- Number of parts: 415
- Time to disassemble: 3 hours, 52 minutes
- Produced: Palatine, Illinois
No one knows the appeal of a charcoal grill more than a Weber aficionado, but there’s a reason the storied grill-maker also sells gas grills. After a set-up process that amounts to “pick up propane tank from gas station,” on a grill like this one you get more than ten hours of grilling time. No chimney, no charcoals, no debate about the merits of lighter fluid. Sure, you don’t get the smoky charcoal taste. But you still get grill lines, and the Maillard reaction, and standing outside and making conversation with tongs in one hand and a beer in the other. Plus: Have you heard of Flavorizer bars?
The first thing you do is check that you’ve got enough propane. Inside the grill’s cabinet (6), the propane tank hangs on a spring scale (8). The scale is connected to a gauge (7) on the front of the barbecue; pressing the gauge’s button lights up LEDs to indicate how much fuel is left. (The gauge shows the tank’s weight as a fraction of the 20-pound weight of a full tank.) Assuming you’ve got enough, you open the valve and the propane, which is liquid under pressure inside the tank, enters the grill’s hose (4) through the regulator (5), depressurizes, and becomes a gas. It flows through the manifold (13), whose four valves (12) direct the gas to the igniters (14) for each burner. Depressing and turning a burner’s knob (2) activates the igniter, whose spark-plug action ignites the propane, so jets of blue flame emerge from the holes of the burner tube (18).
Close the lid (1) so that the grilling cavity can heat up. (A thermometer  on the lid offers a temperature readout, so you’ll know how hot it’s getting without having to open it up, which would sacrifice heat.) Once the temperature is where you want it, open the lid. Maybe adjust the burners to create zones of direct heat and indirect heat. When you’re ready, you throw down some burgers, or some chicken, or a big slab of marinated tri tip. As the meat cooks, hot grease drips through the cooking grate (3), where it hits the Flavorizer bars (16). Aside from protecting the burners from drips and helping to keep the temperature in the cookbox (15) even, the bars are engineered with a surface area and slope to vaporize just enough of the grease to add flavor to the food, while funneling the rest to the grease-trap system.
Below the burners are the heat deflectors (17), V-shaped sheets of metal with ports in them. The heat deflectors radiate heat upward, complementing the effect of the Flavorizer bars, evening out the temperature distribution. But the deflectors also help keep the area below them cool. This is important, because as the grease drips past them, it enters the grease tray (10), a porcelain enamel funnel, and seeps into a disposable drip pan (9), which sits in the catch pan (11). If the heat deflectors fail to keep the grease trap cool and it manages to reach the flash point of the grease pool, it could end even the most laid-back of summer barbecues.