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May 31, 2010 09:44 AM

Charcoal Grill Users - Talk Me Out Of It!

I have owned a Weber One Touch Gold for about 10 years and it has always done right by me. However, there are only three of us living in my house and I'm getting less and less thrilled about firing up the chimney starter for 20-30 minutes for only 5-10 minutes of actual grill time for the food. Add on the 30-40 minutes afterwards that the charcoal is still burning, and I always think of it as a waste of charcoal too.

I never thought I would say this, but I am actually considering a low-end Weber gas grill (a Summit?) for those nights when we just want to grill up a few things for dinner.

I know that charcoal will always be number one in my heart (and taste buds) but I can definitely see the convenience of gas. I don't plan on getting rid of the One Touch, but I hope they can peacefully co-exist in my yard.

Has anyone else made this leap as well?

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  1. I like having both, side by side. Some times I have the time and enthusiasm to play some music, drink some wine, and do a perfect rack of lamb with smokey mesquite chips and charcoal. Other times I want a quick blue cheeseburger and watch the news.
    At this moment I have the music and wine, and I'm de-stemming parsley for chimichurri sauce for the whole churrasco shebang later, over charcoal and mesquite -Uruguay sausages, sweet breads, beef, pork shoulder.

    1. When certain of my relatives were alive, the charcoal was the only way they'd want their foods cooked. But then, they required that they be incinerated!

      Once you discover the convenience of the gas grill (I mean, what's better than walking out onto one's snowy deck in below-freezing weather and grilling steaks/chops/etc.) you'll doubtless not go back to the charcoal again. We do, however, use the occasional chunks of mesquite on the grill (after they've been soaked) for some flavor interest.

      Once a year, when I do fire up a grill (it's an old industrial barrel that's been cut in half, with a big ole grill on it that was probably the oven rack from an old stove) the charcoal-flavored chicken, hot dogs, and burgers are then accompanied by the old fashioned potato salad, macaroni salad, and cole slaw that we used to pick at while waiting for my uncle's electric charcoal starter to work. It took forever! But he wouldn't use a fluid starter... just that big ole electric thing that looked like a carpet-beater. It'd take 2 hours to heat up!

      It just occurred to me that perhaps he'd take so long heating up the grill because we were a family that enjoyed a long, long cocktail hour (or two) before our holiday meals. Boy, do I miss that guy!

      1 Reply
      1. re: shaogo

        Hahaha. LOVE your post. We've done the barrel thing for clam and crab steams. It's so much easier to put the huge pot on half barrels for a crowd. My husband got a couple sections of metal "catwalk?" to sit the pots on.

        McGuyver lives... pass the margaritas!

      2. I bought a used Weber Spirit a couple of years ago for the exact same reasons. I love my Weber kettle and I use it all the time too, but there are times when I want to throw a couple of burgers on the grill and eat. If you have room for the additional grill, I say go for it. I did and I'm happy with both.

        1. One more vote for propane and charcoal peacefully coexisting. Each has its uses.

          1 Reply
          1. re: alanbarnes

            Yep. We use our gas grill probably 3-6 times a week. I'm not going to mess with charcoal that often.

          2. I love my gas grill!! It has a side burner which does a wonderful job of lighting my Weber Chimney Starter.

            If its just wifey and I I might use my 14" Weber Smokey Joe, if I'm cooking for a few I'll use my red 18.5" Weber Kettle - If thats not big enough its time for my old red 22.5" Weber Kettle.

            There are options, sizes, you don't have to give up charcoal - and by the way, after you finish cooking you can close all the vents and the charcoal will be there next time :D

            2 Replies
            1. re: rich in stl

              "It has a side burner which does a wonderful job of lighting my Weber Chimney Starter."

              What a great idea! I just cancelled my newspaper & always have to scrounge for something to light my chimney starter. Might be the only times I use my waste of a sideburner though. :(

              1. re: pharmnerd

                I use my side burner all the time! I wouldn't buy a grill without one. Maybe I'm doing some teriyaki Skewers on the grill, some corn on the cob and I will use my side burner for the rice. Sometimes I like my sauteed mushrooms in a basket or sometimes I will use the burner for sauteed mushrooms in a wine reduction. Many, many uses!