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Jun 5, 2006 09:23 PM

outdoor bbq grill - best bang for the buck

  • t

the dinged up, rusty, 30 year old (no joke) inherited bbq has to go.

does anyone have suggestions for a cost-effective, but nice outdoor grill/bbq? looking for something approx $150 or less.

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  1. j
    Jim Washburn

    This is just my opinion, of course, but in that price range there is absolutely no contest--the basic 22-inch Weber kettle beats anything else I know of. Fire it with natural hardwood charcoal. It's extremely versatile and durable. Replacement parts, if you ever need them, aren't too hard to find or expensive. I haven't checked prices recently, but I'd guess around $80. I've got two that are over 10 years old, have cooked many a great meal, and have lots more left in them.


    6 Replies
    1. re: Jim Washburn

      I'm a stick burner off-set myself- indirect smoker, but I've heard nothing but good things from people with the Weber kettle.

      1. re: Jim Washburn

        If you want charcoal, I agree completely. There isn't a better option than a Weber kettle for that price. The 22 1/2 inch Weber Gold is $129 at Home Depot. And that is the expensive one. You can get a 22 1/2 Silver (same as gold, minus ash catcher) for well under $100.

        Good luck.

        1. re: Jim Washburn

          Jim, where can I buy hardwood charcoal?

          1. re: quiltbugj
            Jim Washburn

            The grocery store? I live in a small town (pop. 10,000) with two grocery stores, and both of them sell good oak charcoal.


            1. re: quiltbugj

              I find it at the Barbecues Galore stores.


              1. re: quiltbugj

                Some groceries in my area don't always carry lump charcoal, but all the hardware stores do, and they usually have larger bags too. Try your local hardware store.

            2. Gas or charcoal?

              Charcoal: Weber kettle grill 18" or 22". Probably less than $100; I haven't checked in a while. You can spend a little more and get one with a gas starter and/or attached table.

              Gas: We just bought a BBQ Grillware gas grill for $200. This is one of Lowe's in-store brands. (There is another model that is $160 that is slightly smaller.) This one is nicely sized, has cast iron grates, and a side burner. It's definitely not as high quality as the Weber gas grills, but it's also 40% of the price.

              In the under-$200 price range, you don't have a lot of choices. Nothing is excellent, like a Weber gas grill. The grills for $150 or less are generally quite small and I'd think it would be worth it to spend the extra money for the BBQ Grillware, a Charbroil, etc. that is full-sized (if you have the space).

              Below is a link to a nice review of grills. Most of the ones the author likes are more than $200. There are some for under $200, but I had a real tough time locating any in the Chicago area, hence the Lowe's branded one.


              1. What do you cook? How much?

                Keep in mind that in some circles, BBQ means long slow cooking with indirect heat. That calls for a different design than grilling.


                1. Thanks for the help everybody. Think I'll be getting the Weber kettle then. We're just looking for some fast heat, no smoking or indirect heat. I saw Alton Brown make a smoker with some ceramic plant potters, and if I ever feel like smoking something, I'll use his method (cost something like $50 for all the materials).

                  2 Replies
                  1. re: thejulia

                    Btw, you definitely can do indirect heat with the kettle. Pile coals over to one side and put that roast or beer can chicken on the other side. Sometime down the road, suggest a birthday present to your so (as mine did for me) and buy the rottiserie ring and motor attachment. Now, you pile coals on both sides and run the spit down the middle. Using very hot heat, but with constant turning so the meat doesn't have a chance to burn, you can get really crusty meats, or crispy skin chicken in a relatively short time.

                    Hardwood charcoal is definitely the way to go - briquets, even the best of the lot, have fillers and chemicals that can affect the taste.

                    1. re: thejulia

                      I've made the AB smoker, and it's great. But you can definitely use the Weber for smoking food also.

                    2. i have five grills myself

                      propane - weber genesis silver series c. the workhorse for quick dinners, bugers, chicken breast, etc.

                      two weber kettles (22 in and 30 in) - tried and true; fantastic. great for a good old fashioned bbq. real hardwood coal is a must. have used to smoke many carolina pulled pork, texas brisket, beer can chicken, etc. using hickory, mesquite, apple, cherry, etc.

                      char-griller barrel grill w/ offset firebox. this summer's addition. $150 at lowe's. 800 sq inches of cast iron grill space. makes smoking all of the above weber kettle items easier because their is so much room. and having the firebox off to the side keeps the meat enveloped in the smoke that mush better. a real winner.

                      ole smokey - bought it about 12 years ago at k-mart for $30. short, squat, looks kind of like an angular r2-d2. used only for detroti lions and univeristy of michigan tailgates. not the greatest grill but it has turned out many good tailgates and holds a lot of sentimental value.