My Grill (Weber Q Grill)
Welcome to Joshua's grill! I am very excited about Tammy's new site and I am honored that she asked me to do a regular contribution to her site. Now that I have all the major portions of the site deployed and functional I can move onto something much more exciting... like grilling meat!
It is fitting that my first blog starts with the foundation of all my outdoor cooking: my grill. But to begin, a little background is necessary. Being the oldest of six children I did a bit of cooking growing up, which I quite liked because I was good at it and I could 'experiment' much like one would do in chemistry class. Sure, there were some freaky accidents along the way...I have yet to forget the super-peppermint sugar cookies I made when I was about 12. I am still attempting to get rid of that horrid aftertaste! ... but overall it was a positive experience and prepared me well for manhood.
Like other males, as I began to branch out from boyhood to true manhood (grunt grunt) I had the uncontrollable urge to merge my fascination with fire with the consumption of red meat. Call it a right of passage, call it primal hungers being unleashed, or just call it a desire for a good steak! Whatever you call it I began practicing the forbidden (to women!) art of grilling.
My first grill was a small portable charcoal grill that Tammy and I bought weeks after being married. Being a man I had to demonstrate my manly skills in providing food! Thankfully she always had a backup plan when I came in with the bad news, "Uh, honey... our charbroiled burgers are now... uhmmm... charcoal burgers"! With time and patience I slowly learned the fine art of cooking a meat over a flame, and all was good.
After using this cheap-o grill and another charcoal grill (kindly donated by some friends) until they fell apart (literally) it was time to get serious. We were grilling on a regular basis and charcoal had become expensive and the preparation time was making grilling more work than pleasure. While I did not want to give up the delicious charcoal flavor I had decided the convenience of a gas grill--and the savings--would be worth a try.
Problem: Most gas grills are great at burning food and horrible at cooking it! Hot spots, cold spots, flare up and flame guards that did not work, direct heat the burned the outside and left the inside cold and mushy, and in general a very poor experience. The consensus: serious grillers need not apply.
But all hope was not lost. After months of reading up on grilling and reading various grills I had finally focused in on my future grill: The Weber Q Grill. Everywhere I turned this grill earned high marks. About.com ranked it highly and rated it as the top portable grill in its class. Likewise MSNBC recently ran a video segment concluding it was by far the best grill in its class (sorry I cannot find the link right this moment). The feedback at Amazon.com was absolutely amazing as well (the two current models here and here are just slightly different than mine).
I have used my Weber for two full years now and I can report back after nearly 4 tanks of gas and nearly 200 uses that this grill is not only the best grill I have ever used, but produces better grilled food than I have had anywhere else--including restaurants.
Yes, it is THAT good.
What makes it special? Lets cover some of the common complaints consumers have about grills:
- Hot spots & Cold spots
- Flare ups
- Too large of a dome to retain heat
- Poor balance between burner/grate temperature and ambient temperature in the dome
The Weber Q grill solves these problems in two unique ways:
- Most grills are too big for the amount of heat they produce. To compensate the burners run hot resulting in focused hot spots and spotty cold spots and the general ambient temperature, due to a cavernous lid, is inadequate to help cook the food. To remedy this Weber created a dome with a very controlled profile. The Webber Q is compact and well designed for good airflow (giving a nice smoky taste) while reducing the unnecessary volume of air to arbitrarily heat.
- The burner and grate on the Weber Q grill is ingeniously designed. Instead of multiple burners (which lead to further cold and hot spots) the Q grill has 1 burner. And instead of flimsy, ineffective flame guards Weber designed the burner as a giant loop with a corresponding thick strip of cast iron into the grill grate so the flames hit the bottom of the grate. This prevents most flare-ups and makes the cast iron grill EXTREMLY hot, leaving foods seared by the heat and not the flame. This encourages even cooking and leaves absolutely fabulous grill marks.
The food this grill churns out is incredible. But Weber, being the company they are, went the extra mile. Instead of leaving me empty handed trying to figure out what temperature and time to cook food to, they provide a handy booklet with a dozen or so recipes and cooking instructions and in the back dozens upon dozens of meats, cuts, and cooking times / settings for the desired doneness. And they are ALL spot-on for the grill.
The Weber Q is also crafted with impeccable construction. After two years of frequent (and I mean frequent) grilling the grill is still in great shape. I had originally thought it would last 2 or so years and I would move on from there. Now I am looking more at 5 years! Considering the use I get out of it the price was a steal (~$180 when I bought it).
One of the nice features of this grill is that it is portable. I did not buy it for a portable grill mind you, but it is very easy to transport. And while it is classified as a "portable" grill don't let that fool you. It has a very large great--280 square inches--and I have cooked for 12 people at one time with the grill. 12 is pushing it, but you can do 8-10 people easy. If you do more of an ala carte you can do even more.
I have tweaked my grill slightly. The only consistent complaint I read about this grill was the small propane tanks did not provide even cooking due to pressure variations. The users I talked to said buy an adapter ($20) and hook up a traditional 20lb propane tank. Not only has this saved me money and convenience, it really works great. The only small note is you have to remember to turn off the pressure and bleed the line before you turn off the grill.
Overall I have no complaints about the food that comes off my Weber Q Grill. The food comes of sizzling hot and tasty with excellent grill marks. The combination of the searing hot grate and the super heated ambient air create perfectly crafted foods to your desired doneness. It is convenient, easy to use, large and portable.
My next grill won't only be a Weber, it will be another Q Grill. And at the price (under $200) I will be getting an absolute bargain.
Some examples of grilled food:
Edited to add: It has now been more than 2 years since this review was written. We still have the same Weber grill and we're still completely in love with it!! We use it weekly (if not daily!) in the summer, and even occasionally in the winter (it's in our garage, so we just open the garage doors).
This grill just works fabulously. Even I (Tammy) can grill with it -- it turns out beautiful food without much effort -- notice the lovely grill marks in the photos above: this is what this grill does every time. Even hot dogs taste great made on our Weber Q grill.