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DIY Barbecue Guide: the perfect grill is much cheaper than you might think

Forget the fancy gadgets. Really good barbecue is about fire, smoke and meat

Weber One-Touch Gold

(Image: Christopher Stevenson)

It’s easy to feel overwhelmed in the barbecue store, what with all the guy-baiting gewgaws like infrared burners, Snap-Jet ignition systems and sensi-touch control knobs. They’re impressive features, but they’ve driven the price of a top-of-the-line ’cue well above $10,000. And none of them make your food taste appreciably better. That’s what charcoal and the Weber kettle are for. The kettle grill hasn’t changed much since its invention in 1952: it’s a big metal bowl with a lid, two grates inside and air vents at the top and bottom. You can use it for long, slow, low-temperature smokes, simple steaks and dogs or the best grilled chicken ever. When you use a kettle grill, you’re in touch with your food, directly in control of fire, heat and sweet, peppery smoke, without a single knob or blinking LED to get in the way. That’s why the world’s best chefs revere them. (This spring I saw one smoking outside the test kitchen at Copenhagen’s NOMA, a.k.a. the world’s best restaurant.) The best part? Weber’s kettle grills cost as little as $140, and you can’t really get any fancy add-ons. Which is entirely the point.

The Weber One-Touch Gold charcoal grill. $220. Ontario Gas BBQ, 3310 Langstaff Rd., Concord, 905-761-8511.

DIY Barbecue Guide
  • rod

    If you do plan on getting a kettle-style charcoal grill, make sure you pick up a $15 dollar chimney starter. Fastest way to ignite coals and there is no need for lighter fluid, which not only is toxic but it also imparts a terrible flavour into your foods.

  • Stephen van Egmond

    +1 to Rod’s suggestion. You can get a roaring charcoal fire with charcoal, the chimney, some balled up newspaper, and less time than it takes to drink a beer.

    If it all goes wrong and you dump out the chimney too early, beeswax/sawdust fire starters from Cdn Tire can help.

    My friends with gas grills won’t shut up about how much of a difference using actual charcoal makes. Dunno, seems obvious to me.

 

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