Buying a BBQ
Seems to me that this is the time of year to get a good deal on a BBQ. Plus I'm moving into a new home and have had a natural gas line installed on the deck (I already have my Weber kettle, charcoal afficionados, the gas one will be for everyday cooking). Time to buy - I'm not averse to putting on a parka and grilling some meat in January.
Anybody seen any good sales?
- Sobies has great selection and expertise, but tends to be extremely expensive. They are a wonderful place for accessories.
- Dickson Hardware on Avenue Rd has more expertise than most similar stores and can assemble and deliver. I have sometimes seen bargains there, but can't comment on their regular prices.
- I have a Napolean gas BBQ (made in Barrie) that was a high end model when bought in 2000, but is in about their mid-range today. I wish I could recommend Napolean unequivocally, but I can't. It's made locally and the people there are extremely nice. They have stood behind their lifetime guaraneee without fail. They have provided free repair parts and instructions and have walked me through some repairs over the phone. The problem relates to the frequency with which I have needed their guarantee. (My previous BBQ, a 1982 Broil King, lasted 18 years without dignificant problems.) Over about 6 seasons:
- I have replaced the stainless steel burners.
- The thermometer rusted out. They sent a replacement, but using this required drilling holes in the cover since the design had changed slightly.
- Of three valves, I have replaced one of them once and another twice.
- The ignitor failed and the "collector" box that enables the ignitor to light the burner rusted out. These parts are non-standard, but they promptly sent the necessary parts and instructions. The repairs required partial disassembly and some bolts and screws had frozen in place. I have been lighting the BBQ manually ever since, which is somewhat difficult.
- The swing-down shelf under the BBQ will no longer stay in place and I can't physically remove it.
- Although the unit gets very hot and heats reasonably evenly, it flares badly and will quickly incinerate a chicken left unattended for a short time or a well marbled steak.
- The rotisserie motor doesn't fit well or rotate evenly
- I can tell you from personal experience that the very expensive Ducane brand is not worth the money
- Have a look at www.woodflame.com This Quebec-made product lives up to its improbable claims. It is more trouble than gas but much less trouble than charcoal - and it produces better tasting food. You can use it in a fireplace in winter.
- Crappy Tire has a made-in-China Centro unit that looks beautiful and decently made and has everything, including an infra red rotisserie, an infra red sear burner, an auxiliary burner, and closed storage cabinets. It is quite cheap for what you get (I think about $700). However, I can't comment about its cooking abilities or its durability.
Thanks a lot for the advice. As I said, I will be getting a natural gas 'cue because I've already put the line out on the deck, and I get good results with my Weber kettle when I have the time to work with charcoal. The Big Green Egg is a dream for some day, though!
I will check out that Centro, ya never now. But Broil King seems like a good call.
All this BBQ talk has me craving a slow-smoked Texas beef brisket.
It's stating the obvious, but do remember that you can get good deals on higher end BBQs in the off season when stores want to get rid of old stock. We got a good price on a green egg with delivery last December from a Home Hardware in Markham--nowhere close to where we live.
I do really like Dickson Hardware. While the Sobey's and OGB were closed and Cdn Tire and other places were out of stock, it was the only place I was able to find charcoal and various woods to use in my new toy after Christmas. With its hardware store hours, it's great in the offseason for supplies like that.