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Williams Sonoma Sierra Charcoal Grill

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Anybody have this grill? I think I'm treating myself this Father's Day, and I wanted to know anybody's personal experience with it. I've coveted it for a while now, and seen it up close many times. I think they slightly changed it from last year to this year. And I'm not even one of those Neanderthal-type, stereotypical "I-don't-know-how-to-anything-with-food-except-grill-it" meatheads. I just love charcoal, love William-Sonoma products, and love this grill. It seems to be very well-made, and I really love the cast iron grates. Anybody have it? Pro's, con's? Do you have to season the grates before using? Worth the cash?

http://www.williams-sonoma.com/produc...

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  1. In terms of looks, it probably has a regular Weber kettle charcoal beat. In terms of performance, I'd only be venturing a guess because I don't have the W-S grill, but I'd put my vote on the Weber kettle. I've used one for years and there's a reason they have sold so many and done so much business. It's simple, but it works. Keep in mind you WILL be paying a few bucks more simply because you're buying from a name brand like Williams-Sonoma. If you're looking to take a step up in the Weber department, go for the Performer. It has a propane assist ignition and has a nice, usable table to boot. Buy it on Amazon and you've got one for $300 and free shipping. Black, blue, or green. Spend the extra $200 on some accessories (rotisserie, grill cover, good quality charcoal, etc) and I think you'll be happier in the long run. In the event anything does go wrong with any of the components, you can easily find some replacements at Home Depot or Lowe's. So to sum it up, if it were me, I'd buy the Weber Performer. Bobby Flay probably agrees, it's the charcoal grill he uses on his show.

    http://www.amazon.com/Weber-841001-Pe...

    4 Replies
    1. re: HaagenDazs

      Well, I semi-agree with you, in that I love my Weber Kettles (four in service now). I would not get the Performer, since I feel the table is positioned to interfere with full grill access when the lid is up in the lid holder. In any case, the One Touch Gold Kettle will do most of what that other WS grill will do. In favor of the WS, I see it has a crank-adjustable height between coals and grill. That's good, since you can grill direct and up close for steaks and burgers, and far away and either direct or indirect for true low and slow BBQ. In N. Carolina, they would place the fire (coals and wood) in the lowest (furthest) position, but directly under the pork shoulder, so the fat drips on the coals and vaporizes and flavors the meat. In TX, the fire would go on the side to indirectly smoke them briskets. Etc. However, I think our Sam's Club has a very, very similar grill either by Brinkman or Kingsford that would probably save you a few bucks.

      1. re: HaagenDazs

        Well first of all, Bobby Flay is a tool, so I could care less what he uses. But that's besides the point. What attracts me to the WS grill is the CAST IRON grates. More even heat, more even sear, no?? I don't think your Weber kettles have that, do they? I can't deal with chrome, ceramic coated chips over time, and stainless steel gets nasty after a while. Cast iron, like the skillets, would just get better over time, no??

        1. re: Phil_A_Mignon

          Yes about Flay. And yes about the cast iron. Not on the Kettles, but they are on the WS, Brinkman and Kingsford. Those would be nice on my Kettles...

          1. re: woodburner

            Weber FORMERLY did sell a very nice CAST IRON grate that sat in an adapter for the kettle:
            Weber Cast Iron Grate 1450:
            http://www0.epinions.com/hmgd-Lawn_an...

            I have one and it is very effective BUT it makes the preheat even longer. I suspect they canceled it for that reason. In older smaller hardware stores you can sometimes still find 'em, also at garage sales.

            Good luck!

      2. I bought the first generation of this grill back in the 1960's and it is still going strong! We call it the goat cooker because it sometimes seems big enough to do that. But more often than not that extra space is worth its weight in gold. What to have hot and warm sections on the grill? No problem. Lift one end of the tray with the coals up to a few inches from the rill and the end can be anything from cool (no coals) to pretty warm. My cooking grates are well seasoned. Burn off any residues. I don't need
        to oil the grate when grilling because of the seasoned iron.

        The new design does show some improvements but the grill is still basic and beats anything going.

        By the way a rotisserie is really a good investment. You can do four racks of ribs or four chickens at once. Try that on your Weber! Turkey is piece of cake.

        2 Replies
        1. re: dougbly

          Dougbly: Your post is totally cool... that grill also looks totally cool. Seasoned heavy cooking grates, side by side crank-controlled charcoal grates for total fire control. I wouldn't mind having one myself, now that I been thinking about it...

          BUT... (you knew there was a "but" coming)

          I can do 6 racks of baby backs at a time on my 22.5-in. Weber Kettle. Did it tonight, in fact... shoulda took a pic. Just to keep the record square! (But only 3 chickens at a time...)

          Grill on, my friend!

          1. re: dougbly

            ROCK ON HASTY BAKE!!!!
            The WS rip off is a pathetic attempt to copy the BEST:
            http://www.hastybake.com/grill_legacy...

          2. So Phil, did you spring for it?

            1 Reply
            1. re: Axel Heyst

              not yet, but now I'm reconsidering ...

            2. Do not buy this grill. It takes forever to put together. It is poorly designed and breaks easily. Believe me, I am someone in the know about this item. Plus if you look around, you can get the same grill cheaper from another source. All in all though, I highly, highly recommend that you stay away from this grill.

              7 Replies
              1. re: MacArthur Mike

                Dear MacA:
                Pray, do tell. The inly similar unit i have seen is the CharBroil 940x which is different in several respects. Thanks!

                1. re: MacArthur Mike

                  Mike,

                  Are you talking about the WS or the Hastybake? (reg: "do not buy this grill ...")

                  1. re: Phil_A_Mignon

                    I am sure that he is replying to the WS, the hasty bake entered the thread much later...

                    The Hasty Bake is quite a bit more money, but I have seen some that are 30 years old and still work very well. I have only poked at the WS grill in their stores, but I can tell it is not in the same class as far as build quality goes.

                    I almost wonder if the WS people did not approach the HB people, but they realized that there was no way they could do the kind of volume that WS needs without comprimising the construction...

                    1. re: renov8r

                      Reno,

                      I have to ask for specifics. How can you tell the construction is sub-par? What are the indicators of that. I'm just trying to thoroughly research this before I purchase. Maybe I should have stated my original post like this: I am looking for a charcoal grill with an adjustable coal tray, lots of cooking square inchage, CAST IRON grates, and built like a damn tank, for around $500-$700. Any suggestions? I am a big home cook, but don't outdoor-grill all that much and therefore not well versed in the art of grilling or the quality of charcoal grilling equipment out there. I guess I just assumed that Williams-Sonoma made a phenomenal grill. At least that's the way it looks to my untrained eye. How do the brands Landmann and Bayou Classic rate among the grills out there? I've never heard of these, but the "Landmann Black Dog" and the "Bayou Classic Steel Charcoal Grill" both look very nice.

                      Phil

                      1. re: Phil_A_Mignon

                        Ok, here is the deal. The Hasty Bake is available in a powder coated steel for about $900, double that in stainless. I have seen 30 year old Hasty Bakes that are pretty much good as new. The company builds these the way that a commercial kitchen is made.

                        The WS is just nowhere near as nice. It is only a little better than the Landman. Now Landman is not total junk, but it is thinner and will certinly rust very soon. Landman stuff is not very high quality, the Galyan's chain used to sell some of the stuff. Of course it is only $300...

                        The Bayou Classic is available at Target for about $500, and is about equal to the WS in terms of quality, but not at many features. Bayou Classic makes a wide range of stuff, from el cheapo turkey fryers/crawfish cookers, to some decent looking SS but those are much higher in price...

                        1. re: Phil_A_Mignon

                          Phil:
                          I, too am in the market for a new grill and essentially, your want list comports with mine. I like the char broil 940x at www.grilllovers.com BUT the adjustable grate appears from the pictures NOT to be adjustable when the grill is in operation, which would defeat the purpose. I'm not sure about this and will report back. It is a bit cheaper than the WS grill when you include the shipping. p.s. I am not in the market for a smoker as i have my weber bullet which i wholeheartedly endorse. Axel

                          1. re: Phil_A_Mignon

                            Phil,

                            I'm in the same boat, and seems like the Bar B Q Galore and the Char Broil 940 are generally compared in the same light. The BBQ Galore has the adjustable crank system which folks seem to like, and is bigger than the Char Broil. Looks like it's about $250 more though. Haven't cooked on one, but something to consider.

                            http://www.bbqgalore.com/charcoal//16...

                            Ray

                    2. It looks like you can replenish coals through a front door. This is great in my view, as it makes life easier when you are slow cooking anything.
                      That being said, I am really pleased with my portable kitchen grill. The 4 vents give you great control, and the cast aluminum body is solid. It took a whopping 15 minutes to assemble. The only downside: It is smaller than a a Weber.
                      www.pkgrill.com
                      Matt

                      1. I've looking at it too. BUT I just saw a grill very very much like it on the Low's web site ($250) I wonder if they are the same Here's the link, let me know what you think.

                        http://www.lowes.com/lowes/lkn?action...

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: gfavor

                          I saw the exact same grill at Lowes and I wasn't sure if its the same grill but different name. It's called BBQ grillware. Any thoughts? Was considering getting for the husband....

                        2. Phil:

                          Any updates on your grill purchase? I have been looking at getting a new grill for over a year and am now ready to buy. Also checking out the Lowe's BBQ Grillware version as noted by another post. Comments anyone?