Hi. Newbie here and excited to have found you. My fiancee and I have bought a house, and I finally get to have a grill of my own. After apartment living for a long time, I am very, very excited. I've done a lot of research at this point, and I've come up with the Weber Performer. A few questions for you:
(1) Is the Performer really as good as the reviews (such as at Amazon suggest)? Any complaints out there?
(2) Is the gas ignition system worth the $200 extra over the kettle platinum?
(3) My fiancee is still leaning toward a gas grill for the convenience factor. "Say it's a Tuesday night, and we just want a couple of quick chicken breats," she says. My response has been that we can have the charcoals up and running pretty quickly with a grill with a gas ignition for the charcoals. And, in fact, a gas grill wouldn't be that much quicker (and wouldn't taste nearly as good). Am I I right, or am I engaging in wishful thinking?
You are right. To put things in more perspective for you, from what anyone can tell, the Performer is Steve Reichlein's grill of choice. It's in his books, its on his shows and he says if he had just one grill to live with, it would be his charcoal kettle. I concur, if there was one grill to have it would be a charcoal kettle. Also, with as long as gas grills having to heat up compared to coals in a chimney (say 15 minutes vs 20) the time savings of gas is negligible and overstated by gas grillers and the smoke problem they constantly battle (the lack of it) and how long it takes to get good smoke, puts their method far behind the 8 ball for anyone that is truly serious about the hobby. Visit any real BBQ competition and see how many gas rigs you find. The last one I attended had a grand total of none.
Lastly, most gas grills you'll find aren't built to last like a Weber charcoal kettle is. WHen you choose a Weber charcoal kettle, be sure it's the one you'll be happy with 15-20 years from now because it will still be just as capable then as today. I have a 14 year old Bar-B-Kettle that's been sitting on my patio and serving me well the whole time with no cover and it still looks great!