I bought myself this grill for Christmas when nobody else got it for me, and now I've had it almost three months and have used it quite a few times. I bought it based on the Amazon recommendations, and the recommendation of FoodTV host Alton Brown in his book, GEAR FOR THE KITCHEN. Also, in perusing the internet, I found the "Blue's BBQ" web site from Australia. One reader asks, "How did the Weber become the icon for the Australian BBQ?" Blue had to disappoint the reader by informing her that the Weber is actually American. But if it has that kind of reputation in Australia, is must be good.
Judging from the reviews here, I'll have to wait 20 years to see how it holds up. It does live on my back porch, but with the Weber cover.
It is fairly easy to assemble, and in my humble engineering opinion, seems well-made and designed with few exceptions. The Silver model has an ash catch-pan hung between the legs. The pan sits on top of spring clips clipped to the leg. After how well everything else went together, this seemed really cheesy to me. If you're a prefectionist, you'll go nuts trying to level the pan.
I guess that the "one touch cleaning" feature is the vanes on the bottom that also act to adjust the temperature in the grill by adjusting the airflow. If you swish them back and forth, opened and closed, it'll push some ash through the vent in the bottom. The problem is that the vanes themselves are wide and flat, and half of the ash just rides back and forth on them. I think Weber overstates this "one touch cleaning" feature.
The vanes closely fit the bottom shape of the grill when assembled, but after a couple of uses, one warped. I don't know if this is from heat, or something I lodged under it. I had to disassemble the vanes, and bend the offending blade a bit, and it's been perfect since.
I am a bit disappointed in some of the accessories, like the tool rack and little side table. They hang on the edge of the grill, and compromise the otherwise pretty good seal between the lid and grill. They also sell a lid rack, but note that the lid does comes with a hook in it so you can hang it on the edge of the grill, although it is certainly not as easy as using the optional rack.
Based on recommendations here, I got the 22" (larger) model. I can't disagree with that. Unless you just don't have the extra 4" of storage space or REALLY need a good grill, but just don't have the money, get the bigger one. It doesn't use that much more charcoal.
The other thing I scratched my head over was whether to get the Silver or Gold model. The differences were not completely clear to me until I actually got the grill. First, the Gold model adds a catch can that fits closely to the bottom of the grill instead of the pan I complained about. That would be nice. Maybe when you're grilling, hot specks of charcoal won't fall out the bottom and burn your legs, and if you grill somewhere where you don't want a lot of ash, this might be worthwhile. But the Gold is almost twice the price of the Silver, and I had a hard time justifying the additional cost.
The other feature added by the Gold is a grate with folding sides to allow you to add more charcoal when doing a long roast. A handy feature for sure, if you're cooking includes that, but I found those replacement Weber grates locally for twelve dollars, so wouldn't pay for the Gold model to get them.
And I guess that's another advantage of the Webers in general: They're so popular, replacement parts are easily found locally.
Sometimes, I long for the built-in side table of the Platinum, but that's a lot of money.
The grill came with a small cookbook that has proved useful. I don't know getting burgers and steaks done right has been such a hit or miss, trial and error, proposition that most people make it out to be. You look up in the little book, "Beef, 1-1/2 in thick, well-done (I know, Alton Brown wouldn't like me), 10 minutes first side, 9 minutes second side" and they come out perfectly.
DEFINITELY pick up a Weber charcoal chimney if you don't have one yet. It's the best way by far to start the grill - no kabooms, no fumes, no smell, no dangerous fluids stored in your house, and a good use for Florida Today newspaper. If you want to try something different, pick up the book AMERICAN PIE by Peter Reinhert and try the grilled pizza.
on November 13, 2007
Why four stars? Because "best of", which Weber is, is not the same as "Best ever" - which Weber used to be.
First of all, this really is the grill to get. For starters, it's charcoal. Propane grills are for girlie grillers who want to play at having a patio kitchen. Yes, I said it. It's true, so just deal with it. Second of all, it's Weber, and Weber does one thing better than the others - air control. It's simply built tighter. Third of all, this grill is the right size. Think you'll save money on the 18.5" grill? Think again. You were asleep during math class. I know, if you drop an 18.5 inch grate on top of a 22.5 inch grate, there's only a couple of inches difference around the edges. But if you'll dust off your geometry books you'll find a significant difference in the cooking area. The 18.5" gives you 268 square inches - the 22.5" gives you 397 square inches of grill space. Much better bang for your buck.
And fourth? The box doesn't say "Made in China". That still matters to some people.
What could Weber do to get five stars out of me? Fix the legs. They are, and always have been cheap and cheesy. From the kettle up, the Weber feels like quality. From the kettle down, it's a whole different story. The method of "attaching" the legs is ridiculous. You have to shove the legs past a "crimp" point in the kettle sockets.
Even assuming that's going to secure the legs, the different expansion rates of aluminum and steel, combined with the thin material of the legs virtually guarantees that joint will loosen up after enough heat/cool cycles even if you never move your grill. And I do move mine. I may get surprised by an un-forcasted shower and want to take the grill from the patio to the carport. Moving a grill full of hot coals and food as it wobbles over every little bump isn't confidence inspiring. And since we're talking about the legs, put the extra wires back. These grills used to have more wires in the bottom of the leg triangle. It helped stiffen the assembly, and acted as a handy shelf. And while they're at it, they could put the other handle back. The kettle base used to have two handles. Weber, like too many other manufacturers cut corners there, too, on the later models. That extra handle is handy if you need to drag the grill up, or down a few stair steps.
Weber could also fix the handle grips. They used to be teak. Then they went to a cheaper wood, stained to look like teak. Then they went to the plastic handles, which just don't have the thermal properties of wood. They also need to either bring back the heavier steel (pick up an old kettle and you'll see what I mean) or fix their spot welds. I've heard several reports of the spot welds breaking - but never on the older models.
So I have to knock a star off. I actually knocked two stars off, but I had to give one back because it's still a better product than their competition. It just makes me sad that when you set a new Weber next to an old one, all the changes aren't improvements - they're just cost-cutting.
Things you'll want:
1) Hardwood chunk charcoal. Most of the "ash" from briquettes isn't ash - it's a clay filler. Why should I pay money for filler that adds nothing but bulk, weight and mess? Hardwood charcoal burns better, hotter and has an easier cleanup. But keep a bag of briquettes handy anyway. Their uniform size and weight makes them ideal for throwing at varmints, four-legged and two-legged, that come sniffing around your grill while you're cooking.
2) Wood chunks. I don't care what kind, as long as it's hardwood. Not chips. Chunks that you can put at the edge of your charcoal and let smoke.
3) The Weber Chimney charcoal starter. Why Weber? Pick up any other charcoal chimney then pick up the Weber. I think you'll figure out why the Weber steel is better than the beer-can-thin steel on some of the others. It'll let you throw out that nasty, smelly bottle of charcoal lighter fluid.
4) Welders Gloves. I've seen some downright stupid so-called BBQ mitts. Ignore them. Just go to your welding supply and grab a pair - get two pair - they're cheap and you'll find yourself using them in the kitchen instead of those pink floral mittens.
5) The flip-side cooking grate. I don't know why Weber even bothers with the solid grate. It can't possibly cost more than an extra buck to manufacture the flip-side grate, and that's another reason I can only give four stars. The flip grate makes coal management a pleasure instead of a disaster waiting to happen. Buy it. It's worth every penny.
6) 16" cook's tongs. Yes, I know there's all kinds of cool grill tongs out there. I have a collection of them. And you won't see any of them in a professional kitchen. Ever. Try the cook's tongs. They're cheaper at any kitchen supply and they just work better. And you definitely want the long ones.
7) Another charcoal grate. Flip it upside down on top of the current charcoal grate so that the bars are spaced halfway between each other. If you just use one grate with hardwood charcoal, you'll find lots of small pieces can slip down through the single grate, wasting charcoal. By doubling up the grates, you still get great air flow, but the charcoal-eating gaps are much smaller.
8) 42-gallon, 3-mil contractor-grade trash bags. No, they're not for your first few grilling efforts. They make dandy Weber kettle covers, and you can't beat the price.
9) Consider some iron. Cast iron, that is. Cast iron and coals go together like, well, cast iron and coals - they were made for each other. My favorites are my Lodge 20" griddle, (which is another reason to get the 22.5" Weber), and a deep 10" skillet. Those two pieces will dramatically increase your grilling repertoire. Suddenly you'll be able to do breakfast hash, scramble eggs, veggie dishes - the sky's the limit.
Would I put my increasingly hard-earned cash down for one today? Absolutely. My Webers crank out consistently great food. They've seen us, and the neighbors through three hurricanes - when the power went out, fridges started warming and freezers started thawing - so it was a case of cook it, or lose it. Many steaks were eaten from my Webers in the days after Hurricane Charley.
Get one. You don't even have to have a natural disaster to enjoy tasty meals from your Weber.
on April 12, 2005
I am one that loves to grill, but doesn't know anything about grills themselves, really. Due to monetary situations I had to grill on the cheapest possible grill... The green Sunbeam camper grill. I'm sure you know what grill I'm talkin' about. For over 6 years it has been my grill of choice (hey it was only $10!) and has treated me well. Over these years I always dreamed about owning a "real" charcoal grill. I wanted the American icon, I wanted the Weber One-Touch. I heard all about how durable and well built it was, how it will last for 10 years+ and how it's just a step above the rest. After actually purchasing this grill I have a bit of buyers remorse. You see, before actually buying this I was looking at a grill from Char-Broil. It had the ash catching pan like the One-Touch gold, it had space to put plates and such (sorta like the One-Touch Platinum) and it had grates with adjustable height, not to mention all of this came at a price just $5 higher then the One-Touch Silver! Anyways, for the last 2 years I wanted nothing more then the Weber so I got it. Once I started puting it together I realized that this grill just doesn't seem to have $80 worth of craftsmanship. The legs are super-flimsy hollow aluminum pipes, very cheap. The itsy bitsy tabs that hold the bottom grate are slightly uneven so my bottom grate is a bit wobbly (also it's possible for the bottom grate to fall because the tabs are pretty small). A wobbly bottom grate probably doesn't make a lick of difference when it comes to grilling, it's just that it wasn't right, it's just one of those little annoying quirks. I guess I expected everything to be heavy duty. I expected solid metal legs and such. You can find an identical grill from Char-Broil for less then half the cost! I hear that Weber is a step above because they are built to last... well my cheap $10 Sunbeam is 6+ years old and I've never had any problems with it, it's all about how you take care of it. Personally, I think for the $80 price tag of the One-Touch silver, you should at least get the hinged cooking grate, but you don't.
There are good things however. First, it's just nice to have the American icon. There is a certain feeling that comes with grillin' on the good ol' Weber kettle. There are a TON of accessories made for it and replacement parts are extremely easy to find. The one-touch system is pretty handy (although hardly one-touch).
Overall I am still happy with the purchase, I love looking at that grill. It's probably gonna grown on me more and more as years pass by. Based on price I decided to get the Silver version, but the Gold might be worth looking at. Afterall you get a much better ash-pan (I modified my silver to be just as good though... just a little creativity should do the trick) and you get the hinged grate with the gold (although you can just buy this grate for $15-$20 and stick it on your Silver if you wanna)
Choose... but choose wisely.
Okay, now it's been over a year since I posted my original review. This really is a great grill, I wish I could bump the stars up to 4, but I can't... Amazon wont let me. Some of the minor quams I said previously still apply, but this baby cooks a mean dish! I have abused mine for a year and it runs like brand new.
What really made me do this update was when I grilled on a buddy's kettle. It wasn't a weber kettle and it shows. After a year of using this I got to know this grill really well, I got used to such high quality materials. This grill really is above and beyond most other kettle style grills.
I do wish I would have purchased the gold though. The ash pan that comes with the silver is not much use if you're grilling in any sort of wind.
on March 30, 2000
I have used Weber kettle grills for over 10 years with very reliable service. I recently purchased one of the new Silver Series grills. They changed the handles from wood to plastic, and I find the plastic handles to heat up to the point where you cannot use them without a glove or towel. This was not a problem with the wooden handles.
on March 24, 2011
I've owned a number of under $100 grills, and there's no comparison to the quality of my new Silver 22.5" One Touch. I certainly could afford the Gold but in truth, the Silver is a better grill for far less money. As always I read all the reviews, good and bad, and then make up my mind. I chose the Silver and honestly, the few criticisms I read here were not justified once I actually bought and used this fine grill.
Plastic Handles: the main objection seems to be the plastic is hotter than the wood. First of all, you shouldn't be removing the hood without gloves anyway. No one talks about how the wood handles weathered, split, rotted and broke. The plastic won't and is cleanable.
Aluminum Legs: seem flimsy to some, who also complain they are hard to assemble. A few even complain about "just three legs". Unless you set out to destroy the grill during assembly or hammer them in (in contradiction of the instructions), they will go on easily. Mounting them requires a simple push into the well-designed socket. A three-legged base is MUCH more stable than any four legged grill. The leg mounts are permanently mounted and won't ever loosen. Aluminum won't ever rust. The design is competent and strong.
Ash Catcher and One Touch cleaning system: a universal complaint is that ashes can blow off the aluminum plate. One commenter complained about the sliding spring supports. Most of those who selected the Gold version decided to spend almost twice as much money for the Gold's ash catching system. While true that a good wind can blow ashes off the plate, it is beyond simple to merely put an empty coffee can or small metal pail on the pan and voila! No blowing ashes. Furthermore the Silver's one touch system and vents are reputed to deliver a more even and reliable airflow. A strong side wind will affect the Gold more than the Silver. The sliding spring supports are easy, completely adjustable, tight and reliable. As far as the Silver's system "not removing" all the ashes, I'd point out that this is true of the Gold as well. With the Silver when you clear ashes you can see that the three vents are clear - with the Gold you're just hoping. Same goes for setting the opening - you can see it with the Silver, not with the Gold.
To spend almost twice as much for the Gold for less effective venting, and for blind vent setting, simply to replace a coffee can, is hard to justify.
Plastic Wheels and Lower Wire Shelf: These are criticised for being "cheap and flimsy". They are not. The triangular design is strong and stable by design, as opposed to four legged designs that absolutely will wobble. The shelf is capable, made of well painted steel. Plastic wheels are the norm for all grills in this general price range, and unless you plan to tow the grill behind your truck, they'll do just fine. Relax.
Cooking Grate: Some complain it's too thin. Actually it's thicker than most of the cheaper kettle types. And when it finally does wear out after a couple years, you'll buy the hinged one anyway. The grate supplied still has openings on both sides to add coals and smoking chips.
Assembly: most common complaint was "wobbly - legs fall out, wheels fall off". Operator errors here. The axle is strong, and mounting the wheels requires a few good whacks with a hammer to make sure the retainers are fully seated and straight. It's easy. Same with the legs - when you insert them you come to a "stop", but you must keep pushing past the "stop" until the legs reach the bottom of the mount. Fail to do so and you'll get "wobbly", etc. Assembling this grill is pure simplicity, but not childproof.
Unless you like spending money, I can see no reason to pay nearly double for the Gold version. The Silver is a better grill, with more reliable airflow, visible ash clearing and vent adjustment. It's cooking grate is competent, with two openings to add coals, but if can't wait and just have to have a hinged one, they are only about $14. The windproof coffee can ash catcher is free.
In sum I find the Weber Silver is, by far, the best deal for charcoal cooking. It is efficient, well-designed, easy to assemble, stable and strong. It grills both direct and indirect, and does so efficiently. This grill has also been used effectively for low and slow smoking - done properly will maintain temperatures well and with minimal cost in charcoal.
Unless you need more acreage I find the 22.5" is just perfect for a family of four.
on March 9, 2016
At 57 years old, I've had a lifelong obsession with outdoor grilling, and I have used dozens of different grills of all design types and fuel sources. I can afford the most expensive grills on the market, and what do I use today, when cooking for my small family? This Weber 22 inch grill, which blows every other grill of any type away for real life every day grilling, for these reasons:
1. Performance- the grill is highly adjustable, and easy to control heat levels with the upper and lower vent. Food can either be placed over the coals for high heat, or away from them for more gradual indirect cooking.
2. Versatility- the grill is air tight with both vents closed, so can be used as a very effective indirect heat smoker. If you want to control the location of the charcoal more precisely than piling it up on one side, use the Weber Charcoal Rails, available on Amazon for $7-8, which enable you to precisely contain coals on opposite sides of the grill, and add more through the hinged grate when necessary, for longer smoking jobs. I find the rails to be superior to the baskets, since they vent air better and provide for more positional flexibility. If you're on a budget, use bricks for this purpose instead of rails, which have the added benefit of heat retention.
3. Efficiency/Economy- good charcoal is not cheap, and it can be used multiple times if you completely close the vents when you are done cooking, a big deal for a retired guy on a fixed income. The airtight nature of this grill that allows for this charcoal recycling is nearly impossible to find on other (non-Weber) grills, in my experience. If you have found one that seals up tighter than this model, I'd love to hear from you and know what other models compete in this area.
4. Taste- I will only use a gas grill if I am in a big hurry, with no time to wait for the charcoal heating period. I have found that when I am in such a hurry, I should likely not be grilling at all. Cooking over wood/charcoal gives food a superior smoky flavor versus any gas grill, in my opinion.
Happy grilling, and I hope this review was helpful.
I love this grill. This is one of my four weber kettle grills I own.
Assembly is a snap. The only tool you'll need is a hammer to tap the wheel lugs on. In 15 minutes you can be lighting your coal.
The beauty of this grill is the kettle design which maximizes heat retention and allows the grill to act like an oven with the top on. I've cooked whole chickens, cabbage, bread, and pizza using this method. The top also has a hook on it so you can hang it from the side of the grill while you add sauce or tend to what you're cooking.
For best results at indirect cooking, use the hinged 22 1/2 inch grate. That way you can add coals throughout the cooking process without the danger of having to totally remove the cooking grate.
I wish I'd bought one of these the day I first moved out on my own! For years I got by with a ridiculously tiny hibachi -- one day I found myself living in the suburbs and somehow rationalized BUYING A REAL BARBECUE! Due to my dyed-in-the-wool cheapness and extensive researching before buying, it was inevitable that I'd end up with a Weber 22.5" Silver Kettle Grill!
YES the little tray on the bottom end is a pain in the neck. But I can't say it's really ever bothered me ALL that much! You'll want to use a charcoal chimney to light your coals -- I used to build a little fire with newspaper and sticks but the charcoal chimney is the way to go, and one chimney will nicely fill the coal area on the Silver Kettle Grill. Do not ever use lighter fluid or fuel-soaked coals. But you already know that.
While you'll get the hang of burgers, hot dogs, steaks, chicken and bratwurst right away, make sure to investigate "indirect grilling" where you pile your coals on one side or the other (or both) and put an aluminum tray under whatever you're grilling. Like a pork roast or a whole chicken. The 22.5" Silver Kettle Grill has AMPLE room for everything you'd like to do. Including grilling a turkey! Easy to do plus incredible flavor!
I recently acquired a "slide-aside" cradle for the lid which I like a lot, and a clip-on tool holder, which is really handy. We use the grill several times a week. I've never found it lacking. There are a few techniques you'll pick up to turn out just what you like, such as brining chicken or pork prior to cooking. You really do not have to spend more than this to get an excellent tool which you'll use for years and years to come. Get this larger size, but don't spend more on non-essentials. It's a zen thing. In place of a statue of Buddha, we suburbanites have Weber Kettle Grills in our backyard. Grilling harkens back to caveman days, satisfying something very deep in every red-blooded American -- meat good. fire good. Weber good.
Order the hinged lid grate for this size grill -- it's a neat thing to have when you need it. And make sure to try grilled pizza dough -- it doesn't ooze through the grate like you'd think it would and the flavor is incredible.
The perfect shape of the Weber Kettle Grill makes operation just about foolproof. Improvise an improved ash catcher underneath (like a big metal bucket!) and you're in business. GREAT product! This is not a frivolous purchase, you NEED one of these!
I've often been tempted over the years (nine years since my review?) to upgrade to a "Gold" 22.5" Weber to get the ash catcher feature. The other day it finally occurred to me to buy a "Behrens 2168 3-Gallon Seamless Drain/Utility Pan" which sits on the lower frame/support -- it's a big drain pan which ought to work just fine. I don't mind some mess from the charcoal, but that anemic little tray supported by spring clips is just this side of useless. I'm pretty excited about the Behrens drain pan idea. The only thing worn out on my Weber is the handle on top, which I bought some huge washers to re-attach once the steel in the top of the dome gave way. There is not a graceful way to take the hot lid off without that handle! I did, however, actually buy a new Weber charcoal chimney after patching my old one together with miscellaneous hardware. You definitely ought to take a look at the Behrens drain pan, or some other drain pan, to use as a cheap upgrade for your Weber! Another OUTSTANDING accessory is a "Smokenator 1000" -- a kind of baffle that fits your 22.5" Weber and turns it into a cold smoker! Incredible ribs and absolutely foolproof!!! 100% worth the price!
on August 24, 2007
I purchased the Weber One Touch Silver 22.5" at Amazon for $84.99. It took me about 15 mins to build the grill. My Mom told me to pick out ANY BBQ grill and she would buy it for me (fathers day gift). I looked at 10+ charcoal grills and I picked out this one (she thought I was crazy) !! I could have purchased a $500 deluxe charcoal or gas grill - but this was the one for me. My purchase was based on so much positive feedback for this grill - it really does make your food mouthwatering! My first BBQ was perfect!! I cooked 1" Beef Steaks (marinated with Weber steak seasoning) :)
The steaks came out perfect - really the best steak I've ever had in my whole life !!! Since I saved so much money, I did purchase some Weber accessories :)
Here's what I bought:
* Weber Silver One Touch $84.99 (Amazon)
* Weber Chimney $12.99 (Home Depot)
* Weber Tool Holder $3.99 (Target)
* Weber Salt Pepper Shakers $5.99 (Target)
* Weber Grill Cover - $6.99 (Target)
* Weber Hinged Cooking Grate - $16.99 (Target)
* Weber Seasoning $3.99 (Publix)
And here is my steak recipe ...
Place checkered board cuts (1/2 inch apart) on both sides of the steak with a sharp knife but not too deep (you still want the steak in 1 piece). This will allow it to easily absorb the marinade :)
1.Rinse the steak under water.
2.Place it on a plate.
3.Season both sides with Weber seasoning (and salt/pepper).
4.Place steak in a 1 gallon zip lock bag.
5.Pour olive oil on both sides of the steak.
6.Pour white vinegar 2 oz. in the bag.
7.Pour water 4 oz. in the bag.
8.Marinate for 1 - 2 hrs.
9.For Medium rare - Cook for 8 mins on the weber ; turnover the steak at 4 mins.
Weber is #1 :-)
TIP: Place a piece of aluminum foil over the Ash catcher prior to BBQ'g. After your done it's an easy cleanup of the ashes, simply foldup the aluminum foil and discard :) Then load another one on the ash catcher next time your BBQ. This keeps your Ash Catcher clean and in perfect condition.
on April 10, 2003
I bought my first 221/2" Charcoal Weber Grill in 1975 and was given my third weber last Father's Day. My original weber, 28 years old, is still being used at my river cottage and my second weber is my overflow and backup grill at my home. Weber grills are the most durable outdoor product I have ever owned. I am not a very maintenance minded person, to say the least, and I have always kept my grills uncovered and outdoors. My webers have survived in spite of my neglect and the climate of the Lower Chesapeake Bay.
Weber's longlife is only overshadowed by its ability to cook. When it comes to cooking nothing can match the results produced by a weber, from a whole turkey to a pound t-bone, its all excellent. When you buy a weber you should also consider these accessories: 1. Charcoal side racks, used for indirect cooking; 2. Weber Cook Book, great recipes and if you do what it says, the results are outstanding; 3. Weber's Chimney style charcoal starter, one sheet of newspaper and in ten to twenty minutes you have white hot coals without using that dangerous and smelly charcoal lighter fluid. So remember charcoal is for real men and gas is for sissys and ain't nothing going to bet a WEBER.