers or brats for a celebration. And three burners offer you a large amount of versatility in your cooking technique: You can sear, slow-cook, do indirect cooking, and even smoke large cuts of meat. Two-burner grills save just a little space and just a little money but lack that versatility, and inside our experience, they feel cramped. Grills with four burners (or even more) are generally a lot more than most of the people need. But if you know you will need either fewer or even more than three burners, most manufacturers’ lines, including our top pick and upgrade, can be found in two-, three-, four-, and six-burner versions (and so are priced lower or more accordingly).
- Cast-aluminum firebox: Predicated on advice from Joe Salvaggio of NY BBQ and multiple grill-makers, we insisted our main contenders have a cast-aluminum firebox (the low half of the grill body, where in fact the burners and grates are mounted). Cast aluminum is rust-proof and highly durable (supplying a decade or even more of service), and it holds and reflects heat well. Even many high-end grills utilize it. In comparison, budget-priced grills will often have fireboxes manufactured from thin, painted or porcelain-coated carbon steel. Such models are notoriously rust-prone, don’t last long, and don’t hold or reflect heat efficiently.
- A cost of $400 to $700: As Salvaggio explained, and as our hands-on time confirmed, this cost range is something of a sweet spot. Because of this amount, you may get an excellent grill that meets our other criteria, without overpaying for seldom-used add-ons (such as for example rotisseries, side burners, and infrared burners), unneeded capacity, or deluxe materials. However, we also viewed budget-priced options (around $200). Again, because budget models are usually manufactured from thin steel, they don’t offer practically as much toughness and functionality as our main contenders-but on the other hand, not everyone requires a grill made to last for ten years or more.
Finally, we restricted our search to grills that burn propane from refillable tanks, the most frequent fuel by far, nevertheless, you should remember that most grills may also operate on natural gas-though converting to gas isn’t cheap or simple.
We didn’t fret much over two other factors that grill-makers spend lots of time discussing: total Btu count and the grates’ material. First, the full total Btu count (British thermal units, a way of measuring maximum heat output during the period of one hour) on three-burner grills will vary between 30,000 and 40,000, and the industry is making a solid push toward “more is way better.” But our research and reporting convinced us that at least as important as the full total output was whether those Btus were applied efficiently, steadily, and evenly over the grates. We made a decision to reserve judgment until our tests.
Second, grates can be found in a variety of materials: thin wire (usually nickel-plated or stainless, less commonly aluminum), plain cast iron, porcelain-coated cast iron (more rust-resistant), and massive, welded stainless-steel rods (as thick as a stick of chalk, or perhaps a thumb). Manufacturers push the “heavier is way better” line, but we found a whole lot of debate among professionals. A solid contingent among the pro reviewers at AmazingRibs.com, for instance, favors the cheap, thin wires because they expose more meat to the searing heat of the flames. Joe Salvaggio likes porcelainized cast iron because in his view it holds and gives heat much better than the even heavier stainless rods on his top-end wares. Porcelainized cast iron is currently predominant on grills which range from $300 to over $1,000-we noted that our eventual contenders featured it-so we didn’t have much choice open to us, anyway.
We knew we’d be looking at intangibles, too, such as for example how well the grills were packed, if the instructions were clear, and if assembly was reasonably straightforward. And, of course, we’d consider the largest intangible of most: the grills’ capability to perform inside our tests.
But those judgments would need to wait until we got our practical the contenders. So after weeks of research, reporting, and discussion, we settled on four gas grills to check inside our main $400 to $700 category, and two grills arou