Letter to a Fellow Griller…

19 Dec

I hang out a lot on The Virtual Weber Bullet forum sponsored by Chris Allingham. Chris does a wonderful job of providing a place for Weber grill lovers to share ideas, recipes, tips and techniques. A new member over there asked a question earlier in the day. The question was, essentially “I have a Big Green Egg. I bought a Weber Performer for another location and would like to know to ‘translate’ between the two.” Since I have Weber Performers and kettles as well as Big Green Eggs, a Primo XL Oval and a Kamado Joe, I decided to pass along a few thoughts. I thought I would share those thoughts there, too, for anybody who might have a ceramic as well as a kettle grill. Here is my response:

Welcome John! I’m a bi-lingual griller, too. I have Performers, Kettles, Genesis and Q’s. I have a Kamado Joe, 2 Eggs and a Primo XL Oval.

I’ll try to help. There are somethings the BGE is just always going to do well – low and slow, grilling at nuclear temperatures, and pizzas for starters.

That being said, the Weber Kettles are very flexible and give the cook an opportunity to set up two or even three zone fires for cooking foods at different grate temperatures or, something I do a LOT, cooking reverse sear or sear and hold where one half of the charcoal grate is filled with charcoal and the other half is empty – giving you a “roasting” zone for reverse sear or sear and hold cooking that is so valuable when cooking larger steaks and roasts, or even bone-in chicken breasts.

I generally use briquettes for my Weber cooking, although I sometimes will sprinkle in some smaller bits of lump that I’ve pulled out of one of the ceramics after a cook.

You’ll want to do some experimenting with the vent controls. I generally open the bottom vent all the way and control the heat with the top vent. Some people may differ, but its just easier for me to see how open or closed the top vent is. I know, I can mark the bottom vent settings on the ash basket holder, but that’s just the way I do it. I do use the lower vent if I am going to be cooking lower/slower on the Weber, such as when I am using my rotisserie on one of the Kettles ( I have a kettle that I just keep the rotisserie on all the time).

Otherwise, the skills you already have transfer back and forth pretty well: direct versus indirect cooking, fire control and timing when to remove the meat from the grill.

Another thing the Weber does that can be good is cool down faster than the Egg! If I want to cover one of my ceramics back up up after a cook, I have to wait until the next morning. The Performer will cool down in about 45 minutes after you shut down all of the vents.

You also are going to like the gas assist charcoal lighting. I use a weed burner or lighter cubes for the ceramics and use a chimney for the kettles and my non-gas assist 1992 Performer, but when I use my 1992 Model gas assist model at the lake, it is a nice way to light the coals.

You are a lucky man to have a BGE and a Performer. The only problem I have is the opportunity to cook enough meals to get around to cooking on all the grills enough to keep them all happy!

Pat

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