Several weeks ago, I finally decided to make that ultimate commitment. No not marriage, done
that. Not a home purchase, done that. Not a new car, done that. It’s that one commitment
man makes to the ultimate… grill. Actually, my decision led me away from the ultimate grill
and led me on the path of practicality. The ultimate grill would have been one of those built in
stainless steel models you see on the Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous complete with built in
refrigerator, beer tap, sink and wood burning oven. Nope, it won’t work in Kaneohe since it
rains here almost as much as in the Amazon. Outdoor grills somehow loose their appeal when
they need to be constructed indoors. And your grill and accessories shouldn’t cost more than
your home.
How about the Weber Summit S-450 with 4 burner 48,800 btu  with 12,000 btu side burner,
10,600 btu rear infrared burner and 8,000 btu smoker burner? That’ll “only” run around
$2000. Don’t need to renovate the house for this baby and it’ll cook for 2 dozen easy. Of
course, I usually only socialize with a fourth of that crowd. That means a lot of greenhouse
gases for just 6 steaks.
What about the Weber Q series? These half domed compact grills may not appear to be “real”
cooking vessels but after using these babies, I’m a believer.

The Q Family

At its simplest, the Weber Char-Q grill provides 280 square inches of porcelain-enameled cast-
iron cooking grates. Strictly for those who believe wood or charcoal beats gas hands down.
One step up, the Q-100 series provides 189 square inches of cooking space with the ease of gas.
Disposable 14.1 ounce LP containers can be utilized or an optional adapter for a 20 lb LP tank
can be purchased. Ten ¼ lb hamburgers, 16 jumbo hot dogs, 55 jumbo shrimp or 2 whole
lobsters can be cooked on this 8,500 btu model. The Q-120 adds folding work tables on each
side of the grill.
The mid level Q-200 series gets the cooking space back to 280 square inches with the ease of
gas. This 12,000 btu baby can cook fourteen ¼ lb burgers, 24 jumbo hotdogs, 72 jumbo
shrimp, 3 whole lobsters or 1 whole chicken. It uses the same gas sources and comes with the
folding work tables on each side. The Q-220 model has the added benefit of a built in
thermometer and a slightly taller cover profile to accommodate a whole chicken for roasting.
Finally there’s my baby, the Q-300 series of grills. This 21,700 btu beauty provides 393 square
inches of cooking area. This translates to eighteen ¼ lb burgers, 36 jumbo hotdogs, 104 jumbo
shrimp, 5 whole lobsters or 2 whole chickens (a small turkey will also fit). The grill comes
complete with 2 folding work tables, built in thermometer and it bolts on to a stationary cart
(included). Because of the capacity of this grill, it’s meant strictly for 20 lb LP tanks. The new
Q-320 model includes an LED light mounted on the cover handle that can be set to go on
whenever the cover is raised, a stainless steel warming rack that sits in the grill and electronic
ignition for fast light-up. The Q-300 series also has 2 burners, an outer ring burner and a
middle straight burner with independent controls – therefore you can sear down the center and
use the sides for slower grilling.

Where Can I Get Mine?

In the States, it should be easy to find a purveyor of Weber products. On the rock, it’s not as
easy. Many of the large retailers don’t usually carry certain models and must “special” order your
request. Which may or may not take extra time and/or money. I was set on getting the Q-300
model which is carried locally. However after doing several web searches reviewing the Q-300, I
realized that Weber had already improved on it with the Q-320 model. This model wasn’t
stocked in Hawaii. However, the next best thing stocked it. Amazon. Wait a minute; won’t
shipping a complete grill to Hawaii make it obscenely expensive? Certain items shipped directly
from Amazon qualify for free shipping (even to Hawaii). But alas, the Weber Q-320 did not
qualify for free shipping. I had to place it in my shopping basket to see my shipping charges. 1
cent. What!? You read that right. Shipping to Hawaii was one penny! Two day FedEx no less.
Shipped on a Monday, received on Wednesday. Total cost, $359.01.

But How Does It Cook?

For starters, even though the Q-320 is “only” rated at 21,700 btus, grill design counts as much
as heat output. Weber is known for solid grill design, enough so with this baby that it reached
550 degrees within 15 minutes. Add porcelainized cast iron grill grates and this grill seared steaks
like no ones business. So much heat that I inadvertently cooked a standard size New York steak
to medium in only 6 minutes. Therefore the combination of a perfectly designed grill cover to
capture heat and coated cast iron grates that retained all of that heat produced perfect searing
and grill marks. Think of the 21,700 btu rating as getting better gas mileage (A lower btu
rating does give you better propane gas “mileage”) but still gets you there as fast as an inferior
44,000 btu grill.
As mentioned it perfectly seared steaks and chicken and with the outer burned turned to
medium, cooked sausages nicely without over charring them. It also did wonders on vegetables –
zucchini, red onions, red and green peppers – giving them appetizing grill lines without
overcooking.
The only failure of the evening was a pair of 1 & ½ inch pork chops and this was due to chef
error, not a short coming of the grill. Because the New York steaks cooked so fast, I dropped the
heat too much so the very center was a little rare – though ideal for beef, not really good for
pork chops (though pink pork is okay, raw isn’t desirable).
I haven’t tried grilling fish or whole poultry yet though that’s on the menu for the next
available weekend. In fact, this month’s Bon Appetit magazine has a recipe for Tuscan styled
citrus chicken – butterflied whole chicken marinated in citrus juices, garlic, rosemary and
oregano then grilled under bricks (the original panini press) to produce crispy skin and juicy
meat.

Kim Chee Steak

One of my favorite seared meats is very easy to prepare. Look for either flank steak or skirt steak
and place in a zip-lock bag. Add 1 to 2 tablespoons of pre-made liquid kim chee seasoning,
remove as much air from the bag as possible, close the bag and marinate overnight. The
marinated meat can be grilled, seared in a panini pan or even cooked with your George Forman
grill. Meat about ¾ to 1 inch thick only needs about 3 to 4 minutes per side. Let rest for 10
minutes after cooking then slice thinly against the grain. Ono!
A Special Q-Tee