I’m not a member of the cult of the Big Green Egg. And truth be told, it’s because I’m cheap.
Even though I know all about the low-heat/high-heat advantages of ceramic kamado-style cookers, I’m simply not willing to invest $700 when I can get so much more bang for the buck for $100.
To me, the kettle-style charcoal grill, pioneered by Weber, is one of the most perfect, durable and affordable devices ever invented for capturing the cooking power of live fire and smoke. I have a Weber right now that’s lasted for over a decade and is still going strong.
The basic 22.5-inch Weber model is $99 at Lowes, though you can spend $299 for the One-Touch Gold 26.75-inch model, which includes nice features like an enclosed ash catcher.
It also includes a hinged stainless steel cooking grate that lets you easily add charcoal or wood chunks when you’re indirect grilling or smoking. That’s a $29 upgrade for the basic model that I would highly recommend, along with a chimney starter and a rib rack.
You can use almost any outdoor cooking technique on a kettle grill, including direct grilling, indirect grilling, smoke-roasting and smoking.
I grill steaks and burgers, make beer-can chicken and chicken under a brick, smoke pork shoulders and use a combination of smoking, indirect grilling and direct grilling to make baby back ribs.
My guru is Steven Raichlen, who is sponsored by Weber. But being a Weber fan, myself, that’s OK.
I think Raichlen is a really smart guy, especially when it comes to translating grill and barbecue techniques for home cooks. I’ve interviewed him several times and tested a whole bunch of his recipes with near perfect results.
If you’ve never figured out a foolproof method for cooking ribs, Raichlen’s First-Timers Ribs recipe is a go-to. You can find it on his website here:
Are you a Big Green Egg head? A cheapo Weber devotee, like me?
We’ll be talking about this stuff all week, during Food and More Grill Week.
Let the arguments and discussions begin.
— Bob Townsend, Food and More blog.