The sun is out, and BBQ season is in full swing, so if you don’t have one yet, it’s a good time to buy yourself a Weber. It’s the most popular brand in Australia, and is a hit around the world as well. Weber is so ubiquitous that lots of customers use ‘Weber’ as a generic term for any type of BBQ, whether or not it’s manufactured by the Weber company. Why are they so well-loved though? They’ve built a niche and found the sweet spot between tech and nostalgia.
The first ever Weber was a dome-shaped kettle BBQ that ran on charcoal. That was in 1952, and today, Weber Kettles retain their distinct style and quality, but they’re made with modern improved components. They employ porcelain enamel for the body work, have a V-grate for better circulation (of heat and air), and built-in thermometers, among other features. Most Webers come with a 10-year warranty, and aside from their charcoal units, options are available with gas and electric cook-tops as well.
You can buy something small and portable for camp cook-outs, or opt for a comprehensive unit with storage space and work tables. Many Webers have wheels or foldable legs for ease of transport, and are available in several colours. They have over half a century of experience, so they know what works and have continued to innovate while keeping the aspects that made us love them in the first place. Let’s explore some of your buying options.
If you like to cook on high heat and you enjoy a nice, smoky flavour to your food, you should go for a charcoal Weber. They come in three distinct styles – round, rectangular, and cylindrical. Aside from aesthetics, each charcoal BBQ has its own individual benefits. Weber Kettles have a hinged lid, so you have the option to cook with the top open when you want a crisp result, or to keep the lid down for something moister. The thermometer is inside the lid so you don’t need to buy a separate one to test cooking temps.
Rectangular Webers are lightweight and their legs are retractable, so you can fold them up for storage and unfurl them to create a solid BBQ stand. But if you want a well-smoked cut of meat, veggies, or roasted pie, you want a Smokey Mountain Weber. They have a vertically elongated cylinder, so your charcoal smoke has more room to waft around your food. Also, there’s a water pan lower down the cylinder. It supplies a steady flow of steam to the food as it cooks, keeping it basted.
The main disadvantage of charcoal barbecue is the fuss and mess. They ignite more slowly than other BBQ types, and there’s lots of soot and ash. Weber charcoal BBQs have a one-touch system of cleaning. Basically, each BBQ is equipped with an ash catcher. When you want to clean your BBQ, use the slider mechanism. It moves to the left with a soft touch. It pushes all the ash into the catcher. You can then tug it out, empty it, and put it back in place. Webers also have a drip tray. It catches anything that seeps out of your food as it cooks.
Weber baby Q BBQ offers the best of both worlds. It’s a gas BBQ, so you can light it in seconds, and it’s conveniently sized for easy transportation. As a smaller unit, its warranty is 5 years instead of the usual 10, but it’s a good quality unit that combines desirable features from other Webers. Its dome shape offers the same cooking style as Weber Kettles, because of the heat/air/moisture circulation factor. Its aesthetics are gorgeous, and it has a solid pair of legs that keep it stable on any (outdoor) cooking surface, from a table to a rock.
Electric Webers offer portability too, but you need access to an electrical fixture, so they’re not as easy to take on the road. You can use them in modern campsites though, the kind that have sockets you can plug your devices into. The Pulse series of electric Webers looks distinctly different from other units in the Weber range. Pulse is heavier on lines and not as curvy. It’s a more compact unit designed for small spaces, like a studio apartment or tiny balcony. The grills are cast iron and the body is porcelain enamel, just like other Webers.
However, Pulse Webers do have a digital iGrill thermometer which allows you to work your BBQ on your phone, using the Weber app. On your screen, you can check cooking temperatures and get a notification when your meal is ready to serve. The app and iGrill connect via Bluetooth, so depending on range, you can’t stray too far from the BBQ.