Weber Grills: Reviews and recommendations
Do you still like your Weber grill and if so which one do you recommend?
The answer to this question is pretty simple. No, I don't like my Weber grill... I LOVE my Weber grill! The thing is 5 years old and still works exceptionally well. For about $200 it has proven to be an exceptional investment. (Maybe too good because it hasn't allowed me to upgrade to a newer model.)
From my previous posts about the grill you can see a lot of the perks. The single element allows for simple grilling that eliminates hot and cold spots. The low profile dome and cooking guide turn out consistent dishes cooked to desired doneness. The cast iron grate sears the meat nicely with restaurant style grill marks. Flare ups are rare and yet the way juices are run down the grate and come in contact with the flame creates a nice smokey effect which, in conjunction with the grill dome ventings gives the food nice smokey flavor uncharacteristic of most gas grills in my experience.
In short, the Weber Q grill is a durable product that has constantly turned out reliable and tasty results for our family. We have enjoyed it for cooking for two and we have fed 10 adults steak dinners and it has performed admirably in each scenario!
The Weber Q grill is one of the better purchases I have made and I am glad I did my research before I bought a gas grill! The best part is we use it a lot. For example, it was well over 90 degrees here today so we grilled pizza and asparagus.
I always fret when people ask me to grill on their grills expecting the same results that they have experienced at our house. While every grill is different, most gas grills have horrible hot/cold spots, have too much volume to retain heat to "bake" the food (hence you get burned outside and raw insides), flare up, have far too many knobs to get a good feel, etc.
Unfortunately you can spend $400, $500, or more on a grill and get a pretty poor product. Yes, it may be stainless steel and chrome and have 4 knobs, two side burners, a mini-fridge, bread rack and fancy smoke tray... but does it turn out consistently good grilled meats and veggies? Is it durable? Does it cook well for 2 people or for 10?
Another neat aspect of the Weber Q grill is that for such a large grilling surface it is small. It doesn't take up much room and better yet -- it is portable. We have taken our grill to parks and to the homes of our friends and family -- all with our little car. If I thought about it longer I am sure I could come up with some other things I like about the grill, but in short I really like the grill! The best thing I can say about any product is this:
Not only would I repeat the purchase if given a second chance, but when this current grill dies I am going to promptly purchase another one if possible.
Reflecting on the grill, I will point out some of the negatives.
One thing is that last year the ignitor went out. I could probably fix it but I find using a match just as easy so I haven't bothered with it (it worked for 4 years, so I won't complain too much).
For beginners a thermometer would a big perk, especially since the grill heats up slower in 20 degree snowy conditions than in sweltering 90 degree heat waves.
The lack of a warming rack or "cooler" section of the grill can make some styles of preparation more difficult and requires practice. I love the cast iron, but don't like how it sticks at times. The "flame ring" part of the grate molding can be difficult to get really clean and is tough on brush bristles and pumice stones.
Like any grill cleaning out all the drippings and char can be a chore--not as bad as charcoal, but still some greasy work.
The flame element holes sometimes plug over with residue. You can buy a new one but I just use 1/32" drill bits to clean them out. Although Weber does sell a replacement, unlike the poor-quality flame elements/guards on most grills it isn't necessary if you take the time to clean out the holes.
I would also say a tank adapter (which allows us to hook up a larger propane tank to the grill) is a necessity due to the smaller tanks not providing as consistent cooking temperatures--not to mention they empty fast and your tank going dead in the middle of grilling a meal is not fun!
The good news is that Weber has addressed a lot of these issues with their new versions. They have all sorts of models now (some bigger, some smaller). Many of the models come with porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grates so this should make cleaning even easier. Most now include a thermometer.
Weber 386002 Q-100 Portable Gas Grill (Tammy's brother Richard recently received this model as a gift. This model is smaller than ours; read the reviews at Amazon.com for more info on it!)
Weber 396002 Q 200 Gas Grill (This current model is closest to the one we have. While this grill may look small for larger families, we have found that it will grill plenty of food for larger groups. We've grilled chicken breasts and 5 pounds of chicken seems to be the max; for burgers, you can easily grill 12-15 quarter-pound burgers or 10-12 third-pound burgers at one time.)
Weber 566002 Q 220 Gas Grill (For an additional $20, this model is comparable to our with a few extra features.)
Weber 586002 Q 320 Portable Outdoor Gas Grill (I find the Q320 interesting because it has 2 burners, which may sound neat but could make cooking a little more complicated. It is bigger as well so opening the lid too often could be extra detrimental. On the other hand, the extra size means you can cook for more people and it has a warming rack.)
Here is a complete list of Weber Q grills and accessories on Amazon.com. (A small note: Tammy is an Amazon affiliate so clicking a link to Amazon.com from Tammy's website or using the Amazon search on the sidebar is a nice way to support her website.)
We also love the little recipe booklet that came with our grill! Along with the recipes, it includes a chart with detailed temperature settings and times for various thicknesses and sizes of various foods... very handy, and has worked well (accurately).
From everything I know Weber is a quality company with a long, storied history that stands behind their products. The fact they back their products with a 5 year warranty is encouraging--especially at the price. I know a lot of people who paid twice as much for a gas grill and got an inferior product.
If you are in the market for a gas grill and your needs fall within criteria suitable for a Weber Q model I would encourage you to give the Weber Q grill a look. My experience with the grill has been very, very positive and I think it would make an excellent gift for a Father's Day gift for dads who enjoy grilling.