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Do you use a side burner with your grill?

Cheesy Oysters May 15, 2007 08:46 AM

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. ccbweb May 15, 2007 08:57 AM

    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. m
      Margot May 15, 2007 08:59 AM

      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. j
        jzerocsk May 15, 2007 09:26 AM

        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. c
          cheryl_h May 15, 2007 10:39 AM

          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.

          3 Replies
          1. re: cheryl_h
            RandyL May 15, 2007 11:39 AM

            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
              mojoeater May 15, 2007 11:43 AM

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

              1. re: mojoeater
                ccbweb May 15, 2007 12:00 PM

                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.

          2. El Puerco May 15, 2007 04:50 PM

            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. k
              Kansas Country Girl Jun 17, 2010 11:04 AM

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

              1 Reply
              1. re: Kansas Country Girl
                onrushpam Jun 17, 2010 11:20 AM

                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. MikeB3542 Jun 17, 2010 11:45 AM

                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.

                1 Reply
                1. re: MikeB3542
                  wvgardener Jun 17, 2010 07:03 PM

                  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?

                2. alanbarnes Jun 17, 2010 07:51 PM

                  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.

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