I need to replace my gas grill.
July 30, 2005 5:41 PM   Subscribe

What brand/model gas grill would you recommend?

My gas grill (the first one I've ever owned) just became unusable. The tank-valve connection burst into flames and everything melted. Now I'm looking to get a new one but I want to make sure I buy a good one at a reasonable price. I'd like to spend $300 or less. Any advice on brands/models (or even just what to look) for would be appreciated.
posted by oddman to Food & Drink (15 answers total)
Does it have to be purely gas? Not to start a flame war, but IMHO stuff grilled on charcoal tastes soo much better -- and this gas-started model from Weber is nearly as convenient. The two I've given as gifts are loved as much as I do mine.

FWIW, I can't speak to Weber's standard gas models, but this one is very well built.
posted by SpookyFish at 6:02 PM on July 30, 2005

I have a standard Weber gas model, love it -- best grill I've ever had. In fact, best grill I've ever assembled -- they did a great job on the ease of assembly thing.

But yeah, charcoal would be better, flavor-wise.

Wonder if anybody makes a switch-hitter?
posted by banjomensch at 6:15 PM on July 30, 2005

I've been reading up on grills and BBQ a whole lot of late and one thing that I've seen pop up on various forums and the like is that it is not the end of the world to go for gas or even *gasp* electric, grills. So pick out what you want to use, not what the Internet wants you to use. It is OK to prefer gas over coal!

That said, a simple Fiesta is pretty decent for its price. If you have 300 bucks to spend and only spend 1/3 to 1/2 (the cost of a Fiesta), use the savings towards awesome meats to grill. Or a smoker (I've just been converted to the Cult of The Smoker). My Brinkmann can be a coal smoker, an electric smoker, and a grill, which is awesome (but not gas as you asked).

More expensive grills are only worthwhile if you grill once a week for months out of the year. Otherwise, look to a simple, affordable, reliable grill. Fiesta can get you there, the Weber Q is a fancier, trendier (and much more portable) offering. Beyond that you descend into a world of side heater units and madness. Check out your local Target or hardware store and see what they have. Make a note of what features you'd like (multi- burners/racks, side heater, etc) and, if'n you can wait a few months, get it on an end of season markdown. You can grab a simple tabletop grill for 25 bucks (grill + gas) to last you, but waiting will help your money go father.
posted by robocop is bleeding at 6:29 PM on July 30, 2005

I've owned a fair amount of gas grills over the last 25 years or so, but I've never owned another one as reliable or as well built as the Weber Genesis I've had for the last ten years.

It comes in several sized models -- the smallest can usually be bought for around $300 with a bit of careful shopping; just be sure it's big enough, because you'll probably end up having it a very long time.

What I like about it -- it's built like a tank, any parts that will tend to fail from use or neglect (the grills, the "flavor" bars and over a long enough course of time, the burner) are easily replaced. After ten years of nearly year-round use I'm still on my first burner, first set of cast-iron grills (although it's about time to replace them) and my second set of "flavor" bars. I also replaced the thermometer in the hood this year.

Outside of durability, it's other outstanding characteristic (to me, anyway) is that with a modicum of maintenance and decent grilling technique, it cooks more evenly and flares less than any other grill I've used.

If anything ever happened to this one (and it's hard to imagine what), I wouldn't hesitate to get another... It's a little more expensive at the outset than some of the other brands you commonly see (Charbroil for instance), but over the long haul, its been by far the best bargain I've ever gotten in a grill.
posted by nonliteral at 7:34 PM on July 30, 2005

They're more expensive initially as nonliteral pointed out, but the build quality makes up for it.
Cheap grills tend to have cheap burners and after you've replaced a few of them at $35 a pop, the price premium for a Weber seems a little more reasonable.

That said, I've got a Grillmaster(by Sunbeam) that's done me pretty well over the years.

Two things to look out for are a removable drip pan(rather than "Here's a hook, put an empty can underneath) and a well-built electric ignitor.
posted by madajb at 8:32 PM on July 30, 2005

Response by poster: To speak to the coal/gas debate for a moment: I prefer gas for it's simplicity and ease of use. Neither do I notice a particular flavor difference/advantage with coal over gas.

Several of you have mentioned Weber, so I'll definitely take a look at those. One question though, are all of the Weber models of a high quality? I don't want to buy a "Weber" at Target to find out it is significantly worse than the models that Weber built its reputation around.

One more thing, I live in Florida so I pretty much grill all year (2-4 times a month).
posted by oddman at 9:31 PM on July 30, 2005

Weber is Weber, wherever you buy them.
Summits are more expensive, Genesis is cheaper.
posted by madajb at 9:57 PM on July 30, 2005

Oddman, Weber builds some cheaper / smaller gas grills -- someone mentioned their portable one above, in fact.

My experience has been with the Genesis series -- I really can't speak much to the others (although I've got nice things to say about their "Smokey Mountain" smoker) -- I do know I've seen people bitch a bit in reviews about quality on some of their recent lower priced charcoal models, so it might be worth checking around (Amazon reviews are a good starting point) if you're not sure about a given model.

I do know that the Genesis comes in a couple of price-points / versions (it used to be "silver" and "gold"; I'm not sure about now), which usually relate to add ons like prep trays, side burners, etc. I've got the "Silver" version of the medium sized one, which came with a side burner that I think I've used once, and wouldn't pay extra for if I had to buy another.

They also are now making a "step up" version of the Genesis in Stainless Steel, but I'm pleased enough with the durability of the aluminum version that I don't know if I'd want to chance the stainless, even though the look appeals to me.
posted by nonliteral at 10:04 PM on July 30, 2005

I'm also not trying to start a flame war, but have you considered that a gas grill might be a bit redundant if you have a gas broiler already in your kitchen? Really, I'm not trying to start a fight, but most people forget that their broiler is basically an upside down grill.

I'm a bit of a culinary dork and charcoal commando, so of course I am biased. I just wanted to make sure you thought about that before making a big barbecue investment.

Concession: I have had many delicious meals off of gas grills and harbor no ill will.
posted by bryak at 12:45 AM on July 31, 2005

I'm on year six of my Kenmore gas and it is pretty functional. A little rust that makes me wish I hadn't bought the really cheap grill cover that self-destructed. The internals are about ready to be replaced.

Other than that, here are the features I chose:
* gas (gets going faster, allows me to cook outside if inside would be too hot without advanced planning)
* outboard burner (lets me boil water for pasta/corn/brewing in the summer without heating up the house)
* temperature gauge

My biggest complaint? It's too hot. I've never had a need to run it on anything but low.
posted by plinth at 4:31 AM on July 31, 2005

Another vote for a Weber. I cook almost every day, and I've never had a better grill. I made the mistake of selling my last one and getting a generic grill. Never again. I desperately want my Weber back.
posted by bh at 10:22 AM on July 31, 2005

I have a Weber Genesis Silver A that I'm quite happy with. The Genesis Silver is Weber's least expensive line of full-size gas grills, but I think they are still over your stated price range (closer to $400 for the A). However, you may be able to find some good deals at this time of year.

I've never found much use for outboard side burners, so I'd recommend either the Silver A or Silver B, depending on how big of a grilling surface you think you want.

And get a cover to protect it from the elements when not in use.

But, if you decide to go with another brand, make sure you get something with a temperature gauge (makes life much easier) and more than one burner (so that you can do indirect cooking or have different heat zones). And be sure to buy a propane model, and not a natural gas one by mistake (unless you have a natural gas hookup ready to go).
posted by sad_otter at 11:53 AM on July 31, 2005

If you are going gas rather than charcoal, you might want to consider natural gas. It has much less of that smelly chemical that is used to detect leaks than propane does. I can sometimes smell that chemical on the food when done in a propane grill. Getting a natural gas hook-up isn't that expensive if you already have natural gas service. It also means you won't have to fill a propane tank (but it could be more expensive if you happen to leave the grill on for a few days - oops).
posted by caddis at 1:19 PM on July 31, 2005

Response by poster: Well, my dad took the decision out of my hands. He bought me a rather pricy (by my standards) Char-broil from Lowes.

It has three internal burners (40k btu) and one external burner (10k btu). It is all stainless steel and is labelled as commercial grade. In all honesty it looks really nice. It has a temperature gauge, electric starter and drip pan, pretty much everything you need.

Any opinions on Char-broil?
posted by oddman at 12:17 PM on August 1, 2005

I think you will like it.
posted by caddis at 8:10 PM on August 1, 2005

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