What's that cooking on your Weber?

I know that I'll be frowned upon by certain purists. That's because no matter how much people love a real fire, I'm a gas guy. And that's okay. I simply don't have the patience to work with coal. I want to flick a switch and know my fire is instantly raging.

That's why, when it came to deciding on a BBQ for my new home,  I went with the Weber e320 Spirit 3-burner gas grill.

Weber rotisserie

First of all, you get what you pay for. There are definitely cheaper 3-burner gas grills out there, but Weber is the Rolls Royce of the brands. Having just bought a new home I wanted to get the right BBQ that will last me for years. As the unit will be sitting on an exposed patio, I also opted for Weber because I know that it won't rust after the first year. Even with a cover, the legs/wheels always land up being a little exposed and my previous braai (South African word for BBQ) landed up looking a little shoddy with the rust marks.

So with all the models to choose from, which one is for you?

I opted specifically for the e320 because 3 burners is an ample grate size and it also has a convection cooking lid. Believe me, you simply have to do a rotisserie chicken! (Tip: I let it rotate for 2 hours at about 190C using the indirect cooking method of keeping the burner underneath the bird off so it doesn't burn. Also, use a drip tray so that the fat/oil falls into the tray and not on a burner which would cause flare-ups).

In fact, I probably use the rotisserie more than I use the open-style grilling. My wife is Greek and we even did Souvla chicken on it:

Weber rotisserie souvla

After using the braai for a few days, I got adventurous and bought the pizza stone accessory. You'll notice in first picture of the e320 (above) there is a circular cut-out on the grilling plates. This is to be able to slot the pizza stone onto the grates. It's a ceramic plate that you heat up to about 450C. It distributes the heat evenly on the pizza base and also absorbs the moisture of the base, giving you a superbly crispy pizza bottom.

Weber pizza stone

The trick with the pizza stone is to let it heat up with your burners otherwise it can crack from an extreme temperature change. I let it sit there (with the lid closed) for about 30 minutes with the burners on high. The temperature should go to somewhere between 450C and 500C.

While that's heating up, prepare your pizza (Tip: Get the raw pizza bases from your local pizzeria!). Each pizza takes about 8-9 minutes depending on how crispy you like your base. My first one cooked for about 11 minutes, but the base was a little overdone. Cutting the time down to 8 minutes 30 seconds worked for me (I'm a radio guy, so every second counts!). What comes off the Weber is mouth wateringly delicious...
Weber pizza stone

The Weber brand is great because they have so many add-ons which are readily available at most stockists. I would definitely recommend getting the rotisserie and pizza stone.

I initially thought the gas bottle was stored inside the chassis, but it's actually strapped to the side of the braai. Not sure why, but at least you can still wheel the braai around without needing extra hands to hold the gas bottle as you move.

What I almost forgot to mention is that the big difference between the e320 and the older e310 is that the newer model also comes with a stove plate on the left hand side of the convection lid. This is not something I'd use on a regular basis, but it will definitely come in handy if I need to cook something in a pot when the power goes off.

Weber e320

So, should you spend a little more and get a Weber? In my mind, it's well worth the investment.

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