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Grills under $500, Ducane or Blue Ember?

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I've never owned a grill so this is new territory for me. I'm looking for something that will last through the cold Chicago Winters. Does anybody own either one of these grills or have reasons why I should or shouldn't buy?

Thanks for the advice.

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  1. I wouldn't go with either. My choice is a Weber Genesis. I've had mine since 1994 and it still performs well. You can't beat their customer service, either. jmho

    1. I love my Vermont Castings cast iron and stainless steel grill. Home Despot carries the consumer rated best buy for $400. I use it year-rounnd.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Ellen

        I totally second the recommendation for the Vermont Castings. I've had it over three years now and its great!

      2. Gas grill? No clue. but if you're looking for charcoal, I have to put in my vote for the "Portable Kitchen." Long before the overwrought "outdoor kitchens" of today, the PK came fully equipped with a little shelf on the side so you had at least a little workspace. My dad's got one he's had for more than 40 years and in my opinion there just isn't anything better. The secret is that it's aluminum, not steel, so you don't have to worry about it rusting. The original company that made them went out of business, but some folks here in the last few years has started making them again. Google it and you'll see all the stuff. They're not cheap, but balance that with the fact that they last forever. (In 40+ years my dad's replaced the grate once, but everything else is original.)

        1. I bought a stainless steel gas grill for under $500 at Costco that has weathered the Chicago winters beautifully. It has a large cooking area, heavy stainless steel grates, auto-ignition, side burner, side table, rotisserie burner (and motor) and a wood chip tray. We also have a Ducane natural gas grill built in on our patio, but I wasn't a big fan of it. I put about $150 in parts to try and recover it from years of neglect, but it was still never able to generate enough heat IMO and the cooking grates are made of aluminum sheet which does not hold enough heat to get any decent grill marks.

          1. I bought a 3-burner Ducane at the beginning of the summer. I also live in Chicago. One reason I bought it is it really packs a punch at a small size (other grills were a bit too large for the space I have). VERY happy with it so far. Got a cover for the winter...

            1. My Ducane experience has not been positive. I, and 3 friends all bought different Ducanes and each of us replaced them within a few years. They are not durable and don't put out enough heat.