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No charcoal in new gas grills????!
Old 07-03-2013, 01:48 PM   #1
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No charcoal in new gas grills????!

My [obviously old] gas grill bit the dust. I went shopping for a replacement and learned for the first time that gas grills no longer "allow" charcoal (more accurately, those artificial charcoal bricks). Apparently, this change has been in effect for quite a few years.
Apparently, the whole grill-cooking process is now nothing more than heating from underneath, and the drippings falling on these newfangled metal shields.
Maybe I'm naive, but I always presumed the charcoal/bricks gave the barbecue flavor.
I haven't bought a replacement yet. I don't want the hassle of old-fashioned charcoal cooking -- lighter fluid, waiting for the charcoals to get hot, etc.
So am I destined to never cooking on a grill again?
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:00 PM   #2
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My very old Weber has no Lava Rocks, just the flavorizer bars. Works fine for me. When I want real flavor I use the charcoal grill with smoker chips.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:06 PM   #3
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I don't think the "charcoal briquettes" used in gas grills did much more than disperse and even out the heat from the gas burners. They are made of ceramic or concrete.

FYI, after 12 years of heavy use, we finally replaced our old gas grill that used those ceramic briquettes with a new Weber that has the stainless steel shields you describe, and we couldn't be happier. I'm able to sear meat better and get much more consistent results on the Weber. The flavor comes from seasoning and caramelizing the outside of the meat. If you want smoky flavor, you can use wood chips in a special metal box on the grill.
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Old 07-03-2013, 02:10 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally Posted by padlin00 View Post
My very old Weber has no Lava Rocks, just the flavorizer bars. Works fine for me. When I want real flavor I use the charcoal grill with smoker chips.
+1 here. 10 year old Weber Genesis Silver B. There are flavorizer bars between the gas elements and the grate that the food sits on. The fats and juices drip from the food onto the flavorizer bars and then the residual drips into a grease pan below the heat. Works great. No need for lava rocks but still get that great grilled flavor. (Not as good as charcoal, but a good quality/convenience tradeoff IMO).

BTW, I recently replaced the original 10 year old enameled steel grates with enameled cast iron grates that are great. They retain heat like cast iron but are easy to maintain like enameled steel.
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Old 07-03-2013, 03:00 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by mystang52 View Post
Maybe I'm naive, but I always presumed the charcoal/bricks gave the barbecue flavor.
I don't think ceramic bricks add any flavor, they are for heat dispersion. Real charcoal would. My gas grill never had any, but you can use wood chips with a smoker box like this

Brinkmann Cast Iron Smoker Box-812-7222-S at The Home Depot
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Old 07-03-2013, 04:03 PM   #6
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It's not the charcoal that contributes the flavor, but the smoke rising up from the drippings that fall on the red hot coals (or hot whatever (metal or ceramic bars or what have you).

I would second the recommendations for using wood chips to help enhance the process. Different techniques whether you use a smoker box or not, but they will certainly help.

For those who want the ultimate experience, I would highly recommend the Big Green Egg. Not only is it an incredibly great tool, but it's also the last grill you'll ever buy. Basically a combination grill and smoker, giving you the best of both at the same time. Anyone who has ever done ribs on a BGE will agree!
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:13 PM   #7
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Originally Posted by IBWino View Post
If you want smoky flavor, you can use wood chips in a special metal box on the grill.
Or alternately just wrap some water-soaked wood chips in aluminum foil, punch some holes in the top of the packet, and throw it in the bottom of your gas grill.
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:23 PM   #8
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Or alternately just wrap some water-soaked wood chips in aluminum foil, punch some holes in the top of the packet, and throw it in the bottom of your gas grill.
Already spent good money the little metal box!
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Old 07-03-2013, 05:27 PM   #9
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It's not the charcoal that contributes the flavor, but the smoke rising up from the drippings that fall on the red hot coals (or hot whatever (metal or ceramic bars or what have you).
Good point. I really never gave this much thought, but now it makes sense why Weber refers to the stainless metal shields as " flavorizer bars".
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:22 AM   #10
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I have the "flavorizer bars" and enamel grill bars that get pretty messy after awhile. Is there an easy way to safely clean them off? I know I'm not supposed to use a wire brush on them but would oven cleaner work without damaging them?

The previous grill I had was pretty cheap and the burners bit the dust a long time ago. Trying to be frugal I took the burners out and used charcoal for a couple more years before finally trashing the whole thing.

Cheers!
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Old 07-04-2013, 07:36 AM   #11
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Maintaining your Flavorizer Bars is simple and easy. Regularly doing the burn-off/brush routine should keep your Flavorizer Bars clean. Start by doing a burn-off (turning all burners on high for 15 minutes with the lid closed) before or after grilling. (If you have cast iron grates, remove before burning off.) This will turn the accumulated debris on your Flavorizer Bars into ashes. Then when the grates are cool, lift them out and brush off the bars with a brass brush.

If a more thorough cleaning is necessary, take the bars out of the grill, put them in the sink and clean with some soapy water and an SOS pad. If using dishwashing liquid in the water, do not use anything lemon-or citrus-based. Rinse thoroughly and towel dry. Do not let them drip dry, as this may cause them to rust prematurely. We do not recommend putting Flavorizer Bars in the dishwasher. The amount of debris they release may cause your drain to clog.
My Flavorizer Bars need a cleaning. Any tips? | Weber Mobi
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Old 07-04-2013, 09:34 AM   #12
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Originally Posted by Badger View Post
I have the "flavorizer bars" and enamel grill bars that get pretty messy after awhile. Is there an easy way to safely clean them off? I know I'm not supposed to use a wire brush on them but would oven cleaner work without damaging them?

The previous grill I had was pretty cheap and the burners bit the dust a long time ago. Trying to be frugal I took the burners out and used charcoal for a couple more years before finally trashing the whole thing.

Cheers!
That's not frugal!

I saw generic replacement flavor bars in Walmart. They are two piece SS 'tents' (just a right angle piece, ~ 4" on each side), and the two pieces slide over each other to fit the length of your burners. When mine need replacement, I'll check with Weber (when I needed parts for my previous grill, they were reasonably priced), or see about ordering some SS online and make my own.

My new (natural gas) grill has a stainless steel 'tent' over each burner, I guess those are the 'flavorizer bars' - drippings on those burn/smoke off. The grill is the Weber alternate brand - Ducane. Cleaning is as MB linked - a 'burn-off' keeps them pretty clean.


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Old 07-04-2013, 10:32 AM   #13
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Shopping for a new gas grill this weekend. We don't grill often - actually "rarely" is a better description - so I doubt I'll spring for a top of the line brand. Thanks all for the input.
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Old 07-04-2013, 03:11 PM   #14
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Originally Posted by braumeister View Post
For those who want the ultimate experience, I would highly recommend the Big Green Egg. Not only is it an incredibly great tool, but it's also the last grill you'll ever buy. Basically a combination grill and smoker, giving you the best of both at the same time. Anyone who has ever done ribs on a BGE will agree!
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I LOVE my BGE. I got rid of my weber charcoal and my gas grill. Never used them after getting the BGE. My biggest concern was the start up time, but to be honest I haven't found it to be a big issue. I start the wood lump charcoal, then go inside and get the meat ready, and typically it is ready by the time I come back out. It isn't instant like a gas grill but I haven't found it to be an issue like I had anticipated.

What I love about the BGE is the versatility. From very slow smoking a pork roast at a steady 225 degree with one load of lump charcoal to a searing hot fire of over 700 degrees to sear a nice steak and everything in between. Burgers cooked on it are awesome--they remind me of the burgers you do when you are camping over a campfire, which in essence you are doing.

I realize you are seeking a gas grill but I would second braumeister's suggestion of a BGE
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Old 07-04-2013, 05:17 PM   #15
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I cover the grates with HD aluminum foil and crank up the heat for 15 min or so maybe 2-3 times a year. Burns off everything, make sure it's not around combistibles as it gets very hot, like cleaning the oven.
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