When you started grilling….


 

Mark Foreman

TVWBB Pro
Spoke to my neighbor today. He is a complete novice … match lite and cheap grocery store grill, $29 bucks (!!). I realized my grilling career started in the late 70s with a Hibatchi. lighter fluid, put BBQ sauce (Kraft/on sale) on chicken, incinerate…..

I got my first Weber in 1981 and that started a journey that have I loved and learned from ever since. And I have never stopped learning. I now have back yard full of Webers (5) and the incredible people here at tvwbb to fill in the gaps.

Fess up folks, what was you start….
 
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JSaus

TVWBB Super Fan
I started off with those cheap round charcoal grills with the tripod legs. Went the hibachi route after that-can't imagine why. Graduated to a few cheap gas grills before buying my first Weber, a Genesis Silver B 20 years ago. Looked about like this:
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Tim Snyder

TVWBB Super Fan
Yeah, back in the 1960s-70s my parents used gallons of lighter fluid, everything was cooked direct over the coals (everything burned and overcooked). As far as I remember, we used hibachi-type grills and cheaper steel kettle brands. Webers were too expensive. My first good grill was a 1985 Weber kettle purchased in the early 1990s for $5.00 at a yard sale. I still grilled direct for years, but at least knew enough to ditch the lighter fluid.

Grilling equipment and education has come a long way.
 

C Lewis

TVWBB Super Fan
Started to grill on my own when we got married back in '95 with a Meco charcoal grill like this one below. It was actually a really nice grill, had a hinged lid, adjustable grates, and lasted us for quite a long time. We also gave one to someone else as a housewarming gift, and they had theirs for many years as well. I don't remember it costing very much, as we didn't have much money just starting out back then. I hate to admit it, but we were the lighter fluid people back then too. 😢

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Added a Brinkman smoker and a gas grill a few years later, I think it was some cheapo from Target or something, just to try it out. Lasted about a year, and went through various brands of gassers for the next several years before finally buying my first Weber, my Spirit E-310, that I still have.

Charlie
 

Colin

TVWBB Pro
Growing up, my folks never grilled anything. I learned on my own post 1980. Small, cheap charcoal grills and always lit with lighter fluid. My first 'good' grill was a CharBroil NG model offered by the company to employees. That's when I started learning and I wore that thing out. Fast forward to 2005. Bought a Weber Q 120, woohoo! Then on Father's Day, my family bought me a WSM 18. Life has not been the same since.
 

EricV.

TVWBB Pro
My biggest or shall I say saddest moments/regrets, was dowsing the coals with all of that nasty lighter fluid! I have come a long way baby!
 

Russ in CFL

TVWBB Fan
I was lucky enough that my father grilled steaks pretty much every weekend. He had a big gasser with lava rocks built into the back porch that he grilled on and was quite good at it. I guess you could say it is where my love for grilling and eventually smoking came from. I still have the marinade recipe that he used for the steaks and use it occasionally but I generally just use s&p these days.

My first grill was a couple of sad charbroils that was all I could afford at the time. I used them for many years (and many replaced burners) before finally getting the Genesis I still use to this day.
 

DanHoo

TVWBB All-Star
In the 60s, I was lucky. My parent's house had a built-in indoor charcoal grill where the exhaust lined up with the fireplace chimney. My Dad cooked on it often. I really liked grilled food much, much, much better than anything else except maybe pizza.

When we moved to CA in the early 70s, the house had a gas hookup for a BBQ, and my Dad bought a natural gas grill about the size/shape as a Genesis but it wasn't a weber. It had lava rocks and I learned to cook on it when I was 13 or 14. I can't even think of counting the number of burgers I cooked on it as a teen. I wasn't allowed to cook steaks without permission, but burgers for me and my friends were always available in the freezer.

In '81 my sister gave me a weber Smokey Joe as a "going away to college" present. I cooked steaks, hot dogs, burgers, cheese sandwiches whatever on the outside stairway / fire escape in the Dorms. Easy to make friends when you have a BBQ. We took it to the beach, to parties. I wouldn't loan it out to anyone but I would be happy to come along and fire it up. I got invited to a bunch of things and I'm not sure it was my good looks or personality, but might have been because I had a little BBQ...

I kept the smokey joe and used it for 15 to 20 years until the base rusted out. It went on countless camping trips and even though friends had the little propane powered grills this made the best food.
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John K BBQ

TVWBB Pro
I'm fairly sure the first charcoal grill I ever laid eyes on was a Weber Kettle, but I'll never know for sure. I had a little hibachi grill that looked like a Weber Go anywhere when I was in college, and we grilled a lot of meat on it, and it all tasted good went well with microwaved baked potatoes and cheap beer.

Other than Weber Grills, I also get nostalgic about heavy walled offset smokers, and also this crazy grill, which I think was a "Big Boy" brand. My wife's uncle Larry owns and operates one like this unit I'm showing below. When these guys hit about 50 years old, the post that the grill grate mounts to is no longer "plumb" and the grate gets a little wonky, it's hard to turn the crank to adjust the grill height above the charcoal bed, and there are no air vents for the charcoal to draw air from, but other than that it's fun to use ;) . I'm looking forward to seeing Uncle Larry and his vintage 1960's charcoal grill again in a few weeks. I'll see if I can get some real pics of it in action to share.
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Brian_D

TVWBB Pro
As a kid in the 70's, I remember my dad had a charcoal grill & he used lighter fluid to get the coals going. I swear lighter fluid from back then made flames 5-6 feet high!
At some point my dad ditched the charcoal & got a gasser - it had lava rock in it like others have mentioned. I had forgotten about that!

When I was a teenager In the 80's, I think everyone's dad had a gasser. Going to parties, someone would usually drag out the (absent) dad's gas grill. Nobody knew what they were doing & inevitably, <WHOOMPFF> someone would get their hair singed lighting the thing lol.
Hamburger meat would mysteriously materialize, and soon any-&-every body who walked past the grill would pour beer on the meat, because you know - "it adds flavor!" All I can say is, I'm glad this was before Samonella, Listeria, e.coli & all the other baddies that'll get you sick these days! Those patties, charred like a Hockey Puck on the outside, would be raw on the inside!

I moved into a 2nd floor apartment with the better half in the mid 90's. One day we went to this new store called "Osh"; I spotted a Smokey Joe & suddenly had a serious need to bbq over coals like my dad used to do - 2nd floor be dammed! I cringe now but, Ahh, the nativity of youth! I'm glad to report nothing bad ever happened...
We moved into a house the following year & always always used lighter fluid or match light coals. It's what you did... It's what dad did.

I inherited a Meco grill when my gf's uncle passed - just like the one in the pic C Lewis posted. I really liked that grill - it had lots of vertical space to do beer can chicken & was super easy to clean. It had a charcoal tray that you'd take out to dump the ashes. Apparently, my parents must of thought that grill, with a missing knob & the other knob dry rotted & cracked was pretty sad; they bought me a Weber kettle for my birthday. And it was all downhill from there...
 

TonyUK

TVWBB Wizard
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Early 70s my Dad had one very similar to this. He had it for years. But the model we had was 'pimped'. The cooking grate had an integrated screw-type spindle that located into a slot in the centre of the bowl. Depending on which way you spun the grate it would raise or lower. You had to be careful how far you raised it as it would screw itself out of the grill and dump your grub in the coals or on the ground. A big bag of unknown brand lump charcoal and a container of 'accellerant' was de rigeur. For years I thought the 'woomph' & 6' flames was a compulsory part of the ritual to getting the grill fired up.
Notice the slots in the wind break. Now we're Cadillacin'! Grate for laying skewers across whilst you burnt cooked something on the grate. (y)Back in the day that was considered cooking 'indirect'. :rolleyes:
Happy Days!
 

MichaelM

TVWBB Super Fan
I was young.. maybe ten or so. Early '70's.
We had a charcoal grill like the ones pictures above but without the rotis. I don't think Dad enjoyed grilling, or maybe I enjoyed it more. Lighter fluid initially but once that grill died, I cooked on a cast iron Hibachi like this.
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I used an electric arc tool to start the coals.

Later 'upgraded' to a no-name gasser with lava rocks. I can remember painting that a few times, so it must have lasted a bunch of years. When I moved out on my own I was lucky enough to live on the water and bought a few boats. the first was a beat up Bayliner and I recall sitting a small gas grill on the table on the back deck. That was great.. until it wasn't. First wake that rocked the boat sent the hot grill flying across the deck.

Bigger boat warranted a better grill... a stainless Magma Marine Kettle (mounted in a gimbal), which I still have and use often (the kettle not the boat).
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When I moved to this house a few decades ago I bought an unreasonably large Lynx gasser that has proved to be bomb-proof. Converted to natural gas. Since buying it I have had to change the briquettes, the briquette trays and burners (maybe $300 total) and it still works and looks as good as when I bought it. Can't get nearly as hot as I would like and I spent years trying (unsuccessfully) to get a good reverse sear.

Added the WSM about two years ago and it was a revelation... the rest is all Weber.
 

Timothy F. Lewis

TVWBB Olympian
John,(bbq), my dad had a similar unit but, it had a warming oven on the top, I was maybe twelve when we had that, then Dad decided it was time for a kettle! So, after the Weber was on scene, there was no turning back! Aside from a short time when I was away when I used a hibachi (very handily, if I do say so myself) I’ve pretty much used nothing but Weber grills!
So, I guess that would make it about fifty years I’ve been playing in this pool! Nine grills in the stable these days 3 are ”unfired” but, the rest see action most of the week!
Michael,
That’s the hibachi I used when I was in Seattle, threw down some pretty darned good food with it!

Oh, no, never used gasoline, lamp oil once but never gasoline.
 

Darryl - swazies

TVWBB All-Star
Grilling with Broil King propane my whole life.
Got my hands on a free 14" Joe, not free but it's an easy way to put it.
Fell in love with the taste and the " fun " of it all.
Bought the performer I have now ( my favorite bbq I own out of 4 ) about 2 months later.
Had a good idea on how to grill while using the propane, learned a lot really fast once the performer changed my life.
Lots of reading, already had the indirect aspect working in my favor.
Lots of friendly help from all the friendly people here.
Still learning everyday, like today I am making flank steak taco's ( similar to a skirt steak I want to believe ). Never cooked a flank in my life and haven't had the time yet today to watch or read any recipes.....should turn out perfect as far as I can see it going.
 

ChuckH

TVWBB Super Fan
I was young.. maybe ten or so. Early '70's.
We had a charcoal grill like the ones pictures above but without the rotis. I don't think Dad enjoyed grilling, or maybe I enjoyed it more. Lighter fluid initially but once that grill died, I cooked on a cast iron Hibachi like this.
07e5d74ffb8c940f221920580223235a.jpg

I used an electric arc tool to start the coals.

Later 'upgraded' to a no-name gasser with lava rocks. I can remember painting that a few times, so it must have lasted a bunch of years. When I moved out on my own I was lucky enough to live on the water and bought a few boats. the first was a beat up Bayliner and I recall sitting a small gas grill on the table on the back deck. That was great.. until it wasn't. First wake that rocked the boat sent the hot grill flying across the deck.

Bigger boat warranted a better grill... a stainless Magma Marine Kettle (mounted in a gimbal), which I still have and use often (the kettle not the boat).
310290_1.jpg


When I moved to this house a few decades ago I bought an unreasonably large Lynx gasser that has proved to be bomb-proof. Converted to natural gas. Since buying it I have had to change the briquettes, the briquette trays and burners (maybe $300 total) and it still works and looks as good as when I bought it. Can't get nearly as hot as I would like and I spent years trying (unsuccessfully) to get a good reverse sear.

Added the WSM about two years ago and it was a revelation... the rest is all Weber.
I had one of those Magma Marine Kettles on my boat. Hated that thing from the day I mounted it on my boat. It had only two levels, off, and crematorium. It now, (in my best Sicilian accent) swims with the fishes.
 

Kevin L (NKY)

TVWBB Gold Member
My dad had several curb side finds of a few types of grills but cooked on a Weber kettle most, he made a coal stater from a 3 lb coffee can,he cooked everything chicken,fish,burgers the works. My first was a Habichi as that was all I could afford. I went afew years and then bought a Meco, got my first Weber in the early 90's now have 5 and learn something new on every cook. The smell reminds me of growing up.
 

Michael Richards

TVWBB Guru
I grow up with my dad always having a gas grill in the backyard and us cooking on it multiple nights a week year round. I remember many of stormy nights having it half in the garage and half under the overhang still getting wet from rain, but still cooking non the less. I still love cooking outside while it is snowing. My dad wasn't a cook by any means (his signature dish was burnt grilled cheese), and was usually getting yelled at by my mom for not having the meat done when she had everything else ready for dinner. This was half because he was tinkering in the garage on another outside project when he was suppose to be manning the grill, and half because he was just doing his best to keep up with her! Then when he did serve the meat, it were never cooked to my mom's liking :LOL: :LOL: :LOL: . This lead to me taking over a lot of the grilling duties in my early teen years. I loved to cook and felt like I understood food in a way I just didn't when it come to many other things that my dad and brothers kicked butt in. I remember our neighbor telling my dad and I about the way to cook a steak was to get that grill as hot as you could and get them cook the way you wanted it on the outside and then turn the heat down way low until it was done. I remember the first time I did this age 14 or 15 and my mom and dad where like you are going to ruin all those steaks (cooking for like 10), do you know what you are doing, I said yeah, but I wasn't sure. They turned out to be a massive success.
When I had a young family I used a Walmart portable gas grill (knockoff weber go anywhere) that my wife got me for one of my first father's day. I used that thing to death! After my brothers and my dad making fun of me for hosting my daughter's birthday party with a good bit of people cooking on that little well used grill, they went and got me a 4 burner gas grill from Lowes. I had that thing for 10 years and it did me great. When I moved out of my last house the grill did not have the life left in it to make the move with me.
This is when charcoal come into my life! I wanted to be able make pulled pork. This lead me to getting a barely used brinkmann style smoker off marketplace. I did use lighter fluid, but I used the all natural lighter fluid... it does not make it any better, but I still tell myself it does.
After falling in love with making pulled pork and bbq chicken thighs, I upgraded to my first Weber ever, my used WSM 14 and found this place. I learned 99% of what I know about charcoal (management and cooking) here. First accessory was a charcoal chimney, then I got my first Weber Kettle shortly after.

My late father-in-law always had a 22 in Weber Kettle in the backyard and twice each summer he would fire it up and make the best bbq chicken thighs I have ever had. Those were the bbq events of the summer. Everyone made it home when he said he was going to be grilling thighs. He would usually fire it up a few more times over the summer for burgers and dogs. He probable used it max 10 times a year. He was secretive about his recipes and his techniques and no one was allowed around the fire as they may steal company secrets. Growing up using gas grills and my Father-in-law only using his kettle every once and a while reinforces a false belief that a gas grill was for those who did everyday cooking, a Weber Kettle and charcoal grilling in general was for those less invested in bbqing who did it every once in a while. I have cooked on my late father in laws kettle twice since his passing. The summer I first started to play around with charcoal I attempted to make chicken thighs, everyone said they were amazing, but they were not dads. I wish I would have pressed my luck more with him to see how he he made a few of his best dishes and I wish I would have gotten into charcoal before his passing.
 

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BFletcher

TVWBB Guru
It would have been nice if my Dad had been into outdoor cooking when I was a youngster in the '60's but that was not the case. When I first married in my early twenties the budget did not allow for a gas grill, so we begrudgingly bought a Weber Kettle. I never learned to embrace it and it sat unused and I abandoned outdoor cooking until we were able to get on gas. I never learned to thrive on that, either, but we did use it some. In December 2015 something drew me to read about smoking and I bought an electric Char-Broil smoker and it fueled an interest in outdoor cooking; one month later I bought my first WSM. Then I found this site 8 months later and the rest is history just like my money.
 
You guys are really triggering some memories.

I vividly recall my Uncle Frank lighting up his Big Boy type grill (like John's picture above) at his annual July 4th extended family cook out. Mid to late 1960s. Used gasoline from his lawn mower.

One year, he scorched the side of his house -- the flames must have been 10 feet high. My cousins and siblings always gathered around to watch the show. RIP Frank -- fun-est uncle in history.
 
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