How About Sam’s Club Barbeques and Grills?
Brent asks if this Smoke Hollow 4 in 1 Combo unit for $350 is a good entry level “smoker.”
LC: The short answer is if that is your budget and you want a unit that will get you by for a few years, and are willing to do some modifications along the way, then sure. The most important thing for me is to get you into the thrill of outdoor cooking.
What you get here is a grill, an offset woodbox for BBQ, a side burner and a searing burner. You can use gas or charcoal, and I do like that. It gives you a chance to try several different outdoor cooking techniques for a low investment.
The big caveat, Brent, is that it’s like Char Broil, New Braunfels, really any of the consumer grade all in one units in that it’s made in China and light duty. It will probably last 3-5 years. But, for $350 it’s a good buy.
Spending more on quality Weber equipment will be more expensive initially, but guaranteed cheaper per year because of a probably 20 year life span. I’m on year 24 of my Weber gas grill, for example. My annual cost is about $12, amortized over 23 years, and I probably have another good 5 years left. But, with that said, the Sam’s Club unit should be fine, and it is convenient being an all in one unit.
IF YOU CANNOT FIND IT IN YOUR LOCAL SAM’S CLUB, you’ll have to pay a hefty shipping charge. Amazon has what I believe is the same working grill components with a slightly different storage configuration for the same price, including 2 day shipping.Smoke Hollow 1800CGS Gas/Charcoal/Smoker Grill with Side Burner
Keep in touch and let us know how you like it!
Greetings from Mauritius
I am Priscille, manager of 2 restaurants in Mauritius. Moreover, the heart of our activities is outside catering and I personnally am a big fan of weber cooking. I just come back from a food festival in Kuala Lumpur and been in contact with a great Chef, M. Jean Michel Fraisse, sharing his experiences and ideas… what a dream !!! Thank you for sharing on weber cooking, i sincerely appreciate and would be honored to receiv you monthly newsletters. Looking forward to receive you in Mauritius… yours sincerey
LC: Cool, and always glad to hear from our international readers! I’ve responded to Priscille and offered to do a feature article on her catering business. Hoping to get some good pics and recipes!
Carla is shopping for a basting brush
What do you recommend for a brush for BBQ sauce? I’ve heard silicone is better.
LC: I buy 1″ natural bristle paint brushes from Home Depot for about $2.50 for the same reason painters prefer natural bristles; they hold more sauce with a more even application. I don’t like the silicone brushes, Carla. They don’t hold nearly as much sauce, and often they are too stiff.
I put mine in the dishwasher, and they last for about 3 years. But, I put practically everything in the dishwasher, even stuff I probably shouldn’t, because 1) I’m inherently lazy, and 2) I’m very concerned about sanitation. Some people say silicon cleans better. Maybe. My bristle brushes come out fine. I have several so there’s no chance of cross-contamination during cooking.
Ben writes about his experience with Baby Back Ribs on the Weber
I absolutely floored my guests with the ribs this weekend, your article about using the Weber Performer and the 2-2-1 method for my baby backs (I also have the Smokenator 1000) was absolutely fool-proof! Thank you very much for the taking the time to share your experiences on the internet, they are undoubtedly helping many people like myself thoroughly enjoy themselves while sharing with our friends and families.
LC: Ben, great! I’m so glad they worked out for you! I’ve gone over this article several times and made a couple of small changes, including re-shooting the vent positions, but I wanted to have a step-by-step that was essentially foolproof. Looks like it’s working;-)
Jeanine from Lakeland, FL asks:
You seem really down on gas grills. How come?
LC: Not at all, Jeanine. I think they make great planters;-)
OK, just kidding (mostly). I use my 23-year old Weber gasser for finishing sous vide food. I use a cast iron grate and sear from 30 sec. to one minute per side. It’s convenient and works fine for that use.
My main problem with gas grills is that they’re single purpose; they’re meant for high heat grilling primarily. If you don’t mind doing some modifications you can use them for medium heat indirect grilling, but the taste won’t quite be the same as with charcoal, and it can be hard to keep the grill temp down to the 225° that you usually need for low and slow cooking. Plus, it’s a dry heat, unlike wood or charcoal, and tends to dry out food cooked for a long time a little faster.
With that said, I do like the Weber Q300, even with the two burner setup. You get a cast iron grate with porcelain which is an excellent combination, and with some deflectors you might be able to do some decent indirect cooking.
On the plus side they are economical, get up to temp quickly, and of course are highly convenient. I just advised a friend to get that very grill–the Q300–based on her needs which were almost exclusively grilling fish and veggies. It’s the BBQ process that presents the big challenge to most gas grill users.