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Thread: Some thoughts on gas and charcoal grills, Weber included

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    Some thoughts on gas and charcoal grills, Weber included

    Hi All,

    Been reading the forum for a long time now. Always wanted to write something about gas and charcoal grills. My experiences.

    My story starts many years ago when I bought a Charbroil charcoal grill. Yes, charcoal is still my first love, but gas is convenient. After the Charbroil literally was destroyed by the heat and it started flaking like pastry I looked for something else. All aluminum I said. So next stop was the PK or Portable Kitchen. It was nice and a tried and true design but the cleaning piece on the bottom turned me off. Besides that one there is no other charcoal grill all aluminum that I know. I did look at the Weber but the cleaning system at the bottom that must be turned I did not like. I do have a couple of friends that have them and I did help them cook a couple of times, the half bowl design is great, cooks good but I do not like the cleaning system.
    I looked for the Charbroil 940 but unfortunately is now discontinued. From what I understand is a solid charcoal grill. So after my disappointment with charcoal grills I went to gas.

    Few years back I bought my first Broilmaster gas. I said this is the end of all grills with the aluminum top and bottom. While is a great grill the H burner for the P4 model and the bow burner for the P3 model which good in theory becomes a rusty mess after many years of use. It all rusts. The anchor system is flawed the way it attaches to the body in my opinion. The two tubes that go to the burner destroy itself, especially the newer ones made of thin steel. It collapses. That I think is a weak point of Broilmaster and many other grills. The ceramic briquettes are a good idea, but they have to be high quality to be effective. So after collecting about three Broilmaster grills with all stainless steel shelves and carts I still have them sitting in the garage. I bought the BM all used not new.

    In the meantime, I got a new Broilking Regal 420 and while it was a great grill and I did like it, the burners and the burners support and the iron grates totally and completely disintegrated. I then bought the SS grates and these rusted in about 1 to 2 years.

    I then went to the local dealer and they have MHP, Lynx and Firemagix. MHP has the same burners design as BM that I don't like. Lynx has a brass burner but is cost like $250 to be replaced. Dealer said last a long time but still needs to be replaced. Next brand I looked at was the Firemagic which the model I looked at had a stainless-steel burner. Solid SS that was drilled. That I really liked. But the grill cost about $4500. Not sure how much the burner is to replace but the dealer said people never do or if they do it has lifetime warranty. Did not buy any grills there.

    About two years ago I jumped to Weber gas....I got a Genesis Silver B. I have invested at least $300 to rehab, paint like $40 or $50, grates and flavorizer bars from rcplanebuyer maybe like $170 or so, new drain pan, bunch of other parts. all new SS screws, etc. Since then I rebuilt another for brother in law and works great. Collected few more Genesis Silver B after that.

    What I like about Weber is the dead simple design and repair at least with the Genesis Silver B. Let's say even if someone does not want to do a full rehab just buying new burners, flavorizer bars and grates and assuming the manifold is still good can have a grill that can go for another 10 years. I would say just vacuuming the grill assuming all is rusted inside and mounting the new parts takes like 15 minutes and is ready to grill. Since then I have collected like three more Genesis Silver B almost no place to put them.

    Few years back I got a Warm Morning grill all aluminum from Michigan from my sister. Still in great condition after 50 some years. Can't beat aluminum. Really nice natural gas grill. Solid construction. I could not really use natural gas as I don't have it, so I used it as a charcoal grill. While it worked great, one day I put too much charcoal and the aluminum started to melt. Really it was not designed for that

    Last summer in 2017 I bought a brand new Broilmaster charcoal all aluminum grill

    I got it for a good price, so far happy with it. This thing is hard to keep below 400 F. Being all aluminum and it has gasket all around the perimeter it stays hot. Is a good design it resembles an oven.

    Do I even need to mention all the Red Kamado Joe that I looked at like at least 20 times at Costco ? lol....In the end I did not get one.

    This summer of 2018 I got an old Embermatic all aluminum grill that looks like it got used just a few times. It looks nice, the grates are the thickest I have ever seen. Is natural gas but maybe it can be converted to LP.

    Two weekends ago just got the Genesis SS E II 310 from Lowes for $400. Will see how this will perform. I like the new square burners they have, supposed to have an even flame. Will see how long these last.

    So from all this I kind of start thinking that a gas grill really is designed around the burner.

    At this point I have too many grills that I don't know what to do with it

  2. #2
    TVWBB All-Star Jon Tofte's Avatar
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    Wow! That is quite a saga. I am particularly disappointed with your Broilmaster experience. I have only started fooling with restoring a few of these this past year, so I have limited experience. I do agree that even the better bowtie burner - being made of low-grade stainless in Taiwan - is doomed to rust out eventually, but almost everything else is high grade stainless or aluminum. Many people have these (or as you note the identical, as I understand it, Warm Morning) for decades.

    I think a Weber Genesis 1000 or maybe a Silver - or better yet a Platinum with the stainless frame - is a good solid grill for a reasonable price. That is especially true if you are buying an old one now and restoring. Take good care of them and you will get many years of faithful grilling. But, sure, you will have to replace burners and flavorizers and probably grates. If you go with "rcplanebuyer" ones you could make that day take longer to arrive. It will, however. I just consider that reasonable usage. I am not persuaded that $3K to $4K grills will get you any more useful life.

    p.s If you still have that PK in any kind of restoreable condition, I am interested! PM me.
    Genesis Platinum Silver C Q1200"Flat-top" 26 Kettle Red,Black 22s Black '74 18, SJ. Projects: Skyline & 2 many others!

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    TVWBB Pro Greg M's Avatar
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    Great post Chris. I enjoyed hearing your experiences with the various grills. It is a shame and puzzling that broilmaster uses cheaper grade materials for the burners on their grills? The rest of the grill is so solid. Sure you can replace the burner but the are pricey. If you grill a lot and have to do that every year or two it would get expensive not to mention frustrating.

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    TVWBB Emerald Member LMichaels's Avatar
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    The burner is only pricey to the non original owner. When you buy their grills new the burner is considered a lifetime warranty part.

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    TVWBB Pro Jeff MA's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by LMichaels View Post
    The burner is only pricey to the non original owner. When you buy their grills new the burner is considered a lifetime warranty part.
    I was in talk with a owner of a Broilmaster P3 grill and almost made a long drive to pick it up. She was the original owner and had the all the paperwork for the grill but it was never registered with Broilmaster.
    I contacted Broilmaster about warranty items and never got a reply.
    This has never happened with any of my Weber phone calls or e-mails.

    Needless to say I passed on the grill.

    Jeff

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    TVWBB Emerald Member LMichaels's Avatar
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    I got one for free I called BM and they were Jonny on the spot. Plus I kinda lied and said it given to me by a family member and they had no issue giving me free grates and burner. I just had to pay for the shipping. YMMV

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    Hi,

    The PK is long gone.

    The BM is a great grill, no doubt. Since I purchased all of them used, the burner and venturi tubes and the support were rusted really bad. Some previous owners put aftermarket burners and tubes and these do not last.
    I have hundreds of pages printed with the BM parts numbers and there is a ton of parts numbers that span many years. BM made the same model and it has not changed in 30 years or so. This has created some parts confusion on my end. The parts I got did not really fit correctly they were few mm off I had to bend them in place or tighten them or reinstall the whole thing. Since I have BM grills from the 1980's and 1990's and 2000's the spares parts a bit different. Some parts which I think are the same do not fit.

    I think BM does a continuous improvement on their grills so a better part or design changes enough that does not really fit earlier models. This no fault of their own. As far as warranty goes I called them a couple of times they will not provide warranty. They want the original dealer and some kind of receipt. I think this makes some people to purchase after market parts which are typically inferior quality. When someone wants to restore a BM with original parts it can easily be in the hundreds, so cheaper parts are fitted instead and the result is rust. Like I said I see BM from a used point of view.

    I think if someone finds a new Broilmaster grill and has warranty and changes the tubes, burners, etc. with genuine Broilmaster parts every 5 years they have the perfect grill. This is the way to go.

    Since I also bought Weber used and I am referring to Genesis Silver B here, these are very easy to fix. Just vacuum or clean a little, new burners, new flavoring bars, new grates, electric igniter and is all done. One can have a grill for next 10 years for 15 to 30 minutes of work. (of course the frame can and does rust but that's another story) What I like about Weber especially the side mounted, the manifold goes straight into the burner. It does not have the complications that BM and many other grills have. I think Weber had a better design in that sense. Maybe the weak point is the crossbar to ignite the 2nd and 3rd burner gas.

    This reminds me of the Broilking Regal 420 which had two electric igniters. They did go out regularly and I had to replace both. (Broilking has a 10 years warranty no question asked or at least did when I had it, so that helped) Also the electric button igniter assembly I had to replace it every year as it went bad. In contrast the Genesis Silver B has the mechanical push button that does not need a battery. Of course it does rust but is inexpensive and it takes little time to change and is easy to do.

    Which brings me to another point. The Genesis II 310 I bought recently does have an electric igniter as well. I did not use the supplied Alkaline battery, I used a Lithium AA battery. Yes is more expensive but I don't want to ruin the igniter. The Lithium battery will not leak and it resist very cold and very hot weather. I would advice using it.
    Last edited by Chris in GA; 09-12-2018 at 07:28 PM.

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    TVWBB Pro Greg M's Avatar
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    Chris most of us on here agree with you regarding the old webers. You just can't beat them for simplicity, functionality, and durability.

    The newer webers are ok. Definitely several steps up from the cheap junker char broil types. But more complicated and fragile than the older weber models. It's a shame they changed the design.

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