Oh my, what a difference it makes to have a really good charcoal kettle. I hadn't used a Weber charcoal grill for over 25 years...been a gas-griller until 1-1/2 years ago when we got another kettle. Today, to my surprise, Fed-Ex dropped my 10-year service award choice from work at my door, so after spending the 5 or 6 minutes to put it together, I just had to find a reason to put it to the test.
My wife had 3 packages (over 15lb) of wings she wanted cooked for dinner tonight. I removed the tips and tossed 1-1/2 packages into the oven seasoned with Tony's Creole. Another large batch went into my newest Uniflame 22" kettle...the one with only one handle on the front and stamped/formed hinges on the back..don't buy this model, btw...older model was OK, but the new ones are seriously chopped-down versions.
Anyway, I had the Weber 18.5" heating up to season it with about 1.5lb briquettes, and I started the 22" with 2lbs and went to grillin' up more Ton's on it. After a 20-25 minute burn-in with the Weber, I pitched a few into it with some Cajun seasoning. I was pretty skeptical about the Weber's capability, but was very pleased with the even cooking/searing it gave to my wings tonight. The 22" Uniflame burned the coals up and I had to add another pound of hot briqs to finish the wings, which was no big deal, but this grill cannot give a lower & slower grilling like the weber did, without any real effort on my part.
If anyone is in the market for a charcoal kettle, go for the GOLD!!! The Silver would be a very good choice as well, IMO. I've looked into barrel grills here and there, but am not impressed with any of the designs, so far, and the Weber has porcelain enamel bowls and lids...these babies are built for a lifetime of great cooking.
OK, here's the goods...just a few minutes into the Weber:
And, with a bit of a head start, the Uniflame has a bigger job to do, so I was covering the coal-bed to sear, then move to the side and add more, until all were seared on one side only. Then, I started turning and finishing...heat control is a bit touchy/feely on these cheapo grills:
Nice and slow cooking in the Weber with a relatively even, light golden brown searing...very little tending required for these:
And the cheapo, with much shuffling around...intake vents were closed and the fire was still too hot in most places:
Of course the oven roasted had a soft skin on the bottom, and no char-grilled flavor, so not the greatest. The grilled were top notch...crisp skin & all...my oldest daughter is into hot wings lately, so she mixed up some Frank's hot sauce with butter and Lemon juice to coat about 1/2 of every kind........GOOD EATS!!!!!!!!
Easy does it with the Weber, and great results...they really got it right with these kettles...I'll have to pitch out some extra cash and buy another one to go with my gift from work.