Author Topic: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...  (Read 5509 times)

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Offline petef

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Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« on: March 26, 2012, 08:37:26 PM »
Let's Talk About Gas Grills. For starters, I have outlined below 4 main issues
and my related questions. Feel free to add or ask anything related to gas grills.

* I love my current gas grill with cast iron H-style burner and lava rocks. I like how the rocks shield the flame, capture the juices & smoke. I also found that I can add clumps of water soaked wood chips to the rocks to conveniently add smoke to my grill.

With newer model grills, why the move away from Lava Rocks?

Can any specific newer model grills be retrofitted w/Lava rocks?

Are any new model grills setup for normal use with lava rocks?

Any other thoughts on Lava rocks versus flavor bars?


* I'm currently looking at Weber grills in the $300 to $700 range. This means Weber Spirit or Genesis models. The grill area of the Spirit Grill seems large enough for my use mostly cooking for 1 person, but I'm concerned that it won't get hot enough for searing steaks or grilling pizza. Weber Spirit Grill has 2 burners, but they seem too far spaced to produce an even intense heat across the entire grill surface. I'd hate to buy this grill and find out that my old H-style cast iron burner gave more even heat.

Even the Genesis grill seems to have the 3 burners spaced too far apart. One model has a special SEAR section of the grill where they seem to have added 1 more burner between the far spaced burners for searing meat. This kind of validates my theory that the burners are spaced too far apart.

Any thoughts on the spacing of the burners on a Spirit or Genesis grill?

Any thoughts on the choice between Weber Spirit Vs Weber Genesis grills?


* Grills typically come with porcelain coated steel grills, cast iron grills, or stainless steel bar grills. Forget the cheap porcelain coated grills. I much prefer the bar style grills, but Weber does not offer them in all their models.

What's are the pros and cons of the cast iron and the stainless steel bar grills?


* Baking Pizza on a Gas Grill. The most difficult problem in baking pizza on a gas grill is that the pizza bottom burns before the top has chance to brown and melt.

What grill features are most important for grilling pizza on a gas grill?

Any specific grill brand or model best suited for grilling pizza?


---pete---



Offline Don K

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #1 on: March 26, 2012, 11:36:49 PM »
If you love your current gas grill then why do you want to replace it?
The member formerly known as Colonel_Klink

Offline petef

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #2 on: March 27, 2012, 12:15:13 AM »
If you love your current gas grill then why do you want to replace it?


It's falling apart due to rust. I've keep repairing it adding new metal, replacing the burner and grates every few years, repainting it, etc. I'd love to upgrade to a higher quality grill that I won't have to constantly repair. My biggest fear is that I'll spend big money on a new grill only to wish for my old broken down grill again which performed much better.

Yeah, just like my new GE Washing machine that I purchased to replace my 24 year old washer. The new machine is pure crap in comparison. It doesn't clean as well, it's alot more complicated to operate, and I had to take extra measures to keep it from vibrating. So I'm learning that the old stuff often performs a hell of alot better than the new stuff. I'm just not sure if the same applies to gas grills.


---pete---

Offline Don K

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #3 on: March 27, 2012, 01:11:14 AM »
I think that the problem with lava rocks is that too much grease builds up in all of those little holes and eventually leads to flare-ups. This can be minimized by cranking the burners up on high after cooking is finished to burn off the leftover grease, but I think that a lot of people skip this. Using ceramic briquettes instead of lava rocks can help. Lava rocks are definitely getting harder to find. I use them as filtration media for my pond because they used to be easy to find and cheap. Not so much anymore.

As far as what's available in gas grills these days, I'm not going to be much help. I have been using the same gas grill for 16 years now and it's still going strong. It's a Holland brand grill. I use it year-round and almost daily during the summer months. They are not the fanciest grills available, especially by today's standards, but they are built like a tank.

AFAIK, the idea behind flavor bars is that the grease drips down onto them and burns off almost instantly, which reduces the chance for flare-ups. My Holland grill has a large stainless steel plate above the burner, across the whole grill that kind of serves the same purpose.

I have found that the best way to cook most meats on a gas grill is low and slow with the lid closed. This is what Holland grills are known for. Their BTU rating is actually quite low compared to other grills but if you keep the lid closed everything cooks slow and in its own smoke that's created by the grease dripping down on the metal plate (same idea behind the flavor bars). If you cook with the lid up you're losing all of the flavor into the air. Holland's slogan used to be, "If you're lookin', you're not cookin'."

Porcelain-coated cast iron is much better than porcelain-coated steel. I think that stainless is a little harder to keep clean than porcelain.

Oh well, I am falling asleep at the keyboard...the rest of my 2 cents tomorrow.

« Last Edit: March 27, 2012, 01:13:39 AM by Colonel_Klink »
The member formerly known as Colonel_Klink

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #4 on: March 27, 2012, 09:41:36 AM »
* Baking Pizza on a Gas Grill. The most difficult problem in baking pizza on a gas grill is that the pizza bottom burns before the top has chance to brown and melt.

What grill features are most important for grilling pizza on a gas grill?


---pete---



The rear IR burner (rotisserie burner) is nearly the only way to solve the top heat problem when cooking pizza on a gas grill.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline scott123

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2012, 08:28:15 PM »
The rear IR burner (rotisserie burner) is nearly the only way to solve the top heat problem when cooking pizza on a gas grill.

+1

Offline petef

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #6 on: March 28, 2012, 08:42:27 AM »
I think that the problem with lava rocks is that too much grease builds up in all of those little holes and eventually leads to flare-ups. This can be minimized by cranking the burners up on high after cooking is finished to burn off the leftover grease, but I think that a lot of people skip this. Using ceramic briquettes instead of lava rocks can help. Lava rocks are definitely getting harder to find. I use them as filtration media for my pond because they used to be easy to find and cheap. Not so much anymore.


CK, thank you for the detailed & informative reply. Flavor bars vs lava rocks or ceramic briquettes to reduce flare ups makes sense, but how do the flavor bars compare for taste of the grilled food?

Perhaps someone can share their opinion of how grilled food tastes after they switched from a lava rock grill to a flavor bar type gas grill?


---pete---

Offline petef

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #7 on: March 28, 2012, 08:47:07 AM »
The rear IR burner (rotisserie burner) is nearly the only way to solve the top heat problem when cooking pizza on a gas grill.

Any particular brand or model you would recommend?  I didn't see that feature on any of the grills I was looking at in my local stores.

Offline Jet_deck

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #8 on: March 28, 2012, 09:15:10 AM »
Any particular brand or model you would recommend?  I didn't see that feature on any of the grills I was looking at in my local stores.

No.

Most of our Home Depot / Lowes offer the rotisserie with the IR burner on some of the more expensive models.
Her mind is Tiffany-twisted, she got the Mercedes bends

Offline Don K

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #9 on: March 28, 2012, 02:50:28 PM »
Perhaps someone can share their opinion of how grilled food tastes after they switched from a lava rock grill to a flavor bar type gas grill?

I think that it depends on how you cook. Unless you are adding wood chips for smoke, any flavor that you get from cooking on an a gas grill comes from the meat's own juices burning and creating smoke. With lava rocks. the grease tends to burn off slowly and will build up, but with the flavor bars it's more of an immediate thing. The juices sizzle and burn off quickly.

You can get good flavor using a grill with flavor bars, but IMO you have to cook slowly with the lid closed. For most meats, I start out by preheating the grill until it's very hot and then I sear the meat on all sides. Then I turn the grill way down and finish cooking slowly with the grill lid closed. This way as the juices drip down onto the flavor bars it quickly burns off and creates smoke that imparts flavor into the meat. If you cook with the lid open, you loose all of that flavor and you might as well cook it inside because your not going to get that barbequed taste.

I think that you can get away with cooking with the lid up with lava rocks because there is a lot more grease buildup on the rocks that burns more slowly so you get more smoke. One downside to this though is that if you don't use the grill that often, that grease buildup gets rancid and will stink when it burns.
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Offline petef

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #10 on: March 28, 2012, 10:58:37 PM »
Looks like i'll need to spend more than I orginally anticipated. I found a great video on the Weber Genesis 330 which sells for about $900. I could probably get the Genesis 310 becasue I don't need the side burner.


BBQ Buying Tip #4 - Anatomy Of A Weber Grill
Check out the Stainless steel bar grates and the Sear station! Excellent!
I spent hours searching the web and finally found this great video.
<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx-8Ch6JyMQ&amp;feature=related" target="_blank" class="aeva_link bbc_link new_win">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bx-8Ch6JyMQ&amp;feature=related</a>



Ok, so I spend about $800 on a grill like the Genesis and I'm still at a loss compared to my crappy old rusty Sunbeam grill.
How do I add smoke? On my Sunbeam w/lava rocks I simply add some soaked wood chips diretly onto the lava rocks.

How do I rotisserie? I have a rotisserie kit for my Sunbeam, but will it adapt to the Weber grill?
I'll have to check on that myself, but perhaps someone here has some experience adding an aftermarket rotisserie to a Weber gill?

---pete---

« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 11:00:37 PM by petef »

Offline petef

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #11 on: March 28, 2012, 11:18:15 PM »
You can get good flavor using a grill with flavor bars, but IMO you have to cook slowly with the lid closed. For most meats, I start out by preheating the grill until it's very hot and then I sear the meat on all sides. Then I turn the grill way down and finish cooking slowly with the grill lid closed. This way as the juices drip down onto the flavor bars it quickly burns off and creates smoke that imparts flavor into the meat. If you cook with the lid open, you loose all of that flavor and you might as well cook it inside because your not going to get that barbequed taste.


The way I grill now is typically with Steaks and LondonBroil. Steak I grill over high heat for 3 to 5 minute, flip it once and grill another 2 to 4 minutes until medium or medium rare. So I need that intense heat.

London broil takes longer because it's typically a thicker cut of meat. But I like to add smoke. I soak some hickory wood chips in water about 30 minutes. I place the wet chips on the hot lava rocks in a couple of spots, close the grill and wait until I see the smoke. I then grill the london broil meat over high heat about 5 minutes, flip it and grill another 3 minutes over high heat until the intenal temp is about 135 deg.F. I typically grill with the lid closed unless I'm grilling very thin cuts of meat.


---pete---
« Last Edit: March 28, 2012, 11:20:30 PM by petef »

Offline petef

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #12 on: March 28, 2012, 11:29:10 PM »
No.

Most of our Home Depot / Lowes offer the rotisserie with the IR burner on some of the more expensive models.

Thanks, I'll check it out. From what I'm seeing online, the IR Rotisserie is only shown on Weber grills costing upwards of $1,600. That's a bit too rich for me. I may have to resort to rigging up an aftermarket rotiserie and skip the IR burner. 


---pete---


Offline Bigfoot21075

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #13 on: March 29, 2012, 09:52:30 AM »
Thanks, I'll check it out. From what I'm seeing online, the IR Rotisserie is only shown on Weber grills costing upwards of $1,600. That's a bit too rich for me. I may have to resort to rigging up an aftermarket rotiserie and skip the IR burner.  


---pete---



You can get the rotiserie kit (non IR) on any Weber Gas grill. I have one on my Genisis. When I had my Weber SUmmit with the IT, I never used it with the rotiserie. I just used the burners and got GREAT results. Weber makes a GREAT grill that lasts for a very long time despite my year round grilling and neglect. I got mine in natural gas so it runs off the house - no more tanks to refill. BEST investment EVER for a gas grill.
« Last Edit: March 29, 2012, 09:54:29 AM by Bigfoot21075 »

Offline scott123

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #14 on: March 29, 2012, 07:55:53 PM »
You can get the rotiserie kit (non IR) on any Weber Gas grill. I have one on my Genisis.

For pizza, at least, for fast baked, less than 4 minute pizza, the IR is critical.

Offline scott123

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #15 on: March 29, 2012, 08:02:48 PM »
Pete, $1,600 is a pretty hefty price.

I've been reading through some of your old posts.  When Gene and I recommend the IR burner, it's based on the goal of a fast-ish bake time- less than 4 minutes.  You seem very happy with your 8-10 minute bakes.  If that's the case, then you should have no problem achieving those on a non IR burner gas grill. I wouldn't be too stingy with the BTUs, but you should be able to do pretty much the same thing with a new grill that you're doing with your oven- preheating the stone to a low-ish temp and then cranking the burner during the bake.

It's possible that an 8 minute bake might need to incorporate some kind of false ceiling/two stone setup, but that shouldn't too difficult.

Offline pizza dr

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #16 on: March 29, 2012, 09:32:01 PM »
I use a BGE (big green egg) for all my grilling and smoking needs.  Yes its a little more expensive ( but less than the IR thingys you guys are talking about) but IMHO it is the best investment for your back yard (and no I have no conflicts of interest to divulge ). 

It really is versatile.. you can sear a steak at 650 degrees or smoke a brisket for 24 hours at 250.  I love it.

You can't go wrong

Scot

Offline petef

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #17 on: March 30, 2012, 01:16:26 AM »
Pete, $1,600 is a pretty hefty price.

I've been reading through some of your old posts.  When Gene and I recommend the IR burner, it's based on the goal of a fast-ish bake time- less than 4 minutes.  You seem very happy with your 8-10 minute bakes.  If that's the case, then you should have no problem achieving those on a non IR burner gas grill. I wouldn't be too stingy with the BTUs, but you should be able to do pretty much the same thing with a new grill that you're doing with your oven- preheating the stone to a low-ish temp and then cranking the burner during the bake.

It's possible that an 8 minute bake might need to incorporate some kind of false ceiling/two stone setup, but that shouldn't too difficult.

Ok, thanks for the advise on the IR burner. I believe you have assessed my situation correctly. I'm not aiming for 4 minute bake. I've done quite a bit of experimentation grilling pizza and my best results have been to par grill one side of the dough (using quarry tiles for a stone), flip it over, add the toppings and grill again. I also use a large pan placed upside-down over top of the pizza to get the top to cook before the bottom burns. So now I understand that without the IR burner I'll need to do a similar thing even on a new expensive Weber grill such as the Genesis series. I can live with that.

The main thing that is convincing me to spend the extra money on a Weber Genesis is the long term cost analysis, knowing this grill will last me 25 years and there wil be no need to replace parts as I routinely do so often with my current grill. I really want those stainless steel bar style grates and sear station.

Happy Grilling!

---pete---

Offline scott123

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #18 on: March 30, 2012, 01:46:31 AM »
Pete, unless you're especially happy with your parbaking technique, I'm not sure that's the best route to take.

Once you buy the grill, try your current oven technique with it- I really think you'll be pleasantly surprised. Just make sure you keep the lid down, so the heat collects and bakes the top of the pizza.

I you do decide to put something on top of the pizza as it's baking, make sure it's larger than the hearth, so that the hot air rising from below gets into the item and then reflects down onto the pizza. That collection of the hot rising air is integral to a 2 stone grill setup.

Offline petef

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Re: Let's Talk About Gas Grills...
« Reply #19 on: March 30, 2012, 06:58:18 PM »
I you do decide to put something on top of the pizza as it's baking, make sure it's larger than the hearth, so that the hot air rising from below gets into the item and then reflects down onto the pizza. That collection of the hot rising air is integral to a 2 stone grill setup.

I'm glad you said that. As I was experimenting, I was thinking along those same lines. That means I'd need to buy a larger pan or cut the quarry tiles down in size a bit to obtain the same effect. I just never got around to it. A larger pan is hard to find (Fleamarket shopping) and my current grill can't handle much larger of a pan. The other bad thing about using the upsidedown pan over top of the pie is the potential to burn one's self. That pan is typically 500 deg F.  Ah, the things we do to make a good pizza! :)

Thanks again!

---pete---
 


 

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