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Buying a new charcoal grill

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    Buying a new charcoal grill

    I’ve had a Primo Oval XL for 9 years. It cooks great. I usually start my briskets around 9pm, stay up with it until midnight, catch 5 hours sleep and when I wake up she’s usually still sitting right there at 215-240 deg. Never add any charcoal during the 14-16 hour cook. However, in 9 years I’ve replaced the gasket, the caster wheels, two charcoal grates and now the fire box has cracked completely across. In addition, there is a matchbook sized chunk missing out of the side of the outside ceramic and the hinges have weakened to the point that I have to be very careful opening and closing the lid.

    So in summary I love how it cooks, but not how it has worn. Primo will replace the firebox for free, so kudos to them, but I think I am ready for a new grill. I also am planning to build an outdoor kitchen. So right now my leading contenders are Weber Summit, the larger Kamado Joe or possibly something like a Hasty Bake or M1.

    The upside of the Weber for me is I think it will be more portable if I ever decide to enter a BBQ competition which none of the other models could easily do. Also almost everything I’ve read has been positive about the Weber.

    Would love to hear feedback from people about how these grills compare and if anyone has fitted them into an outdoor kitchen.

    #2
    Since, your issue with the Primo is long term durability, I would carefully scrutinize the warranties. My Big Green Egg is lifetime on the ceramics, firebox and fire ring. The other parts have limited warranties. I don’t know if the Kamado Joe or the Weber are that long.

    Comment


      #3
      I don't own any of them, nor any insight on fitting a grill into an outdoor kitchen. They are all great grills. My choice would be the Hasty Bake and I'm sure your going to get a boat load of comments.

      However, regarding the BBQ competition comment, I've been involved with a lot of KCBS competitions and you'd be hard pressed with just one smoker of this size. If your doing one meat entry, then yeah you can do it. But more than one entry and it would be difficult. Just my 2 cents.

      Comment


        #4
        You have a great shortlist there. I would also consider adding the SNS Kamado to that mix.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by LA Pork Butt View Post
          Since, your issue with the Primo is long term durability, I would carefully scrutinize the warranties. My Big Green Egg is lifetime on the ceramics, firebox and fire ring. The other parts have limited warranties. I don’t know if the Kamado Joe or the Weber are that long.
          Yes sir, I have learned that these grills take a beating year in year out, so it’s important to find one that will last (and have a warranty if it doesn’t.)

          Comment


            #6
            Originally posted by DavidNorcross View Post
            You have a great shortlist there. I would also consider adding the SNS Kamado to that mix.
            I will look into them. What’s the difference between the SNS compared to Komado? First glance at the website looks like the grilling surface is a little smaller on the SNS.

            Comment


            • jfmorris
              jfmorris commented
              Editing a comment
              The SNS is an insert for charcoal grills, or the SNS Kamado. The SNS Kamado is a 22" (inside diameter i.e. grate size) kamado that can run in traditional kamado mode, or using the Slow 'N Sear insert to do true 2 zone cooking, or smoking in a less efficient but smokier manner than traditional kamado mode.

            #7
            If you have the space, I'd split the duties between two units and have dedicated cookers for grilling and smoking. In terms of budget, you can do this with anywhere from $500 to, well... a lot more. A Weber or SnS kettle combined with a pellet pooper, WSM, or PBC. is widely considered to be a great setup for everything from a batch of burgers and brats on a Sunday afternoon to a couple of briskets for a get together with a dozen or more people. The point is you can have dedicated units that will excel at their tasks better than all but the top dollar combo units. If you are set on the idea of one cooker for all things, the Good One line has always intrigued me, and is very well reviewed on the free side. If you have the money to burn, and the time to wait, the LSG 24x48 charcoal is often spoke of as being the pinnacle of combo units.

            Comment


              #8
              Although I don't have the Weber Summit Kamado, I have not heard anything bad about them and kind of want one myself.

              I do have a Hasty Bake and M1 and between those two, I would go with the M1 since it is way more airtight and works much better as a smoker compared to the HB. Plus you can use all wood in it to smoke with. They are both equal when it comes to grilling.

              willxfmr mentions the Good One smokers. I have both a GO Open Range and Marshall and they are two of my favorite smokers that keep rock solid temps. You can also grill on them as well. The only real negative to them IMO is that they are kind of fuel hungry.

              Comment


              • Smoldering Flea
                Smoldering Flea commented
                Editing a comment
                Do you really think HB = M1 for grilling? On paper I always thought HB had a slight edge overall for grilling--grill size, 2nd shelf, direct access to coals. Not meant to be disputative, just curious whether i'm overstating the benefits. otherwise m1 seems unequivocally better in all aspects.

              • 70monte
                70monte commented
                Editing a comment
                The M1 and the HB Legacy are virtually the same size grate wise. The Legacy does not come with a second shelf. The M1 has an adjustable charcoal grate in the cooking chamber just like the Legacy. The Legacy has about double the travel due to not having a lower separate firebox chamber. For grilling purposes there is no difference between the two.

              #9
              Well, couple things... if you like catching Zs while you cook your brisket, then (and I could be wrong here) it seems to me you’ll want another kamado or a pellet cooker. Why not keep the Primo (fixing the hinge and replacing the gasket won’t cost much) and add something portable like the summit?

              Comment


                #10
                I've been very pleased with my Weber Summit Charcoal Grill. I've only had it a couple years and it's only been out like 4 or so total, so cannot speak to it's longevity, but there's not a lot to go wrong. The grates are pretty solid. However, hard to say if the hinge will weaken over time or not. Lid isn't near as heavy as a ceramic Kamado so it has that going for it.

                I've been intrigued by the M1 as well. If I would have known about it before the WSCG, I would have had a harder time making my decision since the M1 can be run on splits too. However, as an everyday cooker, the clean-up looks like it might get a little tiring to me.

                The LSG Adjustable Charcoal grill offers a built in model and there's a couple members here that have been giving it lots of love. https://lonestargrillz.com/collectio...charcoal-grill. LSG appears to build some very heavy duty stuff.

                Comment


                • Cachecropp
                  Cachecropp commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Whoa, that’s nice!

                #11
                The Weber Summit series would definitely be more portable than any kamado, due to weight. I have a SNS Deluxe Kamado, and don't plan on it ever leaving the concrete area by my pool in the backyard - its just too heavy to haul off in my truck to a BBQ competition, and too fragile if I knocked it over during the move.

                If you are interested in competitions though, any kamado or kettle won't have room for all you would want to cook. I think for portability and flexibility something like the Weber Smokey Mountain would be the way to go. Harry Soo is a renowned BBQ competitor who is known for doing all his smoking using the WSM.

                My advice? Fix the Primo and keep using it, since they are offering you replacement parts under warranty, and get something new and DIFFERENT to use along side it. If you really want to go to competitions, something portable like the WSM or an "Ugly Drum Smoker" (UDS) would be ideal. I've got a lot of outdoor cookers, and if I could only have two, right now it would be my kamado or my Weber Performer, and the second cooker would be an outdoor griddle (I have a Camp Chef FTG900). The outdoor griddles are great for cooking lots of burgers, thinner cuts of beef and pork, boneless chicken, and doing stir fry, breakfast, veggies, and so on.

                I am planning some sort of outdoor kitchen build - probably a cabinet with counter top, and it will include my SNS Kamado and my Camp Chef flat top.

                Comment


                • jfmorris
                  jfmorris commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Cachecropp yeah the WSM is so light and portable, and can break down into several sections, making it easy to transport in a car trunk. The attraction of a drum smoker would be that it is all one piece. Either would be MUCH easier to transport than even a Weber Kettle, and could smoke more at multiple levels. I would suggest the PBC (Pit Barrel Cooker), but to me, its not a competition smoker, since there is no temperature control provision.

                • hoovarmin
                  hoovarmin commented
                  Editing a comment
                  jfmorris are you planning on removing the Camp Chef from it's stand and sinking it into a counter? Or are you leaving it as is?

                • jfmorris
                  jfmorris commented
                  Editing a comment
                  hoovarmin I would remove the legs and side tables, and set it into a dropped place in the counter, with a cutout for routing the propane hose to a tank underneath, and ventilation for the burners. I saw a build like this on YouTube and the guy also removed the grease cup bracket from the side shelf and mounted to his cabinet.

                #12
                Traeger Pellet grill, Timberline 850. Thinking of an upgrade for me.
                Blaze 20" Cast Aluminum Kamado - Blaze Grills worth a look-see,

                Long live BBQ and happy grilling to you

                Comment


                  #13
                  Originally posted by JCBBQ View Post
                  Well, couple things... if you like catching Zs while you cook your brisket, then (and I could be wrong here) it seems to me you’ll want another kamado or a pellet cooker. Why not keep the Primo (fixing the hinge and replacing the gasket won’t cost much) and add something portable like the summit?
                  I think that is a great idea. I’m not sure how to fix the hinge, but I can ask Primo (or whoever the new owner is). It presents another problem, which is finding room in my outdoor kitchen build, because the wife wants a gas grill (for her). I have to consider her wishes, so that’s 3 grills. I still think this might be the way to go. Possibly build in the Primo and gasser, but build it so the Weber Summit cart fits into it decently. That way I can roll the Weber in and out as needed.

                  Comment


                  • JCBBQ
                    JCBBQ commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Oh shoot! Did Primo get sold? I hadn't heard. Also I blew out my original gasket with my first pizza cook. I since put on a high heat gasket someone on the Primo forum sold me. It's lasted 5 years and I regularly hit 800 degrees when doing pizza. I don't know if you've looked into one of those but I highly recommend one vs the flimsy one it came with.

                  • Cachecropp
                    Cachecropp commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Yes, they have new owners. The emails I’ve received from them come from Empire Comfort. I will definitely check out the high temp gasket.

                  • au4stree
                    au4stree commented
                    Editing a comment
                    Cachecropp, I could be wrong but I think Primo, under new ownership is releasing a new hinge. It is supposed to be an “airlift” type similar to the new KJ’s. I’m unsure if they’ll retro fit to a 9yo cooker, might be newer than 5 years.

                  #14
                  Cachecropp here is a nice video from Harry Soo showing how he sets up his WSM for competition smoking:

                  https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dOctn85Y-nk

                  As you can see, for Harry its a tool - he doesn't keep it wiped down and clean like I would if I just had one in my back yard!
                  Last edited by jfmorris; March 24, 2021, 03:32 PM.

                  Comment


                    #15
                    Ok, well, I took the advice of several people and made two decisions, going repair and keep the Primo. I also bought a 22” WSM yesterday! I’ve run two sets of Kingsford blue bag through as a test. Now I’m cooking some bacon on it to help season it. It does run a little hot, about 285 at center of top grate with all vents closed to barely a sliver of an opening. I’m expecting that number to come down as it breaks in and I learn my way around it. However, I really like the overall design, fit and finish for the money.

                    Thanks everyone for the advice. I may still get another grill someday, but am going to roll with the Primo as my “do everything else” grill and the WSM as the main smoker.
                    Last edited by Cachecropp; March 26, 2021, 11:00 AM.

                    Comment


                    • lostclusters
                      lostclusters commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Cachecropp You should really tighten that wsm up with some lava lock gasket or something similar. Between the section and the lid. I'd also make sure the door is sealing well. I'm sure the temps will be better controlled then.
                      Last edited by lostclusters; March 26, 2021, 11:12 AM.

                    • jfmorris
                      jfmorris commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Wow! A lot happening there! Good luck with the WSM, especially if my advice had anything to do with it! It just seems ideal for portability for competition cooking. The WSM 22 is on my short list of cooker if I were to buy another cooker. Right now I think the wife would kill me if I bought a grill of any sort, having brought two new ones into the backyard in the last year (last June and this January).

                    • tenphases
                      tenphases commented
                      Editing a comment
                      Nice decision, and you saved 1,500 in the process, go buy some meat!!

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