The post below is by our newest contributor, Chris Rocke! A man with his fair share of BBQ practice. Thanks Chris!
Gas grills now offer options that rival some kitchen ovens and stoves. The latest gas grills come with searing burners, rotisseries, wok grates, fish and vegetable baskets, and even remote control. Efficiency has increased, with higher BTUs, better thermometers, side burners, LED lights, and better materials and construction. More and more families are using their grill year-round in all kinds of weather, making the choice of a quality BBQ grill even more important.
In a world of grills of every shape, size, and color, there is one name brand that is synonymous with backyard BBQ – Weber. Started as a charcoal grill company in the 50s, Weber has evolved into a leader in the world of gas BBQ grills. With a wide variety of models, price points, and accessories, Weber grills can be found in most every hardware, big box, or home improvement store across the country.
The saying “you get what you pay for” defines the Weber grill, as many loyal customers will tell you. Weber offers one of the best warranties, quality stainless steel component parts, and world-class customer service. It is not unusual to see a 10 or 15 year-old Weber grill, and replacement parts are readily available. Personally, I grill on a 20-year-old, Weber Genesis 3000 named Ol’ Red. More about that later…
The Weber E-310 and E-330 Lead the Pack in Popularity
When it comes to today’s Weber grills, the (Spirit/ Genesis) 300 series are the true workhorses. Available in either natural gas or propane, these grills represent great value, and compared to other brands, provide many years of service. Both the E-310 and E-330 heat food with 3 stainless steel burners with electronic ignition, and incorporate porcelain enamel cooking grates, and Weber exclusive “Flavorizer” bars.
Both have painted cabinet doors, side panel surfaces, and high quality steel construction. Riding on 4 casters, 2 swivel and 2 with locking ability, each come complete with a grease tray and catch pan for easy clean up, and well placed BBQ tool hooks. But which one is right for your backyard? While these may look similar side to side while you’re standing in the air-conditioned aisle at the hardware store, there are some differences that may make one better for your next backyard party.
Differences Between the E-310 vs E-330
Though the 2016 Weber Genesis has been phased out, it’s worth to start with the Weber (Spirit) E-310, priced at $499. The 310 is a 32,000 BTU, LP gas grill. The main cooking surface grill measures 424 sq. in, with the warming rack adding an additional 105 sq. inches – About average for a grill this size, and room for about 20 burgers. The propane tank is tucked nicely out of sight in the cabinet, and includes a precision fuel gauge, so no excuse to run out of propane on Saturday afternoon.
3 separate burner control knobs offer excellent heat control, and allow for efficient 2 zone cooking – Making for the ability to have a hot zone and a warm zone while grilling. And the porcelain enameled cooking grates offer excellent heat retention, for restaurant quality grill marks. The E-310 is a reliable, well made, reliable BBQ. Great for the novice or “well-seasoned” backyard griller.
The E-330 offers many of the same Weber standard features as the E-310 – Looking at the 330 however, there are some noticeable differences both outside, and under the hood. First is the price tag of $599, a bit more than the E-310, but not without some features that can’t be ignored by even the occasional backyard chef.
While the hood is still a black enamel, the side shelves on the E-330 are stainless steel, with one side shelf incorporating a 10,000 BTU, flush mounted, stainless steel side burner – Great for warming sauces or marinades, or cooking up a side dish. Open the hood of the E-330, and you’ll find the same 529 sq. in of total cooking space, but an added feature – A 7500 BTU Sear Station.
If steaks and chops are your thing, know that Weber’s specially designed Sear Station allows you better control, and the ability to sear a 32 oz. Tomahawk Ribeye like your favorite steakhouse. All without taking away traditional grill grate space. 3 individually controlled traditional burners produce 32000 BTU, with the same 2 zone grilling capability as the 310. Options are endless with the sear station, 2 zone cooking ability, and the side burner – A real triple threat for you next backyard bash, and worth the higher price tag.
With Weber, you can’t go wrong with either of these entry level BBQ grills. I’ve personally cooked on both, and appreciate the impressive grill space, even heating, and excellent food they turn out. They are Weber quality – Thoughtfully designed and well built. Their 52-inch wide by 24-inch-deep footprint, and 45.1/2-inch height allow them to fit nicely on any patio or deck. And the best way to keep your Weber grill cooking for years to come? Keep it covered…
So, what should you buy?
The E-310 has most everything a backyard BBQ griller needs – Adequate size, quick warm up, with flexible controls and cooking zone capability. Chicken, hot dogs, burgers, and all the BBQ standards come off this grill with great results. If steaks and the like are in your party plans, the E-330 is the best choice. The E-330’s Sear Station turns out professional results, and the side burner provides extra capacity and versatility for sauces and sides. Worth the extra $100, your family and friends will be impressed – And so will you.
The New Weber Genesis II – While I’m still holding on to my 3000 Ol’ Red, the latest Genesis II models are truly a leap forward for any backyard griller. Featuring up to 6 burners, 60,000 BTUs and a generous 998 square inches of cooking space, the Genesis II comes in a variety of colors and configurations. The Genesis II is a step up in quality and capability, as well as price. But taking into consideration Weber’s quality and reputation, well worth the investment. And, I see they come in red…
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