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Just about time for a new BBQ

Discussion in 'Off Topic' started by Starship, Feb 21, 2011.

  1. Starship

    Starship NE Portland Active Member

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    I currently have a Ducane BBQ that is about 12 years old. Do quite a bit of cooking with it. Recently had the igniter goe out (jeez, now I have to light it myself) and have finally burned through one of the bars in the pan that holds the fake brickets. Could all be fixed for a few bucks but.....it is 12 years old.

    Looking at new grills and wondered if anyone has and/or uses the pellet type. Traeger seems to be the leader of the bunch. Looked at one (Costco is having a vendor special on them) and got to wondering if I might want to get a little more current with my outdoor cooking.

    Sooo, any suggestions, hints, or recommendations highly appreciated.
     
  2. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for reminding me I need a new burner for my grill, it was looking pretty bad when I put it away for the season.
     
  3. servingu

    servingu Vancouver (not BC) WA (not DC) Member

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    get a Weber... can't beet charcoal.
     
  4. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    I supplement the gas BBQ with real Mesquite wood charcoal, it wears out the burners faster but the flavor is worth the trade off.
     
  5. Infrared. Like, real infrared, Tec makes the best.
     
  6. Trlsmn

    Trlsmn In Utero (Portland) Well-Known Member

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    Interesting, I've never tried one, can you add smoke chips?
     
  7. parsons_12b

    parsons_12b LaPine Oregon Well-Known Member

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    Get a Treager you never cook on anything else again I have had mine for three years and love mine
     
  8. Kimber Custom

    Kimber Custom Vancouver, WA Bronze Vendor Bronze Vendor

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    Treagers are great (just ask ifish, there's a thread about them every other month) but do you want a BBQ or a grill? We do mostly burgers & steaks so we opted for a gas grill. Turn it on, cook, turn it off; 20min start to finish. I've even been known to grill a turkey from time to time. Only takes 1.5-2 hrs to do a 18lb bird.

    Treager you have to plan around. Makes for some great eats just don't plan on anything being ready in a hurry.

    The little Tex seems to be about the best value. Be sure to get a digital thermostat for best results.
     
  9. MA Duce

    MA Duce Central Oregon Well-Known Member

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    +1:thumbup:
     
  10. I don't know if you can add smoke chips. I've only ever used one once but I've eaten from them several times. Always makes an amazing steak, seared just right and so juicy.
     
  11. spectra

    spectra The Couve Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    This is my thingking also. I have heard and seen the treagers but I like to grill steaks and burgers so firing one up and waiting does me no good. I have a weber gas grill right now it works but I love my little webber when I go camping. Nothing beats the briquets.
     
  12. spectra

    spectra The Couve Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    Just thought I would throw it out there. Am grilling rib eyes and russets tonight;) Might throw on some asparugus also.
     
  13. Starship

    Starship NE Portland Active Member

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    oh spectra who cares..... jealousy is such an ugly emotion... :)
     
  14. Edgewaters

    Edgewaters Eagle Creek New Member

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    Saw these at the sportsmans show, they claim it gets hot enough to grill a steak. The metal seemed a bit on the thin side but has some good features.
    GMG BBQ
     
  15. spectra

    spectra The Couve Moderator Staff Member Bronze Supporter

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    These grills seem to work but for 700 plus:huh: I like the ides of a 100 dollar charcoal grill. I have spent to much over the years on grills that cost to much.

    Oh and Starship the rib eyes were GREAT:thumbup: The dogs loved the fat!
     
  16. CavVet

    CavVet Seattle Member

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    I bought a cheap charcoal grill 3 years ago when we moved in. I got what I paid for-its shot and I now too need a quality charcoal grill.



    Sad part is I have a brand new Brinkman smoker I got from work taking up space in my garage. Didnt want it, never used it.
     
  17. mjbskwim

    mjbskwim Salmon,Idaho Well-Known Member

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    $150 cheapo propane grill from Home Depot cooked me dinner at least 5 nights a week last summer.
    And did it good.
    Charcoal is great,but I like to just turn the knob and go.No playing around.
     
  18. Abiqua

    Abiqua Oregon Active Member

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    Another fan of the Traeger.
     
  19. STNOSU

    STNOSU Corvallis Member

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    Stay away from the newer charbroil grills, dunno about the infrared ones but we picked up the four burner one with one on the side and it sucks. The burners goes around the edges which doesn't cook the greatest and after a month it started to mess up and doesnt heat up like it should.

    I know at Home Depot they had a gas grill with a smoker underneath it which looked cool since I am interested in smoking. I live in apartment which is why we dont use charcoal and I also like instant gratification when I want bbq.
     
  20. CIPuyleart

    CIPuyleart La Center, WA Bronze Supporter Bronze Supporter

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    I grill nearly daily - a minimum of 5 nights a week at least. I was in the same boat last fall when my 4-yr-old grill fully rotted out. And after spending nearly $600 on the thing to only last that long pissed me off. So I really started looking hard at ALL the options - after carefully looking at what failed and why on my grill - thin stamped metal with poor quality enamel for the lower body of the grill just rusted and rotted away due to mixture of moisture (this is the PNW) and heat cycles. No amount of shiny stainless steel on lids and burners could eliminate the achiles heal of the grill. And 90% of the grills I looked at (even the $5000+ ones) were any different. Super-fancy features and lots of stainless, but cheap stamped 16-ga lower bodies meant eventual structural failure in the same fasion as the one I was replacing.

    Next, I started looking at charcoal grills - figuring I'd just go cheap and "get back to basics." I couldn't believe how cheaply they were built either...and those have a fire actually sitting right against the lower body. For what they wanted in premium price, I could honestly not see any difference between the "name brand" and the cheap brand when it came to this aspect (yes, the name brand did have some higher-quality damper controls and some features missing on others...but at a **** of a price increase).

    Things like the Green Egg and Kamado had some interesting features and benefits, but the size of grill area compared to price was a bit much. And I didn't want to have to upgrade the structure of my deck to support one big enough to meet my needs for having guests over...

    So then, I started thinking of just building my own - but that takes time that I don't currently have (some day). So I started looking at pellet grills...if I was going to spend a lot of money on a grill, I might as well get something that was easy to use while still offering the benefits of real wood smoke.

    I spent a lot of time comparing the current Traegers with the Green Mountain Grills when shopping for mine last year. I work with about 8 guys that all have Traegers of various "vintages" - and each progressively newer one is a little less impressive regarding fit/finish/quality of workmanship. Ultimately, I went with the GMG Daniel Boone - which is essentially the same size as the Traeger Lil' Tex. The features I liked better on the GMG were the domed lid (more height for doing chickens vertical, larger birds, or more huge rib roasts), the digital controller that will heat up to 500 (in several test cooks on Traegers borrowed from co-workers, 400 was the highest I could get the grill to maintain), and the variable firebox fan that burns less pellets. It's also got a sensor in the pellet box that beeps constantly when you run low on pellets - nice for long cooks.

    There are things I am not so fond of - the fact it's made in China (as is the Traeger), that cleaning the thing can be a PITA (same issue with any pellet grill, but on this one the "tray" is a pain to remove), and that it's not exactly made of bullet-proof construction...but I also didn't have thousands of dollars to spend on a MAK grill or something similar (I would LOVE to have one of their grills). I did think that it was better built than the current generation of Traegers I had looked at. And, I do figure that if/when the body of this one ever does rot out, I can use the contoller and assocated parts and just build my own body for it out of heavier steel.

    Pellet cooking is nice - it has the advantages of quick start up not much different than a gas grill. On the GMG, I turn on the "on" switch, touch one button to confirm I want to start the grill, and walk away. About 10 minutes later, I come back and it will be around 300 degrees...then I just bump the controller up or down to my desired temperature and wait another few minutes for it to hit the final temp. It also has the advantage of real wood smoke flavor - something that was missing from my years of gas cooking. You can fairly easily change flavors by simply changing the pellets you have in the hopper, and you don't have sit around and "babysit" the fire box to make sure things are where you need them for a long smoke.

    The downside, of course, is the cost of pellets. The guys I work with have gotten together the past couple of years around Christmas and been able to work out a deal with Bear Mountain to buy a full ton of mixed pellets at a greatly reduced price compared to what you'll see them anywhere else. So this year I picked up 26 bags that should last me (hopefully) until the next "group buy" :D

    One thing I can say - cooking on pellets DOES require you to change your cooking "style" a little. It is NOT direct heat (even at 500 degrees). So while a 500 degree setting will get you a sear on the outside of a steak, it is not quite the same as having your gas burner turned up to max and burning those dark brown grill marks into the surface (the MAK and Fast Eddy grills to claim a higher temp "searing" area especially for this). The pellet cooker is more like a convection oven with the addition of smoke flavor - so it is best to approach your cooking that way. I love steak off of it (and medium rare is how I like it) - cooking a nice thick sirloin on mine works best to set the grill at 400 and then let it cook for about 8 minutes per side. I will end up with a perfect medium rare interior, and a nicely developed "smoke ring" at the surface. Pork chops and chicken breasts are similar - about 16 minutes total at 400 (I usually don't bother to turn them, as the convection action heats all around...plus opening the lid just lets heat escape. "If you're lookin', you ain't cookin'!"). Cooking a large roast by smoking first for an hour or so on 175 degrees and then turning it up to roasting temperature to finish is incredibly tasty. :thumbup:

    And yes, once you've cooked food on a pellet grill (assuming you like the smokey flavor of real wood-cooked food), you'll have a hard time going back. Just about ANYTHING is tastier when cooked that way, and it doesn't take much to prep something and have it taste good off the grill. Even the simplest of rubs or marinades on things like turkey breast or a chuck roast come out incredible. And as long as you use a decent thermometer to check the temperature of your meat, it's hard to screw up or overcook things.