If you don’t like the hassle of charcoal and want to get started fast and clean up quickly, then a gas grill is for you. Most gas grills run off a propane tank, but you can also buy a grill that connects directly to your home’s natural gas line, which is a great feature. If you are considering a cheaper grill, such as a Charbroil or a Sunbeam, keep in mind that you get what you pay for. I have many friends with these grills and have seen the problems. First off, the gas comes out too quickly, so you can easily blow your head off with the automatic lighter, which also tends to break down after one or two seasons. Secondly, the cheaply made cooking grates do not retain heat well and are hard to clean. Finally, the burners cook unevenly and often flare up in areas, ruining your food. Remember that more power does not mean better grilling. Buy a quality grill and it will last you for years. Read More About Why I Love Weber Grills.
The Weber Genesis Series lines up between the larger Summit Series and the entry-level Spirit Grills. For 2012, the Weber Genesis has had some major upgrades, bringing technology and features from the Summit line, including front mounted burner controls, vertical burners and an available sear burner. The flagship grill in this series is the Weber Genesis E-310, which is the perfect size for most families and comes in both propane and natural gas varieties.
The 2013 Weber Genesis E-310, which is available in black, green and copper, has three separately controlled burners (rated at 38,000 BTU-per-hour), and porcelain-enameled cast iron cooking grates that retain heat evenly and sear beautifully. An enclosed cart stores the propane tank with a new precision fuel gauge to let you know your exact level of fuel. Genesis grills have an electronic crossover ignition system, which works electronically to light the grill without having to manually depress a button. Weber's ignition system lights the grill on the first try virtually every time and will do so for years; this has always been a strength of Weber grills and one you will grow to appreciate.
There are a few major upgrades to the 2012 Genesis models, which I am very happy to see showing up at this price level. The first is the front-mount control knobs, which are much easier to keep clean and allow for extra prep space. The second, which most people wouldn’t even realize, is the move from the long standing horizontal burner layout (left to right) to a vertical one (top and bottom). The benefit here is that you can control your heat zones from left to right, which is much easier than trying to organize food from front to back. The only downside is the 2011 model after the update had a small drop in BTU's (4,000) due to the shorter vertical tubes, but this grill has plenty of heat. The higher level S-330 now offers a sear burner (infrared), which is a first for this Genesis line.
I strongly recommend buying the custom Weber Premium Cover and using it on regular basis (especially during the winter) to prolong the life of your grill. But even if you don’t, Weber stands behind all of its products with a best-in-class warranty that covers the major parts of the grill for 10-25 years.
Weber Genesis Models and Variations
The Weber Genesis E-310 comes in three colors in Propane (LP): Black (6511001), Green (6517001) and Copper (6517001) and in Black in Natural Gas (6611001). The E-320 adds a flush-mounted side burner with 12,000 BTU, but most people do not feel the need for this. The Genesis S-310 is basically the E310 with an all stainless body and the better 7mm stainless cooking grates which I prefer to cast iron. The S-320 adds the side burner and the new sear burner. If the Weber Genesis E-310 is too pricey for your budget, I recommend the Weber Spirit E-310, Weber’s entry-level three-burner grill.
Starting in 2005, Weber stopped including propane tanks with their grills. Plan on an additional $30 for a OPD equipped tank. Natural gas models do come with a hose though.