The Weber Performer Deluxe is a charcoal grill I own, and if you prefer the flavor of food cooked over a charcoal fire but love the convenience of a gas grill, I believe it is the charcoal grill you should own too.
Update: Now you can use a Weber Performer as a barbecue smoker too! Your ribs will probably be the best you have ever had. Our tutorial shows you how, step by step.
There are three levels of the Performer. Normally (being Scottish), I do not opt for the highest level model within a product line, but in this case the Deluxe is the Performer model you want. The reason: the electronic gas lighter . The basic and Premium models do not offer this option, and it’s essential. It’s cleaner, faster, and you will use your grill more often because of it.
You can get a perfectly good Weber 22.5″ charcoal grill that will turn out food just as good as the Performer for $100, and for another $50 you can get the One Touch system with ash disposal added. I’m going to explain why I think you should consider spending the extra money on the Performer.
The Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
Features That Make This Grill Your Best Buy and Best Choice
- Full size 22.5″ grill and porcelain coated bowl
- One handle (One-Touch system) for easy draft control and ash disposal
- The electronic gas lighter
- Hinged grill for easy fuel-adding access
- Built In Lid Thermometer
- Weatherproof cart for washable surface for prep work and carving
Other features include a charcoal bin which I don’t use because I prefer to experiment with different charcoal varieties , and an LCD timing clock which I think is a goofy thing you don’t need but it comes with it. I use my iPhone as a timer.
The Weber Performer Deluxe Grill is a hybrid, giving you gas grill convenience and charcoal grill taste at a fraction of the cost of a gas grill
The most important features for me are the weatherproof cart and prep/carving surface, and the gas lighter. If you get a lesser model you’ll have neither, and you will eventually want both. A thermometer in the lid is essential, and the one provided in the Performer is adequate. If you buy any grill without one, you’ll need to install one immediately. If I were to do that, I’d upgrade from the stock temp gauge, but that’s another $25 or so plus the hole drilling. The hinged grate is another essential, as you don’t need to remove the grate to add wood chunks or charcoal.
The cart is so handy for hanging your accessories and moving an entire system of charcoal and wood chunks around to different grilling spots, especially when you’re having a party and want to be among the guests.
The gas lighter is imperative. Sure, for $15 you can buy a Weber charcoal lighting accessory, and they work fine. They’re also messy, and require the use of newspaper or a fire starter of some sort. I don’t like the Weber lighting setup that comes with the Performer as it uses a dinky little propane bottle that you can go through in two or three cooks. A much better alternative is to buy a Propane Hose and Adapter and use a standard 20 pound refillable propane tank , which, if you don’t have one, will cost you about $30. You will pay for this quickly with huge savings on propane costs over the small bottles. That’s another $50 or so, but it’s money well spent that will pay for itself in a year or so of moderate grill usage.
Whether you do use a gas grill or have a propane tank for lighting your charcoal grill, have you ever run out of propane at a convenient time? No, I haven’t either, and that’s why I like this cool and inexpensive device that warns you when you’re low, and need to visit your local propane supplier soon–before your party.
Whatever you decide, stick with Weber
Weber makes awesome grills, both charcoal and gas. I have both. My Weber gas grill is 23 years old, and my Performer is nearly 10 years old. Both work great. I am not a big fan of gas because unless you have infrared it doesn’t get hot enough for proper searing, and it adds no flavor to the food, but if I’m feeling uber-lazy in the winter, I’ll use it maybe twice.
Here is where you have to look at value and cost over time. A Char Broil is much less, and it’s junk. Period. It might give you five years of service before you need replacement parts, if it doesn’t rust out before then. The Weber will give you 20 years or more. My gas grill is proof. If you keep them even halfway clean and free of dirt and grease, you won’t have to replace a grill surface for a decade or more, and your bowl will never rust. Awesome products for consumer grade grills.
This is a short review, because I’m not going to waste your time repeating the manufacturer’s specs. I have three main cooking sources for grilling and barbecuing: A Pitts and Spitts custom built barbecue pit, about $3,000 with shipping; a Cookshack electric smoker, about $800, and my Weber Performer, about $400 with the gas tank and line. I have what I consider top shelf equipment, and all I will ever need for barbecuing, smoking, and grilling. The Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
will make your cooking taste awesome, it’s relatively inexpensive, and will last you decades.
Available from Amazon
If you don’t want to spend $400 for the Deluxe Performer, gas hose and propane tank, here are two quality alternatives:
The Basic Weber Kettle-Silver One Touch
About $100. I’ve had two, and for a hundred bucks you will have a quality grill which, as previously stated, will turn out food just as good as the Performer. You won’t have a work area or gas lighter, you won’t have the handy hinged grill, and the clean up is a biotch. It’s still a classic and a good one.
About $150. This adds the great one handle draft control and ash receptacle, along with the hinged grill for adding wood chunks and fuel. This model I’ve never owned but the extra $50 is worth it if you don’t want to pay for the Performer features.
If you think either of these two grills are a better budget fit, then be sure to look at our detailed comparison between the Weber Performer, Gold One Touch, and Silver One Touch.
This is a major purchase, and if you have questions, we’re here to help you make the best decision. Use the comment form below, or reach out to me here.