New Member From South Bay Area, California


Michael Chen

Hi everyone!

I originally had a much longer introduction, but I accidentally closed the tab while writing it, so I think that was a sign that I need to keep things a bit more concise. As you can see below, I did not do a good job.

My name is Michael, and I've been lurking here for a bit now. Kudos to Chris for hosting such a wonderful place, and to everyone here for sharing all of your knowledge so openly.

I grew up in San Jose and Saratoga, and lived in Los Angeles for a bit before coming back to the Bay Area. We've been cooking on Webers ever since my dad's coworker Mason gifted him an 18" kettle as a wedding present. I remember going to a now defunct old hardware store with my dad to buy a chimney starter after he had one too many bad experiences with lighter fluid.

My dad and his coworkers switched to cooking on gas for the convenience around 1996, and the kettle vanished. We had a redhead Genesis 1000(?) that my dad abused until it gave up the ghost. I did briefly look into fixing it up, but he really, really wanted a new one, so we replaced it with a Genesis S-330 on Father's Day 2011. Since 2016, I've sort of taken over keeping it maintained, and the info here has really helped.

To be honest, I don't remember much of the food we made prior to me becoming more involved, other than most of the food we made was not very good. I knew there was better, especially since I remember incredible steak and fish made by my Uncle Raymond (his preferred cooker is the Big Green Egg). As with maintaining our gassers, this community has also helped immensely in improving our outdoor cooking.

We had a bit of a grill explosion starting this past summer; after getting a new Genesis for the balcony for a place we're working on in Cupertino, I also happened upon the old kettle (covered in some sort of orange goop inside and out) in a shed in our backyard, so I cleaned it up, and got it back up and running. That soon led to the purchase of a 14.5" WSM. Shortly after that, I found an old charcoal Go Anywhere in the garage. My dad claimed he hated the thing, but would not let me give it away, so I just cleaned it up and started cooking on it too.

In early November, I stumbled upon a great clearance price on a 14.5" WSM in a Lowe's, so of course I had to take it home with me. I also recently added a Big Green Egg Mini (not the newer Mini Max) on Black Friday.

Right now I have to do most of my grilling at my parents' house in Saratoga since our place in Cupertino does not allow charcoal cookers. I'm there a lot anyways because we're looking after Grandma (dad's mother) so it all works out. 😅

Thanks for reading, and I hope to continue learning from you all!

Attached is a snapshot from November of our two 14.5" WSM in my parents' backyard, shortly after I brought the second WSM home.


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Welcome Michael,

Glad to have you here. Looking forward to some pics of your grills and cooks.

Happy to see another egger. Since you've been lurking a while, you know we are pretty grill agnostic, but
every time I see "Big Green Egg" mini, I laugh at the name, kind of like "Jumbo Shrimp" .
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What a great CA blue sky in your WSM pic. Welcome to the forum. There’s a bunch of us Californios here. From the Bay up through Tahoe/Grass Valley and a bunch of SoCal LA and Sandy Eggo’s.
Thank you @Kevin L (NKY) , @DanHoo , @Brett-EDH , and @Anthony Spitzer for the warm welcome!

Happy to see another egger. Since you've been lurking a while, you know we are pretty grill agnostic, but
every time I see "Big Green Egg" mini, I laugh at the name, kind of like "Jumbo Shrimp" .

I was on a tiny grill kick after cleaning up the Go Anywhere. It is a funny name now that you mention it. Local dealer said the old Mini size is discontinued in favor of the Mini Max, and whatever stock floating around out there is all that's available.