Spirit II (Natural Gas) grill won't sear.... (warning: Manifesto!)


 

Bruce

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Slip that into an envelope and put about $5 postage on it. I will give you the address to send it to.
 

Scott Smith

TVWBB Pro
I agree with Bruce - the steak looks delicious. I could also see what you are saying about a lack of crust and the "brown". Was that cooked with the grate in the normal position, or closer to the burner as you described?
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
For the record. My Genesis is not "set up". It's a bone stock unit I slapped a NG manifold on and the Weber stock stainless rod grates. Stock flavorizer 13 bar setup as well. And not "laughing" at anyone. Just puzzled. The idea of surface of the sun temp searing is "nuts". Yeah, if you're gonna cook 1/2" thick meat I get it. But, a grill is not the best place to cook that anyway. Hell, I don't even do that! I won't put a hunk of meat on that's not at very minimum 1.25" thick. Otherwise it goes in a skillet or griddle. Even my Wolf which can burn the hair off your arms at 6' cannot cook that. Meat like that demands using actual "contact cooking" IOW in a pan or a flat griddle with fat to help transfer heat. Or another trick a chef taught me (but never use because I cannot stand the smell or taste) is to brush it with melted butter. Not oil. Butter. because the butter will "caramelize" at a MUCH lower temp than the meat, form a crust and as he said the customers like it. I don't because the smell of hot butter will nearly cause me to toss my cookies.
 

RobSmith

TVWBB Member
I agree with Bruce - the steak looks delicious. I could also see what you are saying about a lack of crust and the "brown". Was that cooked with the grate in the normal position, or closer to the burner as you described?
Hey Scott,
This was cooked last night with the grate sitting ON the flavorizer bars. (In the picture, on the left side of the grill). So it was about 1.5 inches closer to the burner than the stock height.

This steak looked about 50% better (and tasted better) than the previous NY Strip I'd cooked using the grate at the stock height. Both of these were allowed to come to room temp, dried off, salted and tossed on the grill with no sous vide.

The grill had been set to high for 15 minutes to let the grates get hot, and the steak was cooked with the lid open, and it was flipped over at about 6 minutes.
The only difference between the one pictured, and the last one I cooked was the fact that the grate was lowered onto the flavorizer bars on the one pictured.

This one turned out OK, but not great.
 

DanHoo

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Going to try this config with a strip steak tonight.
The GF gave me the night off, so I'm the only one eating beef for dinner. I pulled out the Weber to see how some of your suggestions would look (Flavorizers, no flavorizers, flippin grates, etc...)

I want to try the option pictured below - to keep with the part of the original assembly instructions that state quite plainly: "DO NOT EVER OPERATE WITHOUT FLAVORIZER BARS IN PLACE, UNDER PENALTY OF DEATH" or somesuch.

SO - I laid one of the grates ON the Flavorizer bars to get it closer to the heat source.

Doesn't seem too radical for a starting point, and meat around here (even on sale at $9.99 a pound) is too dang expensive to just ruin it in a test run.

#Stilltryn2sear
#Grillinondaleftonight

View attachment 58461 View attachment 58462

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Grates are upside down in these pics.
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
I think you got a good bit closer with your creative fix. Maybe try some seasoning with a bit of brown sugar that will caramelize to help with that overall crust.

Steak.jpeg

The other idea is as others suggest and use a cast iron pan/griddle and do a quick sear on both sides before switching to your new set up. That would give you the best of overall crust and some sear marks for eye candy.
 

John Burns

TVWBB Member
Hey Scott,
This was cooked last night with the grate sitting ON the flavorizer bars. (In the picture, on the left side of the grill). So it was about 1.5 inches closer to the burner than the stock height.

This steak looked about 50% better (and tasted better) than the previous NY Strip I'd cooked using the grate at the stock height. Both of these were allowed to come to room temp, dried off, salted and tossed on the grill with no sous vide.

The grill had been set to high for 15 minutes to let the grates get hot, and the steak was cooked with the lid open, and it was flipped over at about 6 minutes.
The only difference between the one pictured, and the last one I cooked was the fact that the grate was lowered onto the flavorizer bars on the one pictured.

This one turned out OK, but not great.
One thing that stands out to me is that you cooked with the lid open. Weber gas grills are designed to be used with the lid closed. Regardless, if you're looking for an even crust over the entire surface of the meat (as opposed to just getting grill marks), I'd recommend using a griddle. https://www.weber.com/US/en/accesso...ry/tools--et--cookware/griddle-7658/7658.html
 

LMichaels

TVWBB 1-Star Olympian
Yeah you will never achieve anything keeping the lid up. Weber has always prided themselves on "efficiency" of gas use. To achieve that they have to keep air flow through the "box" to the absolute minimum for safety but maximum for heat retention. Especially true in their gas grills since unlike a coal burner you can't simply add more fuel. It's why if you look at most any Weber gas grill you will see the air inlet is quite generous but the outlet at the back of the hood is a very narrow slot, as opposed to other products which have huge outlets but consume huge quantities of fuel to keep the heat level
 

Scott Smith

TVWBB Pro
The important thing to note in this thread is that Rob thought of a new way of using his lid and grates, tested it, and says it worked 50% better for grilling his steak and shared it with the forum. Takes ten seconds to set up with no cost for fancy equipment, either.
 

John Burns

TVWBB Member
The important thing to note in this thread is that Rob thought of a new way of using his lid and grates, tested it, and says it worked 50% better for grilling his steak and shared it with the forum. Takes ten seconds to set up with no cost for fancy equipment, either.
Just keep in mind that using a Weber gas grill in a manner outside of the way we've designed it could create an unsafe situation leading to personal injury and/or property damage. Flavorizer Bars are not meant to be a load bearing structure and can't secure the cooking grates in the same manner as the cookbox. #IworkforWeber
 

Jim C in Denver

TVWBB All-Star
Regardless, if you're looking for an even crust over the entire surface of the meat (as opposed to just getting grill marks), I'd recommend using a griddle.

Agree.

Rob -- you basically have a newer version of my 20+ year old grill. How does this sear look to you?
 

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Scott Smith

TVWBB Pro
Just keep in mind that using a Weber gas grill in a manner outside of the way we've designed it could create an unsafe situation leading to personal injury and/or property damage. Flavorizer Bars are not meant to be a load bearing structure and can't secure the cooking grates in the same manner as the cookbox. #IworkforWeber
While I agree with this concern 100%, the rest of us do need to stand with Rob so he isn't the only one singled out. Read right here about non-OEM part installations, homespun gas conversions, frankengrills, extra tank holders, pie plates as heat shields, improvised warming racks.............
 

John Burns

TVWBB Member
While I agree with this concern 100%, the rest of us do need to stand with Rob so he isn't the only one singled out. Read right here about non-OEM part installations, homespun gas conversions, frankengrills, extra tank holders, pie plates as heat shields, improvised warming racks.............
I totally understand. I'm not trying to stifle anyone's creative solutions. At the end of the day, once you buy a product it's yours to do with as you see fit. For background, I started off in Weber Consumer Care, so when I see things like cooking grates on Flavorizer Bars it sets off alarm bells in my head. I would just urge caution. :)
 

Shane - glitchy

TVWBB Super Fan
Ok, this is 5 pages long, so I’ll admit I just skimmed it. I had a E-210 a few years ago that I picked up at a Wally World end of season blow out. It seared about like your pics and it was gone the next Spring. I know you don‘t have to cook everything at Mach 10, but it’s nice to put a little crust on a steak sometimes and even nicer to do it quickly after a Sous Vide cook. I now have a Genesis E-345 and it’s a little better, but still wish it had more direct energy on it‘s own.

My two suggestions (and I apologize if they both been offered already) are GrillGrates or a Steelmade griddle insert if that will fit. I’m not a GrillGrate evangelist, there are some downsides to them. However, they do amplify heat and provide more conductive energy. The other benefit to them is how much they reduce flare ups. You can also flip them and get even more of a griddle type surface. I’m back to running a half set of them on my Genesis because I am trying to sear often at max power after sous vide or smoking on my pellet grill and got tired of major flare ups. I want a good dark brown sear with maybe a few tiny charred bits on a ribeye, not a bunch of char from it catching on fire 10 times in 3-4 minutes.

Here‘s tonight’s flank steak, fully cooked 2 zone front sear on the Genesis with GrillGrates on the direct side (I do have an extra sear burner on top of more BTUs on the main and I’m LP. Just throwing out the disclaimers since I’m not offering you any promises, just options you could try.
 

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RobSmith

TVWBB Member
I think you got a good bit closer with your creative fix. Maybe try some seasoning with a bit of brown sugar that will caramelize to help with that overall crust.



The other idea is as others suggest and use a cast iron pan/griddle and do a quick sear on both sides before switching to your new set up. That would give you the best of overall crust and some sear marks for eye candy.
Thanks for the tips Jon.
That's an awesome looking piece-0-meat!
 

RobSmith

TVWBB Member
One thing that stands out to me is that you cooked with the lid open. Weber gas grills are designed to be used with the lid closed. Regardless, if you're looking for an even crust over the entire surface of the meat (as opposed to just getting grill marks), I'd recommend using a griddle. https://www.weber.com/US/en/accesso...ry/tools--et--cookware/griddle-7658/7658.html

Thanks John,
As the saga goes, I've tried cooking on this grill with the lid closed, lid open, grates flipped upside down/downside up//sideways, and in an obtuse triangle config. Temperature set to max...and 300 degrees....middle burner off, on and in everything in between. Cooked steaks (sous vide and not), pork chops (sous vide and not), chicken, pork tenderloin, burgers, corn cobs and an eye of round.
I've only had satisfactory results on this grill with the burgers and chicken. And I'm tired of eating tan meat with grill marks since June.
And I don't mean any disrepect to the many folks who have recommended a griddle/cast iron skillet fix...but I have a gas stove in my kitchen with an awesome burner that'll work exactly the same as the Weber if I choose to put a skillet on it.

I want a grill that'll grill, not fry.

Yes, I too have cooked some awesome meats in a cast iron skillet, on the stovetop. It is MUCH more convenient than going outside to put my cast iron skillet in my grill and waste energy and time to fry a steak on a griddle surface. In the semi-dark. Being eaten by mosquitos and jumped on by lizards (remember - Florida)

John, this rant is in no way directed at you, or anyone else who has thoughtfully provided suggestions on how to get my Weber to cook better.

Many of you are also obviously gearheads. Remember the days when you had a small block Ford motor in your Mustang/Torino/Cougar and you toiled endlessly to get that 210 HP up to 215 or 220 even? Hundreds of dollars spent on headers, manifolds, 4 barrels and mufflers, just to find that you could have bought a faster car for the money you've put into this one?

Maybe not the most apt analogy, but I still feel that at $600, a grill should do more than bake, and I shouldn't need to modify it in order to get it to put a little more brown on my steak.

I've already tried modifying my cooking methods (using some of your suggestions), and have only seen partial positive results.

As someone pointed out, we've got 5 pages of responses here, and I'm thinking I shouldn't waste any more of your time with this issue. I'm sure you all, like me - have got better things to do.

I originally was hoping for a quick fix, and I see there's not one.

Thanks to you many supportive gentlemen, your thoughts, ideas and inspirations.

If anything changes from my end, I'll be sure to post.

Best Regards,
 

Jon Tofte

TVWBB Olympian
Rob,
We sure would have liked to have given you a complete and easy fix, but I hope that we have at least been a good source of ideas.

I think it comes down in part to Weber being cautious about how many BTUs they throw at your food. One fix that wasn't mentioned is that you COULD replace the orifices with ones with slightly larger openings. You would get more heat then, for sure. The problem - and it is a big one - is that doing so would probably NOT BE SAFE AT ALL, 😱🧑‍🚒🔥 because Weber didn't design that grill to be able to handle that kind of heat.

Since, like me, you enjoy car analogies, if you return you can get a laugh out of my crazy "The Judge" grill where I recklessly disregarded these cautions to make my very own "muscle grill!" :cool: If you don't want to read all of it, jump to page three:

 

 

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