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Apr 30, 2010 05:59 PM

gas grill experts, can you comment?

Already posted this in cookware, didn't get any responses. Any grillers out there tonight?

Hi, I'm looking to invest a a good gas grill. Living in South FL, we're entering that time of year when we can expect 90 degrees plus 100% humidity for months. We need to cook outside to avoid overheating the A/C cooled house. DH has done all the grilling in the past, it's my turn to get comfortable with the long tongs. Here are the features we're looking for, in order of importance:

1. Very good temperature control. I want to be able to bake a cake in it. Or even a souffle. The idea is to replace both the stovetop and the oven for the summer months.
2. At least one side burner.
3. ALL stainless, not just part. The sun and humidity here are incredibly destructive.
4. High BTU output, as I want to experiment with high temp cooking that I can't do on my standard gas stove inside.
5. Enough surface area to easily serve dinner for six people, and have a few different temp cooking options at a time.
6. Would prefer to spend less on my outdoor grill than I would on a standard indoor stovetop/oven.

Also, I really don't know a thing about grill features, like ceramic heating elements vs. traditional. (You may have heard the saying - There is what you know you know, what you know you don't know, and then, what you don't know you don't know.) Sadly, when it comes to grills, I suspect I am deep in the territory of not knowing what I don't know!!! I trust you chowhounders more than consumer reports on this one!

Do you think buying a grill built specifically for a big box store is a good or bad idea?

Also, maybe one of you has done something really out there, like installing a commercial stove outside, and had success?

Do you have a grill you love that meets these needs? Any other advice? Thanks in advance!

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  1. Have you tried Amazon? I tend to go there to read all the reviews when I'm making a purchase like this and it's always helpful for me.

    1. Grand Hall makes the Bakers and Chef brand sold at Sam's. Got a floor model in 2000 or 2001. We also purchased the griddle drop in after about a month and use it regularly. It does bake and has a rotissiere.

      18K BTUs. 3 independent burners. No side burner. But they probably make that now.

      Have had to replace two of the burners due to corrosion. (We live in San Diego and never used the cover for it). Parts are easy to find online.

      There are only two of us. We have maybe 3 get togethers a year with 6-8 others. I keep two propane tanks (we have earthquakes and the gas line may go out) and refill one when the other empties.

      6 Replies
      1. re: Cathy

        Thanks. The Weber Genesis seems to get good marks from everyone, I didn't want to rule out alternatives yet.

        1. re: MCFAC

          18K per burner BTUs...sorry.

          Probably price now is comparable to the Weber. We don't belong to Sam's any more.

            1. re: MCFAC

              I just bought a new stainless steel Weber Genesis to replce my old one (not stainless) that had served us well for 16 years. The old one is replacing my grandson's 3 year old Brinkman. It cost $849 with free delivery from Home Depot. This will probably be my last grill but, if I did buy another, I see NO reason to get anything but a Weber.

              1. re: grampart

                Seems the Genesis has a lot of customer loyalty. Are you happy with size for dinner parties? Also, did you have any issues with the not stainless? DH found a used one, but it's not stainless...

                1. re: MCFAC

                  I never had any issues with the previous non-stainless and I always found that the size was adequate. FYI, the newest issue of Consumer's Reports lists the Weber as it's "Best Buy", but that's no surprise.

      2. Gas grills were rated in the latest (June) edition of Consumer Reports that just arrived in the mail. If you're not a subscriber you may be able to read the artcle online at, or certainly find a copy at your local library.

        3 Replies
          1. re: MCFAC

            I think definitely worth your while. While Some Webers received high ratings others did not. Price was not an indicator of score by any means. The ratings do indicate which are made entirely/ almost entirely of stainlees steel. Score denoted performance based on evenness at high and low temperatures (ability to cook without burning), Plus Convenience and features. Also they note which features their readers surveyed did and did not use.

            I'm in the market too, but I'm being cautious because a) I don't like to spend too much for something I don't use that often, and b) because the last time I bought one I got stuck by planned obsolescence. About 5 years ago I bought a Uniflame grill at the end of the season at WalMart for $200. It was big, stainless, 4 cast iron burners plus a side burner. Then last year the coating on the grates started to pit badly and rust, and the heat exchanger plates down below rusted out completely. I went back to the company and found that the model was discontinued and there were no replacement parts available. I'm living with the grates, moving food to another spot, but I got a stainless steel grate for above the burners and put lava rocks on them. Now I can't get the thing much above 350o. So while I see CR labeling Uniflame another best buy, I think I'll stick with a slightly higher end brand, one that I'm more likely to be able to get parts for in the future.

        1. Thanks everyone for the posts. What they say is right "Buy quality, it only hurts once!" Now does anyone know how to get one on sale?

          3 Replies
          1. re: MCFAC

            Home Depot sells the non-stainless Genesis for $649 with free delivery. Assembly takes about 1-1/2 hours (not difficult). NO side burner with this one.

            1. re: grampart

              Actually, the Genesis E320 is the CR top rated medium grill, and at $699 it is the same as the E310 ($649) except that the 320 has a side burner. The 320 series is also available in all stainless as S320 for about $849. You can see and compare all of these at Amazon where they also show other vendors and prices.

              1. re: grampart

                GrampArt, I think you've convinced me. I do have a side burner on the grill I've got, and I don't think I ever used it, so the 310 would work fine for me (if I can get over the $700 inc. tax shock). But I just read probably 200+ customer reviews of all the recommended grills on the Consumer Reports web site, and it all comes down to the Genesis models being at the top of both the technical and the satisfaction ratings.

                Now it's a case of -- at least to some degree -- selling the idea to the (didn't you just buy that one?) wife.

                Does anyone have serious feeling about the difference between ss and cast iron grates?

            2. I have an older Weber grill, very similar to the Genesis. I don't think there's any chance of successfully baking a cake in an outdoor grill. A grill and an oven are quite different in their design. For example, I find the temperature of my grill varies wildly depending on how windy it is (easily 75 degrees). In my opinion, some of your requirements in your original post will not be met with a Weber Genesis.

              2 Replies
              1. re: pweller

                Yes, it seems crazy, but DH has the expectation that it will function like an oven, as one of his coworkers bakes cakes in their grill. (and nothing fancy, just a beat up medium sized older unit) From the reviews, it looks like the genesis is the best at keeping an even temp.

                1. re: MCFAC

                  Get a weber. Dont' look back. It really is that simple. Webers support their products for years and years and years. I am a charcoal guy, but do have a Genesis EP-320 absolutely love it. My only regret is that I didnt' get a summit (hey, girlfriend got it for me for free through her rewards what can I say).

                  You have a problem, you call Weber, they take care of you. Sometimes even out of warranty. They stand by their products. Just do it. :)