Gas Grill Summary

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Ken Greenebaum

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May 29, 1992, 7:21:54 PM5/29/92
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Hello All,

As promised, this is the summary of responces to my posting asking
for gas grill recomendations.


BTW I wound up getting a mid-range charbroil at the Home Despot.
I am not pleased w/the quality of construction, but better built
grills were MUCH more expensive.


Thanks to all who responded!


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I balked at getting a gas grill for the longest time. But they are
nice. I tend to BBQ 1-2 times a week, and find that I spend much
less on gas than I did on charcoal. It's also nice to be able
to have some control over the heat (once a grease fire starts you
are out of luck).

I have a big grill that allows me to cook for the family with only
turning one side on. The other side gets used when we have company.
I also have a model that allows you to prevent flair-ups by closing
off the grill surface. It works, but it is also dirty, I get much
more black gunk (for lack of a better name) on the food than I did
with a Weber Kettle.


Also, I foolishly thought that the timer would actually cut off
the gas when it timed out. Foolish me - it was a simple kitchen
type timer. It's too bad that it didn't work as I wanted since
you should let the grill burn 10-15 minutes on high to burn off
an grease/what have you when you are finished.

Comparing the large grill that I have with the portable gas grill
that I use camping, I think the small one does just as well, and
with a normal grill surface puts less gunk on the food. I'd choose
a grill simply on the basis of cooking surface size. If you have
many large parties, go for the big one, otherwise save some money
and get the smaller size. One other think you may wish to look
for are porcelain (sp?) covering on the grill.

Marc
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A friend of ours got a gas one coulpe years back. It's great to use.
Flip a valve open, and it's on. No charcoal (and ash) to deal with.

Couple of minor problems. The gas line that came with it was awfully
short, like 4 feet. This is supposedly a safety feature so you don't
have a tremendously long line that can get nicked, cut, etc. It
accomplishes that by forcing you to position the grill right next to
the gas outlet. Not too good if you gas outlet is right next to the
house like most are. Unless you want the side of your house to turn
dark and grey, and want smoke to go in through windows.

Healthier? I guess charcoal is deemed unhealthy nowadays. I question
the "charcoal flavor" or pseudo mesquite chips that are recommended
by the grill makers. Are they really healthier?

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my father-in-law says he wishes he had a portable with a tank instead
of a fixed one so he could put it where he wants it and store it out
of the elements....
ed

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|> We have been using charcoal for years, but they insist this is better,
|> healthier, and easier...

I don't really know about better or healthier, but gas grills do
heat up much faster and don't leave any ashes to dispose of.

|> Could anyone suggest features/brands they recommend.

I've had a Sunbeam for almost 4 years. I've been quite satisfied.

I suggest getting one with a good warranty, various parts tend to
wear our/burn through. Mine had a two year warranty on the burner
element. We used it a fair amount, and the burner rusted through.
I took the rusted burner to an "authorized something-or-other"
and they gave me a new one. Service like that is probably easier
on a major brand.

There are usually at least two grills, one just above the burner
for the lava rocks, and one higher for the food, sometimes one
higher that moves with the lid. The main food grill should be
ceramic, otherwise you can get rust in your food (yuck).

|> Alternately things to avoid would be interesting as well.

When they say "some assembly required" they aren't joking.
Expect it to take several hours. There's an "easy assembly"
one out now, but I've heard it's even more expensive.

If you get one with a glass window, be sure to not attach the
window too tightly (the instructions will probably stress this).
When the glass gets hot it needs a little room to expand. I've
had friends who had the glass shatter all over the food, but I've
never had that problem.

|> Some of these grills seem prohibitively expensive. We would like to go
|> w/an economical model.

There's a large range of sizes, bigger ones cost more but may not be
any better, just bigger.

Jim

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I got a Char-Broil. I think it was model 9100. The electronic
ignition on it is kind of flakey. It was put together by K-Mart
employees, and I know that they goofed in routing the ignition
to the side burner, but I fixed that. I
am not sure what happened to the main ignitor. Sometimes it works,
some times it doesn't. After a year, I've noticed that the bottom
grate is rusting, and has large flake of metal coming off, but the
cooking surface is in good shape. If I'd take it in and clean it,
like my wife tells me to, the gunk would be no problem, but I
have this old fashioned idea that it adds to the flavor.

Like I said before, the main concern should be the size of the
cooking surface. You may also want to get a brand that is available
at several stores to ensure repair parts are available, but it
looks like grill parts are pretty interchangable.

Marc

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Yup, gas grills are great! As a single daddy, I wanted to cook SOME edible
meals for the kiddies. Here's what I've found after a few years of exper.
w/mine and others.

Wants: Medium sized grill area. Go look at current models. The big ones suck
too much gas unless you are throwing large parties. The small ones
are bad when you DO have > 4 burgers.

Get one that the potato/bun warmer rises up on when you raise the lid.
Easier than fishing out a broken burger from under potato.

Porcelain (sp?) or preferably stainless steel cooking grill. Lasts
longer, much easier to clean.

Don't bother with the side burners if you are not gonna use 'em a lot.
Just more junk to clean, spiders love to live in them, too.

The ones with two side wings and a front wing are the safest. Not
as easy to bump, plus room for "stuff".

If you actually have a choice between window/no window, all other
wanted features being equal, go with no window. They just get gunked
up and useless anyway. More heat loss, too.

Stuff ya GOTTA get the same day the new toy arrives:
Another 5lb (gal) tank. It is great when the gas runs out just as
you get 1/2 through the party for 20 people. Just swap tanks and
keep going. No rush to go get it filled, no Uwaving, no broiling,
no frying. We go through about 3-4 tankfuls a year which is a lot.
Especially since we never have any parties, but we cook alot of stuff
out there.

A good water proof cover. Keeps the rain from rusting it, keeps the
sun from killing it. Could double the life of the grill. Oh yeah,
it "looks" better too.

New, to be used only on the grill, teflon spatula, short tongs,
long fork. Get regular kitchen stuff. The long handle stuff is
usually junk and way overpriced. Trying to use your new toy with
old kitchen utinsels is like reusing oil filters on your new car.

A large spray bottle for flare-ups. Mine usually go to 4 alarmers
so I use MR. bottle.

A nice soft brass wire brush for quick cleaning that nice porcelein
grill quickly right after your 10 minute warm up.

Unless you're real organized, a new, cheap wrench to fit the tank
and gas fittings. After a little practise, you will be able to swap
tanks fast enough that the meat never stops sizzlin'.

Optional:
Gauges--I don't bother with them, the extra tank is there, remember?
There is one type of level gage that might be nice, though. Besides
having a relative level of fuel dial, it also has a fast flow shut-
off valve built into it in case your regulator or hose croaks. About
$25-$35 !

I guess you can tell I like my grill. It is one of the VERY FEW house
things I've ever bought that I felt was money well spent. The other
thing was an attic fan. I prefer the lava rocks in mine, some people
like the little human made briquettes. When my grill gets its yearly
scrub down and paint touch up (told ya to get a cover), I just throw
out the old rocks and put in new guys. Oh yeah, always put enough
rocks (briquettes) to completely cover the lower burner grill. You
shouldn't see any flames pokin' through the rocks. Learned that
from old Weber manual. They were right. My toy is an el-cheapo
$120 Sunbeam about 5-6 years old. All that I've said has been learned
the hard way. Use it if ya want. I even bought a small portable gas
grill that I use on campouts after using the big grill for awhile.

WARNING: ONCE YOU MASTER THE GAS GUYS, YOU WILL NEVER GO BACK TO THE CHARCOAL-
MESS-EXPENSIVE-DIESEL TASTING THINGS AGAIN.

No, I don't work for a gas/power/fuel company. Yes, this got too long, I
think I broke a finger.

Does this help?
Any questions?

Bill


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I went almost botom of the line, not because I was too cheap, but because
what I *wanted* was only on that model.

First: you really want a glass window.
Second: I really wanted the handle for opening the lid to be on the SIDE,
not across the front. I used a friend's with the handle across the front
and kept singing my fingers when I opened the top.

This led me to the second from the bottom model from Home Depot. It gets
plenty hot enough (although many will put out far more BTU/hr, I cannot
imagine what to do with more heat). It assembled OK, although I had to
go back and get another sparker. It is not too big, but I have used it
for a party where I grilled salmon for 24, and it went just fine.

David


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I have had a Charmglow for a couple of years now. It's an ok performer,
but has not weathered well - in other words it looks like crap now. The
black paint has weathered badly, and several parts are rusted. By contrast,
the Weber kettle it replaced has sat outside in exactly the same weather

conditions, and still looks as good as new. If I was to do it all over again,
I'd spend the extra bucks on a Weber gas grill.

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they are indeed expensive, but you undoubtedly get what you pay for!
For instance, my Charmglow cost about $250 out of the door, and as
I mentioned, now looks like it's been sitting in my back yard for
10 years with the fire burning on the outside of it. I would consider
the extra $100 for a Weber Genesis 1 (typical price at local Home Depot
type place) money well spent.

Hope you get something you're happy with - I much prefer cooking on
the gas grill to using charcoal.

Cheers,
David


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