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Old 05-15-2020, 05:00 PM
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Recommend: A good gas grill (propane) $500-1000...also...stainless steel or cast iron grates?


I moved to a new place and I am considering getting a grill. Because I live in an apartment building charcoal grills are strictly forbidden. Propane gas from a bottle is the only allowed grill. I'd prefer a charcoal grill but rules are rules (and this one makes sense when living like this).

So, I have looked at articles and video reviews and, while they help me understand some of it, none really nail it down for you.

Some grills are clearly crap. They have uneven cooking, can't get meat to temp and so on. Clearly bad is actually bad...some do not deliver.

But others...hard to tell. Are stainless steel grates better than cast iron? Do I want an infrared burner for searing (if even available at my price point)?

Honestly I am not interested in fiddly bells and whistles like lit knobs or a side burner. I live in an apartment, my stove is 50 feet away, I can deal.

And, while I gave a $500-1000 price range I am much more keen on closer to $500 but willing to be convinced a more expensive grill is worth the extra $$$. Also willing to be convinced a $100 grill will do the job. I grew up with the Weber kettle grill which is super inexpensive and rocked so many backyard BBQs...but, sadly, I cannot use that in my place.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:03 PM
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No meaningful thoughts but I've never used a grill with stainless grates that I've liked. IMHO, go for cast iron.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:09 PM
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What about one of the Webber Q series? https://www.weber.com/AU/en/barbecues/weber-q-range/

We've got one of these, a Ziegler and Brown baby bbq, can feed four mouths at a time and is extremely versatile not only for grilling but for roasting and baking as well if needed.

By the time you buy a stand and a gas bottle, you'll still come out well under $500 USD.

Last edited by kambuckta; 05-15-2020 at 05:10 PM.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:28 PM
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No meaningful thoughts but I've never used a grill with stainless grates that I've liked. IMHO, go for cast iron.
That is my sense of it too but, as you go up the line to really, really expensive grills they all seem to use stainless steel grates. Not sure why...cast iron will last forever so it is not durability. Cast iron takes longer to come to temp but then that is good because it has a high heat capacity so flipping meat still sears well...

I dunno...I am confused (hence this thread).
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:34 PM
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Originally Posted by kambuckta View Post
What about one of the Webber Q series? https://www.weber.com/AU/en/barbecues/weber-q-range/

We've got one of these, a Ziegler and Brown baby bbq, can feed four mouths at a time and is extremely versatile not only for grilling but for roasting and baking as well if needed.

By the time you buy a stand and a gas bottle, you'll still come out well under $500 USD.
Thanks!

Do you get a good BBQ flavor cooking on these? America's Test Kitchen noted how just heating meat is not enough. The point of a BBQ is to get that awesome BBQ flavor.

Otherwise I'll just use my stove.
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Last edited by Whack-a-Mole; 05-15-2020 at 05:38 PM.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:46 PM
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Is cast iron more likely to rust outside? I suppose if you grill foods with fat it will stay naturally seasoned, but I'm not sure if that would season the whole surface or just where the food was. One disadvantage of cast iron holding heat is if you wanted to turn the heat down on whatever you were cooking. Maybe it's not a big deal for steak, but things like fish and vegetables often need the temperature tweaked. Cast iron will continue pumping in a lot of heat into the food for a while after you turn the flame down.

A cheap grill will rust out in a few years, while a more expensive one will last a long time. A more expensive grill will be able to hold the heat better and get much hotter. Some grills have a side burner, which is nice for cooking something in a pot if you don't want to heat up the kitchen. Some grills have a sear station, which means there's a burner where there would normally be a gap. So instead of 'burner-gap-burner-gap-burner', it's 'b-b-b-g-b'. If you want to sear something really hot, get all three burners going together. I'm not sure the grate type would really matter when you're searing with all three burners.

I had a series of cheap grills and then I got a Weber. The Weber was proportionally better in performance with it's price. That is, it is easily twice as good of a grill than one half its price.
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Old 05-15-2020, 05:57 PM
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Thanks!

Do you get a good BBQ flavor cooking on these? America's Test Kitchen noted how just heating meat is not enough. The point of a BBQ is to get that awesome BBQ flavor.

Otherwise I'll just use my stove.
The gas bbqs are never going to be as good as cooking on charcoal, but I've found our Ziggy to give good to very good results with excellent charring on both red and white meats. Maybe you could get some smoking chips to put inside the gas ring for extra flavour?
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Old 05-15-2020, 06:03 PM
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Is cast iron more likely to rust outside?
Many (not all) are covered with a ceramic coating to avoid corrosion.

Even without that a little rust can usually be dealt with easily. Extra work but nothing that is a huge pain. And if you miss some it won't harm anyone...might taste bad though.
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Old 05-15-2020, 06:08 PM
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Is cast iron more likely to rust outside?
Most of the people that I know use cast iron grill grates are using them on nearly a daily basis for most of the year. Rust never gets a chance. If they know that they're not going to use the grill for more than a week, they store the grates inside.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:03 PM
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In my case, the actual grill elements, where the flame was produced, were bare cast iron and they did crumble after a few years and had to be replaced. Whereas the enameled cast iron grates did not age noticeably. This was a decent Sears model that I left at my old house when I moved a couple of years ago.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:39 PM
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I'd look for a Weber or Napoleon grill with cast iron grates. Once you season them they hold up as well as stainless steel (which is kinda BS as the heat oxidizes them anyway). I say this as someone who grills at -30 to +30 C pretty routinely and my Napoleon is getting new SS burner tubes after 14 years of use. The CI grates are still perfectly intact.
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Last edited by swampspruce; 05-15-2020 at 07:40 PM.
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Old 05-15-2020, 07:54 PM
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I'll second the Weber Q suggestion. I both own one (Q 1200) and help sell them. The cast iron grates are very nice, in large part because they have a very heavy porcelain coat. I am not aware of anything that comes close for the money. I'd urge you to get a griddle accessory that you use in place of one of the grates. I use one for most everything nowadays in both my Weber Q and Weber Genesis. They make most things better and easier. Biggest benefits are more browned surface area (equals more flavor), far simpler cleanup, and less over-charring.

Edit: it will last a long time if you pay attention to keeping it reasonably clean.

Last edited by Dickerman; 05-15-2020 at 07:55 PM.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:27 PM
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I'm on my second Weber Genesis II. I gave my first one away and it's still kicking ass with my brother in law at 10 years old. I've had my new one for a year and they are bulletproof, easy to control and no real hot or cold spots. The only real problem is I have forgotten about the drip tray twice this year and had a fairly gnarly grease fire but no damage to the grill either time.
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Old 05-15-2020, 08:34 PM
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I've had a 2-burner Weber Spirit-something for 5 years. I think I got it for $400.

I replaced the original enameled cast iron grates and burner shields last year for $50 I think.

It beats the tar out of the $150 steel grate Char Broil or whatever I had before that, but I do at times wish I had sprung for a 3 or 4 burner model. I've never been able to preheat it about about 500 degrees.
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Old 05-15-2020, 09:53 PM
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If you can't decide between cast iron or steel, one (crazy) option is to buy an extra set of grates which are the opposite of whatever came with the grill. Then you could have half the grill with cast iron and the other half with steel.
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:23 AM
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By the by, the ONLY reason I opted for the Z&B over the Weber was that our local BBQ retailer was having a sale, and the Ziggy was $150 cheaper than the Weber at the time. Still happy though...
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:28 AM
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Cast iron grates. Stainless is for poseurs.
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Old 05-16-2020, 09:58 AM
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I'm on my second Weber, with never an issue. My current one is a 2 burner Spirit. My BiL has the identical grill, and loves it. I just bought my son a Weber for his new home. I believe it had 3 main burners and a side burner. Forget the price, but think it was under $700. IMO, can't go wrong w/ a Weber.

25 yrs ago or so I thought it sacrilege when my wife bought me the first Weber as a Dad's Day gift. Now, I can't imagine I ever messed w/ charcoal. I got the 2 burner, because we RARELY cook for large groups. If you like to party, go with the larger 3-burner. Add the side element, and you basically can cook anything you want.
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:13 PM
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Weber Spirit with 3 burners is pretty nice. Mine runs off of natural gas (you have to buy a specific natural gas model).

Weber has my mindshare. Ever since I was old enough to pay attention to BBQ in the 1970's, Weber has consistently has been "the BBQ" to get. And their customer service rocks.
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:23 PM
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I have a Weber 3-burner and it's been fantastic.
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Old 05-16-2020, 12:52 PM
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25 yrs ago or so I thought it sacrilege when my wife bought me the first Weber as a Dad's Day gift. Now, I can't imagine I ever messed w/ charcoal. I got the 2 burner, because we RARELY cook for large groups. If you like to party, go with the larger 3-burner. Add the side element, and you basically can cook anything you want.
One benefit of having the 3 burner is that it's easier to cook different kinds of foods at the same time. We often grill vegetables along with meat, and the wider surface gives us enough space for it all with the ability to have different heat for each one. We use a grilling basket for small or thin vegetables, and the basket alone takes up about 1/3 of the surface of our 3-burner grill. But if you typically just cook one thing on the grill, then the 2 burner is likely fine.
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Old 05-16-2020, 01:34 PM
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Three burner is a nice to have option if you ever cook for more than two people at a time. My Napoleon is three burner, with IR side and rotisserie burners. I use all of them pretty regularly, especially the side one for small meals/side dishes, or for getting a really good sear on a steak as it gets screaming hot. This is pretty much what I have, although mine is turning 15 this year. https://www.napoleon.com/en/us/grill...-p500rsibpss-3

We paid $700 CAD for it on sale so don't be put off by the price.
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Old 05-17-2020, 02:09 AM
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I am in the same boat, looking for a new one. Considering the Weber Spirit II E310, maybe a Genesis if I can swing it. I have also considered pellet grills, and the advantages are clear, but I'm not sure I can accept some of the disadvantages as a compromise.

My question is whether more Memorial Day sales are coming, or is waiting another week fruitless? Genesis is $50 off at Home Depot.
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Old 05-17-2020, 02:12 AM
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Server error multipost.

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Old 05-17-2020, 08:15 AM
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Happy with my Weber Spirit 3-burner. I got the one with the side burner, but never use it.

A good thing about the 3-burner is that you can use it as a smoker/slow cooker by lighting one side low and putting your meat on the other. (Maybe you can do this with a 2-burner, but I think it might be harder to maintain low temps.) You put the wood chips in an optional metal box made for the purpose, or just in some aluminum foil.

I have to clean mine out and move it out to the deck!
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Old 05-19-2020, 12:49 AM
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We have a cheap Vermont Castings grill that quit working a few years back; we disassembled / reassembled it and that solved the issue, though a couple years later the same thing happened and we haven't had the time / inclination to deal with it.

The grates are enamelled cast iron. No issues with maintenance; searing is just fine (not sure why such a device would need an IR burner for searing).

We are thinking of replacing it this year because I was just getting into trying new stuff with it when it died the last time.

I would probably not bother with a "burner" (for pots); I just have never seen the use for it.

You're not going to get the flavor you would with cooking over charcoal, but with the appropriate marinades etc. the food would be quite acceptable. As someone said, wood chips are your friend: basically you get a bag of wood chips designed for the purpose, soak a handful in water, wrap them up in heavy duty foil, poke a couple holes in the packet of foil, and set that directly on one of the burners. If you're too near a building you might find the neighbors thing you're using charcoal though. But something like a chicken, smoked low and slow for a few hours with some nice wood chips.... totally yummmm (but you need a thermometer that stick into the meat and can be read from outside without lifting the cover).
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:35 AM
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The Weber Genesis with stainless grill is a good size workhorse. Mine is now 12 years old and still going strong.
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:46 AM
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...

I have to clean mine out and move it out to the deck!
Wrong on two counts. First, why was it ever put away? Second, it isn't dirty, it's SEASONED!
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Old 05-19-2020, 09:53 AM
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Wrong on two counts. First, why was it ever put away? Second, it isn't dirty, it's SEASONED!
Well, I know you're just kidding, but my serious answers are that we just don't use it that much in the winter, and it gets dusty and dirty and wildlife can get into it. Second, there's something blocking one of the gas pipes, keeping it from getting up to full temperature. That problem cropped up last summer and I never got around to fixing it.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:29 PM
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I had a Weber Spirit 3 burner grill- great, but the cast iron grates did eventually rust out pretty seriously. I didn't use it every night, and it can be pretty humid here, so that's probably why.

Replaced it about a year and a half ago with a natural gas Napoleon Rogue 425 stainless with what they call a "sizzle zone" searing burner. It's a separate side burner that gets really, really hot for searing steaks, etc... It's got a cast iron grate, which is starting to rust pretty badly already. But the main grill's stainless steel grates are humming along just fine. They're also thick enough that I get fine grill marks and don't see any real difference between them and cast iron.

Cost me right at about $1000 with a cover and sales tax from Home Depot.

Here's the model:

https://www.bbqguys.com/napoleon/rog...rxt425sibpss-1

Last edited by bump; 05-19-2020 at 01:32 PM.
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Old 05-19-2020, 01:45 PM
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Revision- that's as close as I could get; that model actually has cast-iron grates.
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Old 05-19-2020, 11:13 PM
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Well, I know you're just kidding, but my serious answers are that we just don't use it that much in the winter, and it gets dusty and dirty and wildlife can get into it.
I can verify that. When we lived in a townhouse, our patios were literally right next to one another. Our neighbor was out of town a lot, being an airline pilot. He opened his grill one summer, and there was a nest inside, complete with baby squirrels.
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Old 05-20-2020, 05:22 PM
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Whatever you do, don't do what I did. I bought a nice Weber three burner, got it all assembled and fired it up for the first time. Turned out some pretty darned good steaks and potatoes. Only later did I realize that I forgot to peel the protective plastic coating off the exterior surfaces, which is now irreversibly bonded to the grill. So it works great, but looks like crap.
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Old 05-21-2020, 04:15 PM
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The gas bbqs are never going to be as good as cooking on charcoal, but I've found our Ziggy to give good to very good results with excellent charring on both red and white meats. Maybe you could get some smoking chips to put inside the gas ring for extra flavour?
The now famous(ish) YouTuber "Binging with Babish" put out a smoking on the grill video today.

Honestly, while he almost always nails his videos, I gotta say his results here looked less than ideal (the final result had little to no "bark"...or at least a pale imitation of what I like to see). That said I think the basics are there.

Charcoal will always be better but I think we can do pretty well with a gas grill.
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Old 05-22-2020, 02:40 PM
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If you're new to propane grills, keep in mind that tanks will typically run out in the middle of cooking. Get a 2nd tank so that you can swap it in and keep going.
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Old 05-22-2020, 04:43 PM
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If you're new to propane grills, keep in mind that tanks will typically run out in the middle of cooking. Get a 2nd tank so that you can swap it in and keep going.
About tanks: it is cheaper in the long run to refill than to use an exchange service, but some places want almost $50 to sell an EMPTY one. The cheapest is Costco for $30, if you don't have a membership I think Home Depot has for a few bucks more and still cheaper than Amazon.

Costco is also selling the Weber Genesis for $950, not sure of exact submodel or whether it's a deal. I just bought mine and went Spirit II E310
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Old 05-22-2020, 08:23 PM
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My Weber Spirit 3 burner is 11 years old and I just replaced the grates and bars this year. I use it year round and love it. I bought new burners when I got the new grates, in case they crap out and I can't find them in year or so.

Last edited by stretch; 05-22-2020 at 08:25 PM. Reason: lots of things
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Old 05-24-2020, 06:27 AM
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Well, if you have grand to throw around, I would get a Weber Genesis II S-335.
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Old 05-25-2020, 08:06 PM
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Well, if you have grand to throw around, I would get a Weber Genesis II S-335.
For about the same price this Napoleon grill seems better. An IR burner for searing seems much better than the Weber.
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Old 05-25-2020, 08:49 PM
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I'll attest the ir side grill does a great job of searing...
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Old 05-26-2020, 09:03 AM
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For about the same price this Napoleon grill seems better. An IR burner for searing seems much better than the Weber.
The selling point of Webers (and I can attest to this since I have one), seems to be an extremely consistent cook across the whole grill (even the relatively "cheap" ones). This, of course, is probably not unique, but that's the reason I bought one after watching many matchup reviews on Youtube.
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:25 AM
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I had a Weber Spirit 3 burner grill- great, but the cast iron grates did eventually rust out pretty seriously. I didn't use it every night, and it can be pretty humid here, so that's probably why.

...
Here's the model:

https://www.bbqguys.com/napoleon/rog...rxt425sibpss-1
Was at my son's this wknd. What we bought him sounds like what you have (and looks like what you link.)

Wow - that's a helluva lotta grill! Would take me more than a weekend to figure out how best to use/manipulate the various cooking zones possible. One warning - that sear station brings A LOT of heat!

Yeah - definitely invest in a 2d tank. I'd think they would have developed a better fill indicator than the friction indicator that reads full-full-full - jiggle - fumes.
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:41 AM
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The selling point of Webers (and I can attest to this since I have one), seems to be an extremely consistent cook across the whole grill...
I've always had cheap(er) grills and have had to learn to map the hot spots. A big part of my grilling is moving stuff around to coordinate the thicker parts of the meat with the more powerful jets...

By the way, I've started marking the propane tank with the date I start using it. Only method that comes close to figuring out when it's going to die (and it WILL, in the middle of a cookout with friends over, so I have a second tank on hand too).
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Old 05-27-2020, 08:52 AM
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I'll be the vote against cast iron grill grates. I agree with this opinion at AmazingRibs: https://amazingribs.com/grill-grates-cast-iron

I have a Weber Genesis 3-burner that is nearly ten years old and due for some love but going strong. The great thing about Webers is that you can always find replacement parts, including aftermarket parts.
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Old 05-27-2020, 12:05 PM
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swampspruce is offline
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Everything that has been said about the Weber applies to my Napoleon as well. Even heat, and plenty of replacement parts when you need them. Honestly Whack a Mole, go for whichever is cheaper and I think you'll be very happy with your purchase. FWIW, I have 2 20 lb tanks and a 30 lb I bought at Costco. I've run out of propane more than once and the old saying "one is none, two is one." applies.
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