High end grill just in time for summer.
By John B. Virata
Backyard grilling is mostly the domain of men. Grills mostly serve a primal purpose and that is to cook meat. In the United States, summertime and especially the 4th of July is the time grilling, cold beer, and a good smoke. I’ve been grilling for the better part of my adult life and was recently in the market for a new propane grill. Now some grilling purists will say that charcoal grills are the only way to go, or that grilling is different from barbecuing, and it is. For me, it depends on the application. I’ve got experience with both, but my 10- year-old Jenn Air (made in China by Nexgrill) is burnt out, and to replace all the parts to make it serviceable will set me back $500. So I figured why not just buy a brand new grill? And I was on my search.
Nexgrill is the dominant marketer of barbeque grills in the United States. Its grills have all kinds of household names on them, including the aforementioned Jenn-Air as well as Kitchenaid, GrillMaster, Member’s Mark, and Nexgrill. Interested in a Nexgrill-made grill? Do your research on these products before you buy.
After driving around town looking at the various grills on the market, I went with the Weber Genesis S-330 liquid propane grill. It is the stainless steel model that has a stainless steel hood, side tables, and doors. The cart is aluminum. The burners, the grill, and the flavorizer bars are stainless steel. Now comes the interesting part. Your Made in China grill marketers will tout 304 stainless as the best stainless steel for a grill. And it is. However, that stainless steel grill will only look good after several years, as the rest of the grill, the section where you actually have fire and cook your food, will be burnt out. Again, do your research to determine if you want to spend $300-500 or $600 on a stainless steel barbecue grill that is made in China but will give you just 5 or so years of service before the insides get burnt out. The Weber Genesis S-330 is not constructed with 304 stainless, and given the price of the grill ($949) you would expect it to be. But for whatever reason, Weber has opted not to use 304 stainless steel on this model grill.
Weber Genesis S-330 Quality
I bought this model based on owner reviews on the Internet. The one thing that kept coming up was quality and service. Folks like the quality of this grill. From the burners to the cart to the hood, the grill just exudes quality. On top of this is the company’s technical support after the sale. Owners call it first class tech support. I have not yet had the chance to use the tech support as everything that was supposed to be in the box was in the box.
The unit in the box is fairly heavy and unwieldy. If you can have it delivered, do so. Some home improvement stores offer free assembly and if you have the means to get it pre-assembled, do so. Otherwise expect to set aside three hours or so to assemble the grill. The grill comes with a single wrench to use for assembly. My advice is to not bother with the wrench and get out your socket set and use it. Don’t have a socket set? Go buy one. The build will go so much faster. The build was fairly uneventful but keep in mind that there are a lot of parts to this grill and 28 steps as detailed by the assembly poster that ships with the grill. While the poster is great for a reference, an even better option is for Weber to have a video build of this grill on Youtube so you can easily follow along and stop when you have to.
After the grill is assembled you are ready to fire the unit up. Because it is brand new, expect to run the unit for a good 15-20 minutes to burn off any excess materials that may have settled. After this you are good to go. My first grilling? A couple filet mignons cooked rare, a pair of ribeye steaks cooked medium-well, some big onions and corn-on-the-cob. The grill fired up with a simple push of the button and cooked the meats and veggies flawlessly. Weber recommends that you close the grill while cooking and only open it to turn meats and check that it is cooking to your satisfaction. This is the same advice that the company gives when using its charcoal grills. A big thermometer sits in the center of the hood to give you temperatures in real time.
The Weber Genesis S-330 is a bargain at $949 considering the unit is made in USA, comes with a 10-year warranty (as opposed to 2 to 5 for the lesser made in China models) on the cookbox and lid assembly, five years on the stainless steel burner tubes, cooking grates and flavorizer bars, and two years on everything else. It looks fantastic. Check the specs below for more information. While other grills out there make look nice, keep in mind that they are made in China, and their parts are questionable at best, not to mention the customer service. There are other manufacturers that make fantastic grills in the United States but they are out of this price range. Weber is an American institution and makes quality grills. Its lesser models are made overseas, and of course, have shorter warranties. My advice on any big ticket item? Do your research and buy the right item the first time.
- Primary cooking area (square inches): 507
- Warming rack area (square inches): 130
- Total cooking area (square inches): 637
- Stainless steel shroud with center-mounted thermometer
- Stainless steel work surfaces: 2
- Front-mounted control panel
- Painted enclosed steel cabinet with stainless steel doors and stainless steel handles
- Front access, porcelain-enameled grease tray with catch pan
- Porcelain-enameled heat deflectors
- Heavy-duty front locking swivel casters: 2
- Heavy-duty back swivel casters: 2
- Dimensions (Lid Open)
- Height (inches): 64.5
- Width (inches): 60
- Depth (inches): 30
- Dimensions Lid Closed
- Height (inches): 47.5
- Width (inches): 60
- Depth (inches): 30
- Stainless steel burners: 3
- 7 mm diameter stainless steel rod cooking grates
- Stainless steel Flavorizer® bars
- Main burners: BTU-per-hour input: 38,000
- Side burner: BTU-per-hour input: 12,000
- Individual electronic ignition system
- Sear Station® burner: BTU-per-hour input: 10,000