LTH Home

Charcoal and Solid Fuel Cookers - Weber and the rest

Charcoal and Solid Fuel Cookers - Weber and the rest
  • Forum HomePost Reply BackTop
  • Charcoal and Solid Fuel Cookers - Weber and the rest

    Post #1 - September 1st, 2019, 1:47 pm
    Post #1 - September 1st, 2019, 1:47 pm Post #1 - September 1st, 2019, 1:47 pm
    There are so many threads here about gas grills and honestly, they're of zero interest to me and many others. If I wanted to cook on gas, I'd cook inside.

    When it comes to charcoal grills, the CW is that it pretty much comes down to Weber Kettles, then Weber Kettles, followed by Weber Kettles, and then after that, the rest of the field. And that's the main reason (I suppose) why there isn't a whole lot written about them. It's very cool that a locally made product has endured as the gold standard and remained fundamentally unchanged for decades. Yes, there have been tweaks, cabinet and size options added (and taken away), and other peripheral variations but the 22" round kettle itself just chugs along.

    Of course, when it comes to solid fuel outdoor cooking, we have our own resident expert, G Wiv, who has authored (published) volumes on the subject and has been preaching the gospel since well before LTH even existed. And there are many others here who also have a wealth of experience in this area. For many of us devotees, the Weber is so durable and consistently reliable that when it comes to alternatives, or what's even new in the marketplace, we're somewhat in the dark.

    Other than making a trip to a quality grill store, useful information on the current market can be hard to come by. Up and down the internet one can find all sorts of information from so-called experts who seem to know very little about the fundamentals of (outdoor) cooking. They have a lot of equipment, cool ball caps, all sorts of branded gear, and surprisingly little working knowledge on the subject at hand. It's a shame.

    That said, I have managed to find one source of information that I think is very solid. His name is Dave Hunt and he has at least one video on a youtube channel called Hectors Smoke House, which I think is definitely worth a watch . . .


    Which is the best BBQ Grill or Smoker to Choose and Buy - Charcoal, Briquettes, Wood, Barbecues

    It's not perfect and I don't agree with everything he says but it's pretty clear that he has a lot of experience and that he knows what's out there. I thought this video conveyed a lot of useful information without being dated, overly biased or too misinformed.

    I'm sure there are other reliable sources out there and if you know of any, it would be great if you could share them here. And even better would be sharing your personal experience. For those of us cooking on Weber kettles, the need to know what else is out there probably doesn't come up very often but when it does, we can't always rely on having Gary available to answer our questions. Hopefully, this thread can be a clearing house for this type of information.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #2 - September 1st, 2019, 10:17 pm
    Post #2 - September 1st, 2019, 10:17 pm Post #2 - September 1st, 2019, 10:17 pm
    I've been using a Hasty-Bake for the past five years. It's a variation of an Argentine grill but rather than raising/lowering the grill surface it raises/lowers the charcoal box:

    https://www.hastybake.com/collections/c ... coal-grill

    Great capacity for grilling and smoking.
  • Post #3 - September 12th, 2019, 3:46 pm
    Post #3 - September 12th, 2019, 3:46 pm Post #3 - September 12th, 2019, 3:46 pm
    Maybe there will be some grill gurus at the LTH picnic. The reason I ask is that when I bought the two flat in Berwyn the man I bought if from (now passed) pointed out a grill in the back yard he brought back from Japan or somewhere in the far East. Seems he was stationed there and became enamored of that kind of charcoal cooking. Its hugely heavy and I don't know if its made from pottery or metal. We have not done anything with it because we put a Weber there. I'll try to take a picture of it. I wonder if its worth trying to fire up.
    Toria

    "I like this place and willingly could waste my time in it" - As You Like It,
    W. Shakespeare
  • Post #4 - September 12th, 2019, 3:55 pm
    Post #4 - September 12th, 2019, 3:55 pm Post #4 - September 12th, 2019, 3:55 pm
    toria wrote:Maybe there will be some grill gurus at the LTH picnic. The reason I ask is that when I bought the two flat in Berwyn the man I bought if from (now passed) pointed out a grill in the back yard he brought back from Japan or somewhere in the far East. Seems he was stationed there and became enamored of that kind of charcoal cooking. Its hugely heavy and I don't know if its made from pottery or metal. We have not done anything with it because we put a Weber there. I'll try to take a picture of it. I wonder if its worth trying to fire up.

    Really curious about this. I do hope you can take a pic. I'd love to see it. In fact, if you can post it here, that would be great. If not, you can email or text it to me and I'll post it here.

    Thanks!

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #5 - September 13th, 2019, 7:27 am
    Post #5 - September 13th, 2019, 7:27 am Post #5 - September 13th, 2019, 7:27 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:
    toria wrote:Maybe there will be some grill gurus at the LTH picnic. The reason I ask is that when I bought the two flat in Berwyn the man I bought if from (now passed) pointed out a grill in the back yard he brought back from Japan or somewhere in the far East. Seems he was stationed there and became enamored of that kind of charcoal cooking. Its hugely heavy and I don't know if its made from pottery or metal. We have not done anything with it because we put a Weber there. I'll try to take a picture of it. I wonder if its worth trying to fire up.

    Really curious about this. I do hope you can take a pic. I'd love to see it. In fact, if you can post it here, that would be great. If not, you can email or text it to me and I'll post it here.

    Thanks!

    =R=


    A ceramic Komodo grill? The Green Egg is a brand of a Komodo grill.
  • Post #6 - September 13th, 2019, 7:56 am
    Post #6 - September 13th, 2019, 7:56 am Post #6 - September 13th, 2019, 7:56 am
    Meathead Goldwyn is local and runs a great website full of information. They have reviews and ratings on all types of grills and equipment, as well as tested recipes and techniques.

    https://amazingribs.com/

    Lots of great stuff here.
  • Post #7 - September 13th, 2019, 8:03 am
    Post #7 - September 13th, 2019, 8:03 am Post #7 - September 13th, 2019, 8:03 am
    spinynorman99 wrote:I've been using a Hasty-Bake for the past five years. It's a variation of an Argentine grill but rather than raising/lowering the grill surface it raises/lowers the charcoal box:

    Hasty-Bake , nice piece of equipment! I had two knock-offs of the Hasty-Bake a company gave me a while ago for compensated input. A little rickety, airflow dynamics were not wonderful but I enjoyed using them, surprisingly versatile. I sold both for my usual fee, a 6-pack of diet coke, and the new owners were pleased.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #8 - September 13th, 2019, 8:31 am
    Post #8 - September 13th, 2019, 8:31 am Post #8 - September 13th, 2019, 8:31 am
    toria wrote:Maybe there will be some grill gurus at the LTH picnic. The reason I ask is that when I bought the two flat in Berwyn the man I bought if from (now passed) pointed out a grill in the back yard he brought back from Japan or somewhere in the far East. Seems he was stationed there and became enamored of that kind of charcoal cooking. Its hugely heavy and I don't know if its made from pottery or metal. We have not done anything with it because we put a Weber there. I'll try to take a picture of it. I wonder if its worth trying to fire up.


    Hi Toria -
    Is it shaped like an egg standing up, an oval, sitting atop a kind of pedestal?
    I'm curious too.
    I'm local if you need any help with whatever. The quick description of "Japanese," "heavy," and "pottery or metal" kinda makes me think it's a Kamodo style egg smoker.
    I have one in my backyard. Love it.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #9 - September 13th, 2019, 8:33 am
    Post #9 - September 13th, 2019, 8:33 am Post #9 - September 13th, 2019, 8:33 am
    Duplicate post deleted
    Last edited by seebee on September 13th, 2019, 5:57 pm, edited 1 time in total.
    We cannot be friends if you do not know the difference between Mayo and Miracle Whip.
  • Post #10 - September 13th, 2019, 1:12 pm
    Post #10 - September 13th, 2019, 1:12 pm Post #10 - September 13th, 2019, 1:12 pm
    So, I have a Weber smoker and it of course does a fine job smoking BBQ, but when I light it up, 8 times out of 10 it's for grilling, not low and slow. You can grill on the bottom third by placing a grate directly on the inside curve of the bowl. This gives you a very large grill area, perfect for two-zone fires as well as three vents for fine air flow control. Here it is with beef and pork Korean BBQ:
    Image

    Another trick is to use the chimney starter as a mini firebox for cold smoking. It's difficult to get the WSM low enough for true cold smoking temps, but lighting 1-2 coals in the chimney and then placing the chimney on the bottom far away from the food will get you to a comfortable 90F. hat's how I did a recent batch of beef jerky:
    Image
    Image
  • Post #11 - September 14th, 2019, 2:24 am
    Post #11 - September 14th, 2019, 2:24 am Post #11 - September 14th, 2019, 2:24 am
    eating while walking wrote:Another trick is to use the chimney starter as a mini firebox for cold smoking.
    I've used the chimney starter as grill countless times, configured the WSM every which way but Sunday from ice in the waterpan for cold smoking to making paella over a fire on the lower grate but this is a new one on me.

    This old dog learned a new trick.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #12 - January 9th, 2020, 12:56 am
    Post #12 - January 9th, 2020, 12:56 am Post #12 - January 9th, 2020, 12:56 am
    The Komodo Kamado Big Bad 32" is basically a yacht, relative to the dinghies and motor boats that are most home cookers. Of course, weighing in at over 900 pounds, you'd better have a good place for it, and you'd better not plan on moving it often, or ever.

    Dave at the Hector's Smoke House youtube channel has a pretty comprehensive primer video about the unit . . .


    Komodo Kamado Big Bad 32 - Review | Best BBQ In The World??

    They appear to start at a whopping $5,900.00, fob California, and that's without many of the accessories that one would probably want. When I looked up the price, I noticed that KK also makes a 42" unit -- the 42" Serious Big Bad -- that weighs just under 1,700 pounds and is priced at ~$9,500.00, fob CA. Very cool in many ways but absolute insanity in many more. Both models are so expensive, if I owned one, I'd be scared to use it. Still, when you're talking about the very top end of solid fuel cookers, the KKs are absolutely in the discussion.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #13 - January 9th, 2020, 10:00 am
    Post #13 - January 9th, 2020, 10:00 am Post #13 - January 9th, 2020, 10:00 am
    I would want to check the delivery from California to Illinois.

    You may have someone who drop it off at the curb, but won't roll it to where you want it.

    Just so many expenses on top of expenses.

    Regards,
    Cathy2
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
    Facebook, Twitter, Greater Midwest Foodways, Road Food 2012: Podcast
  • Post #14 - January 11th, 2020, 3:35 pm
    Post #14 - January 11th, 2020, 3:35 pm Post #14 - January 11th, 2020, 3:35 pm
    For cold smoking I've developed a really effective but also really PITA system. I've got a Texas two barrel smoker. In the fire box I lay out a 'fuse train' of briquettes back to back, with a 3" log of apple on the top of the train. Then I light one end of the train and let the briquettes 'chain smoke' from one end to another. Works well, but takes a very very dedicated amount of supervision to keep things either 1) lit; or 2) not flaming.

    Then I discovered the pellet tube smoker. I love it. Light it and forget it for 4 hours. Temp never goes above 90°F and I don't have to supervise at all.

    I suspect that there are some--perhaps many--purist objections to this scheme. I don't care, I'll worship this new idol happily!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #15 - January 11th, 2020, 4:18 pm
    Post #15 - January 11th, 2020, 4:18 pm Post #15 - January 11th, 2020, 4:18 pm
    I have been saving up for a pellet grill/smoker (more for grilling than for smoking), but I hadn't ever heard before of a pellet tube smoker, so I had to look it up. Interesting! Learned something new today. Thanks, Geo!
    "Your swimming suit matches your eyes, you hold your nose before diving, loving you has made me bananas!"
  • Post #16 - January 11th, 2020, 4:21 pm
    Post #16 - January 11th, 2020, 4:21 pm Post #16 - January 11th, 2020, 4:21 pm
    Sure, Katie! I love mine, it's changed my cold smoking life. Salmon, whoo-hoo!

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #17 - January 11th, 2020, 5:42 pm
    Post #17 - January 11th, 2020, 5:42 pm Post #17 - January 11th, 2020, 5:42 pm
    Geo wrote:I'll worship this new idol happily!


    PenguinGod1.jpg May your supply of Barefoot Sweet Red Blend never run dry.
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #18 - January 12th, 2020, 9:46 am
    Post #18 - January 12th, 2020, 9:46 am Post #18 - January 12th, 2020, 9:46 am
    Don't laugh Gary, but my friends in the wine biz tell me that Sweet Red Wine is now most certainly A Thing. Quelle horreur, but there you have it.

    Of course Red Mountain Burgundy got me through college–I'm so old that it was 99¢/gallon at our Safeway in Santa Clara! : )

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #19 - January 12th, 2020, 9:59 am
    Post #19 - January 12th, 2020, 9:59 am Post #19 - January 12th, 2020, 9:59 am
    Geo wrote:Don't laugh Gary, but my friends in the wine biz tell me that Sweet Red Wine is now most certainly A Thing.

    And McD sells a million burgers a minute.

    CryingCow1.jpg .
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #20 - January 12th, 2020, 10:19 am
    Post #20 - January 12th, 2020, 10:19 am Post #20 - January 12th, 2020, 10:19 am
    Maybe MickeyD needs to start selling Sweet Red Wine with their burgers, Gary!

    From an industry blog:

    "Is it possible that sweet red wine sales totaled one-third of all the chardonnay sold in the U.S. over the past year? And did slightly better against cabernet sauvignon? Or that sweet red wine outsold syrah, zinfandel, and malbec over that time period, and almost overtook merlot?

    Hard to believe, but apparently true. A leading wine industry analyst, working with proprietary data, has estimated sweet red wine sales in the 52 weeks ending April 25 were about $534 million. That means, besides outselling syrah, zinfandel, and malbec, sweet red also did better than moscato — the current next big thing — and missed sauvignon blanc by just a couple of percentage points."

    https://www.winecurmudgeon.com/has-sweet-red-wine-taken-over-the-u-s-wine-market/

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #21 - August 6th, 2020, 11:12 pm
    Post #21 - August 6th, 2020, 11:12 pm Post #21 - August 6th, 2020, 11:12 pm
    I love my Webers, the oldest of which I've had 25+ years. I own several and rarely cook outdoors on anything else. But my recent experience with a couple of CSR's there left a lot to be desired and seemed to indicate a major drop off in quality of service, which has always been top-notch over the years. I used to call and a live person, often Cindy, would pick up the phone and life was good.

    It's extremely annoying that for whatever reason, one cannot order a replacement lid on their website (even though dozens of other items are available via that conduit). In need of one, I had no choice but to call. And I held for literally an hour so that I could place my order. Today, about a week after that call, all the ancillary parts for the lid showed up but the lid did not. The paperwork in the box indicated nothing about the missing lid. So, I had to call . . . again. This time, I opted for a call-back, for which I waited about 30 minutes.

    Even though I had the order number at the ready when the call came in, the CSR with whom I spoke asked all sorts of seemingly unnecessary questions, including my entire address. I also had to provide my zip code, as if that was somehow definitive proof that I was who I was claiming to be because, it's a well-known fact that imposters don't know how to look up zip codes. In any case, after waiting about another 5 minutes so the CSR could do some "research," I was informed that the lid was not in stock and that there was no ETA at all.

    I can live with this, especially in these odd times but it certainly would have been nice to have been told this when I placed the order. Apparently, that one must call to order a lid is mutually exclusive of that communication being even remotely efficient. It also would have saved time -- for me and the CSR with whom I spoke during my second call -- if this salient bit of information had been on the shipping document in the package. But there was no mention of a backorder, or the box being number 1 of 2 or anything of a sort.

    Given that hold times can reach (and probably exceed) 60 minutes, you'd think that if for no other reason than self-interest, Weber would make sure that relevant information about their shipments would actually appear on shipping their documents, to reduce the number of necessary inbound phone calls. I guess such efficiency is simply too much for them to provide and too for a customer to expect. Again, I understand what's going on in the world right now but systematic failings like these do not seem like they are coronavirus-related.

    There's no going around Weber. There's no better backyard cooker than their kettle. But between this and the continual dumbing down/cheapening of some of their products, the mention of their name no longer produces an entirely favorable association. Needing something from this company is cause for concern and gives me a feeling of consumer claustrophobia.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain
  • Post #22 - August 7th, 2020, 12:29 am
    Post #22 - August 7th, 2020, 12:29 am Post #22 - August 7th, 2020, 12:29 am
    ronnie_suburban wrote:gives me a feeling of consumer claustrophobia.

    I feel you Mr. S, truly. That said, I recently had exactly the opposite experience with Weber parts.

    My 26.5 kettle is getting long in the tooth, still works fine but is showing signs of age. E.g. the top handle fell off from use, careless handling and (maybe) rust.

    I went on the Weber web site, found the part, ordered for $19.95, had it in three days. It came with a slick little installation tool, took off the old part, on goes the new part. Bob's your Uncle, done and done.

    Were me, instead of holding on the phone I'd give Dan over at Backyard BBQ store a call and let him order the part for me. He might even have the part in stock.

    YMMV

    Backyard BBQ Store
    535 Green Bay Road
    Wilmette, IL 60091
    847-251-2272
    Dan Marguerite
    One minute to Wapner.
    Raymond Babbitt

    Low & Slow
  • Post #23 - August 7th, 2020, 5:55 am
    Post #23 - August 7th, 2020, 5:55 am Post #23 - August 7th, 2020, 5:55 am
    My experience is that Dan is not interested in ordering parts for you, but will be happy to give you Weber CSR phone number.
  • Post #24 - August 7th, 2020, 11:24 pm
    Post #24 - August 7th, 2020, 11:24 pm Post #24 - August 7th, 2020, 11:24 pm
    G Wiv wrote:
    ronnie_suburban wrote:gives me a feeling of consumer claustrophobia.

    I feel you Mr. S, truly. That said, I recently had exactly the opposite experience with Weber parts.

    My 26.5 kettle is getting long in the tooth, still works fine but is showing signs of age. E.g. the top handle fell off from use, careless handling and (maybe) rust.

    I went on the Weber web site, found the part, ordered for $19.95, had it in three days. It came with a slick little installation tool, took off the old part, on goes the new part. Bob's your Uncle, done and done.

    Were me, instead of holding on the phone I'd give Dan over at Backyard BBQ store a call and let him order the part for me. He might even have the part in stock.

    YMMV

    Backyard BBQ Store
    535 Green Bay Road
    Wilmette, IL 60091
    847-251-2272
    Dan Marguerite

    I thought about calling Dan. We're BBQ friends and he's always taken great care of me but I figured it might be more of a burden for him than anything else, so I decided not to. I really was stunned by how poorly this was handled at Weber. So, your experience doesn't surprise me at all. That's how it usually goes. Sad to say that the variable of human interaction led to their failure here. Until now, that has usually made it better when dealing with Weber. At the moment, their system clearly has some gaps and employee training seems to have slipped.

    lougord99 wrote:My experience is that Dan is not interested in ordering parts for you, but will be happy to give you Weber CSR phone number.

    Doesn't surprise me. It'd be one thing if he stocked them but if not, that would be a tough needle to (repeatedly) thread.

    =R=
    By protecting others, you save yourself. If you only think of yourself, you'll only destroy yourself. --Kambei Shimada

    Every human interaction is an opportunity for disappointment --RS

    There's a horse loose in a hospital --JM

    That don't impress me much --Shania Twain

Contact

About

Team

Advertize

Close

Chat

Articles

Guide

Events

more