HOME > Chowhound > Cookware >

Discussion

Do you use a side burner with your grill?

About to get a new Weber and I've gone back and forth on a side burner. First I thought it was a silly idea, then someone said they really like it so I reconsidered. Now I'm wondering it I'd really use it. Do you have one and do you like it? If you don't, do you wish you had one? Feel free to weigh in on models--either the Spirit E310 or the Genesis E320.
Thanks for your help.

  1. Click to Upload a photo (10 MB limit)
Delete
  1. I love the side burner with the flip down cover so that I can still use it as a table/landing pad/staging area if I don't want to use the burner. Its a great thing to be able to warm up or recude a sauce or to cook a side (beans or rice or whatever) while grilling. So, given the options I'd definitely get a grill with a side burner.

    I've cooked on the Genesis E320 model at a client's home (privat chef stuff) and have always had good results. I like the cabinet underneath for storing supplies and extra things like some foil pans and a roll of foil in case I forget a clean platter or need to cover or wrap something.

    1. We have used our Weber side burner while barbecuing only 2-3 times and we barbecue every week of the year. We merely consider the side burner great insurance. We live in California so it's our back-up for power outages and earthquakes!

      1. I consider it to be completely and utterly useless. I've got an unlimited supply of cooking fuel (in my case electricity) in my kitchen so I can't imagine why I would ever want to waste the relatively limited supply of LPG that I have on hand using the side burner.

        In another thread someone pointed out that it can be useful for keeping sauce warm to brush onto the meat, which seems sensible assuming your grill is far enough away from your kitchen. For me my grill is literally 20 feet from my stove, so it never crossed my mind.

        I fire mine up occasionally to make sure the line isn't clogged....and that's it.

        That said, side burners on grills are starting to become as ubiquitous as cameras on mobile phones - I see more grills with them than without them when I wander the aisles fantasizing about how I can justify the purchase to my wife. If you get one with a side burner and never use it, you haven't really lost anything and it just might come in handy some day.

        1. We bought a Weber Silver Genesis B a few months ago (comparable with the E310). I spent some time looking at the side burner and decided it wasn't worth the extra cost. My SIL and her husband have one on their grill which they used once - to cook corn. It took so long to boil the water and cook the corn, everything else had been eaten before the corn was ready. That convinced me it wasn't very useful.

          4 Replies
          1. re: cheryl_h

            I use my sideburner to saute onions and peppers when grilling Italian sausages, heating saurkraut when grilling hot dogs, or for warming baked beans wheneever serving them with whatever I am grilling. I never try to boil any large quantities of water. I pretty much use it for what it is there for - convenience and logistics for what I happen to be grilling alongside.

            1. re: RandyL

              Can't you put a pot directly on the grill and do the same?

              1. re: mojoeater

                You'd give up the grill space and you wouldn't get the same level of consistency in the heat. For some things that might not matter, but for other things it could mean that you'd either have to pay a lot of attention or even that it just wouldn't work well for anything delicate or temperature sensitive.

                1. re: ccbweb

                  I would think that you may even kill your pot by putting it on the grill with a large heat area.. If there is a handle, it may melt. The outside of pot may even burn or change color by doing so...

          2. Initially, I used the SB a lot to make a whole meal outside. It's perfect for making rice or anything that can't be grilled. In the past year, I only used it once to make a sauce. However, since I have two grills, I did use one to keep chili and cider warm while making hotdogs for 80 kids on the other last October. That could have been a SB application.

            When faced with this type of decision, I consider which course of action I'm more likely to regret some day. You may wish you'd bought it some day OR it wasn't the best $50 you've ever spent.

            If you're using LPG instead of NG, that could be a bigger decision than getting the SB.

            1. Just the ticket for frying fish or salmon patties - no smelling up the kitchen!

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kansas Country Girl

                Yep, I use mine for cooking smelly things.
                Also, because we have a CharGriller duo, we use the side burner to start the charcoal chimney when using the charcoal side of the grill. And, we've used it a LOT during extended post-hurricane power outages.

              2. Side burner is kind of a waste. Good for warming up a sauce, it is too underpowered to do any real cooking. The additional hardware needed for the side burner is one more item to deal with when the periodic grill teardown occurs. No thanks.

                Problem right now with mine is that the side burner is out of adjustment, and soots up the pots and pans heavily.

                3 Replies
                1. re: MikeB3542

                  I'm glad to have the side burner in case of an electrical outage. It's powered directly by natural gas.

                  Last spring a Carolina wren started to build a nest under the burner and accessible from underneath. I discouraged the ambitious pair and they successfully nested in a proper nest box on the other side of the house.

                  Anyone else have wildlife invading the grill or burner?

                  1. re: MikeB3542

                    I agree, far too underpowered and small to do much good. If I want to keep something hot I just put it on top of the hood. If I want to saute some onions I use a cast iron skillet on the grill.

                    1. re: MikeB3542

                      I can't disagree more. My son uses the SB on his cheap grill to deep fry tortilla wedges for parties.

                      He'll also park a CI pan on it when he wants to blacken chicken, no smoke in the house.

                      Yeah, they can get plenty hot.

                    2. I use my side burner (and my other outdoor burners) all the time. It's convenient when grilling - no running back and forth between the grill and the indoor cooktop - and it keeps the heat outside. Depending on where you live, that can be a big plus in the summertime.

                      1. Just bought a 60k BTU "power burner" to put in my upcoming outside kitchen. Planning on induction inside, so will use this for frying, wok cooking, big crab boils, blackening to keep the mess and heavy smoke outdoors. I think with wimpy, under powered burners the utility is too limited.

                        4 Replies
                        1. re: saeyedoc

                          I use the side burner in my Genesis S-330 for wok cooking, bacon frying and carbon steel skillet seasoning. While more would be nice, it seems like 12,000 BTU is adequate.

                          1. re: saeyedoc

                            Will be doing the same thing with our outdoor kitchen. Building mine in modular sections so it can come with us when we move. 1 section for the BGE, 1 section for a built in LP grill, 1 section for burners & a utility section with a sink & mini fridge.

                            1. re: Tom34

                              I don't know if you're looking for a high end outdoor fridge, but I just got one off Perlick's factory seconds webpage. $3500 fridge for $2000, has a dent on the side that will be hidden once installed.

                              1. re: saeyedoc

                                I am lucky that a friend gave me a small commercial beverage fridge that should be OK for outdoor if its in a cabinet and brought in during the winter.

                                My biggest issue now is weight per SQ foot for the sections so they can be moved to a final retirement home.

                                I mostly use the Big Green Egg but am looking at a med size Cal Flame built in grill (about $800.00) for added capacity & convenience.

                          2. Yes I know this was posted 7 years ago, but as it's just the beginning of the grilling season for most northerners I'll chime in.

                            I have a Weber Genesis E320.
                            I use the side burner mainly for sauerkraut, beans or corn on the cob. I grill everyday year round, but those items are only made about every ten days. Not a lot of use, but as the side burner was only $80 extra when I bought my grill 8 years ago I've got my money's worth.

                            That said: last summer we had a problem with a gas leak on out built in cook top in the main house kitchen. The parts were no longer available. Our whole house warranty company took three weeks to replace the unit, so we cooked on the burner and the grill for those three weeks. Glad we had it.

                            1. The side burner on my Genesis will cook but not simmer. Even at the lowest setting it over-cooks and you have to watch it. Can the burner be adjusted to a simmer setting?