- Food and Cooking»
- Culinary Arts & Cooking Techniques
Three Upgrades for your Weber Grills
Treat your Weber charcoal grill to a little bit of love!
Every now and then it is just simple fun to go shopping for toys for your grills. For those of us whose primary hobby is grilling it is gratifying to find new ways to get more use out of our grills.
This Hub features two items you can get for a Weber charcoal grill that are great investments and will bring you a ton of fun. Keep reading to understand why you might want to pick up a set of GrillGrates and a kettle rotisserie before grilling season gets underway.
If you are looking for a Weber kettle rotisserie you have two options; the one manufactured by Weber and the one manufactured by Cajun Bandit. Both rotisserie units are nice and will make you happy but there are some significant differences between them.
Before we get to what is different between these units let’s look at what they have in common. The only Weber kettle rotisserie size available from either company is for the 22.5 inch grills. Both units consist of a support ring that sits on top of the kettle and has a mounting bracket for a rotisserie motor.
The motor for the Weber rotisserie is powered by 110V electricity so you need to run an extension cord to make the motor turn. The motor for the Cajun Bandit rotisserie is powered by two D batteries so no extension cord is needed. When I first saw the battery powered motor I thought there was no way it would be any good. However, everyone I have talked to on the barbecue forums says the motor is a workhorse and turning power is not a problem.
The support ring is also very different between the two rotisserie units. The Weber ring is constructed from porcelain enameled steel. The ring is black which matches the color of most Weber kettles. The Cajun Bandit ring is made of stainless steel. Personally I think the Cajun Bandit ring looks cooler. As far as I am concerned these are purely cosmetic issues as both rings should last at least 15 years.
An important difference between the two support rings is that the Cajun Bandit ring actually fits tighter than the Weber ring. This is especially true on the Weber Performer kettles where the poor placement of two screws causes the Weber support ring to wobble a little. This is important if you want to use your rotisserie at low temperatures (250-275F). The excess air that the Weber ring lets in makes your grill run hotter than normal. If tight temperature control is important to you then give serious thought to the Cajun Bandit.
The last difference between these rotisseries comes down to price. Both units are priced around $135 but the Weber rotisserie comes with free shipping when you buy it through Amazon. The shipping charge for the Cajun Bandit is about $30. Overall the Cajun Bandit is a little more expensive than the Weber rotisserie but I think it is the nicer product.
A Weber rotiiserie in use!
I just found out about GrillGrates two months ago and I am kicking myself for not knowing about these sooner. I realize that these look like a gimmick but they are the real deal when it comes to laying down grill marks.
GrillGrates are panels of anodized aluminum that have raised ridges above a perforated base. The grate essentially converts your kettle into an infrared grill. The ridges get extremely hot which make them perfect for making grill marks. The base protects the meat from the direct keat of the charcoal. This is important as it lets you leave the meat undistured long enough for the grill marks to fully form.
The perforated base prevents flare-ups by chanelling any dripping grease away from the food. In a way using GrillGrates is like adding Weber Flavorizer bars to a charcoal grill. What exactly are Flavorizer bars? I've got that covered in the next module!
What the heck is a Flavorizer bar?
There are many items that make Weber gas grills very special. They are built rock solid and will typically last for at least 20 years with a little maintenance. They also cook extremely evenly and as a rule rarely have problems with flare ups.
The ability of Weber gas grills to cook evenly and without flare ups is primarily attributable to the inclusion of Weber Flavorizer bars. Weber Flavorizer bars were introduced in the early 1980s as a substitute for lava rock. Lava rocks were often included at the base of many gas grills as they helped distribute the heat from the burner tube. While the lava rock had acceptable performance it suffered from some drawbacks. Lava rocks discolored with use and became ugly as they filled with grease. Not only were the grease clogged rocks unattractive but they would also ignite and be the source of flare ups that had to be fought during a grilling session.
To overcome the drawbacks of lava rocks Weber decided to see if they could be replaced with metal panels. The original Weber Flavorizer bar was a single metal panel bent at a 120 degree angle over the burner of the Weber Go-Anywhere. It was discovered that the metal panel not only did a better job of distributing heat throughout the grill but it also become so hot that dripping grease would vaporize on contact. This vaporized fat smelled great and added a nice flavor to the grilled meat. Thus the term Flavorizer bar was born.
In 1986 Weber took the concept of the Flavorizer bar and moved it from the portable Go-Anywhere grill and placed them in its new line of full sized backyard gas grills, the Weber Genesis. The Weber Genesis was a three burner grill and contained thirteen Flavorizer bars. The bottom five Weber Flavorizer bars were the longest and ran from right to left in the firebox parallel to the burner tubes. The remaining eight Flavorizer bars were shorter and were placed perpendicular to the burner tubes directly below the grill grate.
In reality Weber only needed to include three Flavorizer bars, one above each burner tube, to prevent flare ups. The addition of the other twelve Flavorizer bars ensured the heat from the burners was perfectly distributed throughout the grill. This was the type of attention to performance that made the Weber Genesis such a revolutionary gas grill.
The modern Weber Genesis grills have sacrificed some quality for price as they now only utilize five Flavorizer bars. If you ever need to replace the Flavorizer bars on your Weber grill make sure you check out the aftermarket bars made by Rivers Edge. These bars are made for 16 gauge stainless steel and will last forever. The aftermarket bars cost about half of what Weber is charging for a thinner gauge stainless Flavorizer bar.