Sunday, July 15, 2007

Kingsford Briquets - Price Up, Weight Down

Good ol' Kingsford. Gotta love 'em for this bit of marketing. They've raised the price and lowered the weight per bag on their "regular" briquets. However, at their web site, they state that the bags are still the same size. Huh?

On top of that, they've changed the formula. You know how people hate change. The new briquets have "Sure Fire" grooves, which "they" say makes them burn longer. Haven't noticed any difference, there. That pretty much depends on the size and shape of the grill, the diehards will say.

Next, the web site encourages indirect cooking, because the briquets might get too hot. Excuse me? Direct heat is the whole point of grilling for some foods. Although, babybacks with indirect heat are mighty tasty. (Is this their way of acknowledging that direct cooking over briquets "may" contribute to cancer?)

In some parts of the country, Kingsford has felt it necessary to provide Spanish translations. To their credit, they're incorporated the foreign language under each American tagline. That way, you don't have to turn the bag around to get to the part you can interpret.

Will continue to use Kingsford briquets. Regularly. Fanatically. Rain, shine, or snow. In spite of the fact that they probably should have left well enough alone. If you're new to charcoaling, here's a great beginner's step-by-step guide to getting that grill going.

Wednesday, July 04, 2007

Weber Grill Review: Goin' for the Smokey Joe Gold

If you're a grill lover, you can't live without this little Weber. It's become an important family member in our own group: standard size charcoaler, electric emergency backup, and a 450-pound smoker. Our first little Smokey Joe lasted about 3 years, but that's partly our fault. We left it outside in all sorts of weather and it began to rust around the attachment points. When the lid flew off during a storm, it was forever out of kilter and would no longer preserve the briquets or extinguish the heat. Over time, the legs (not our fault) got a little out of whack - they're the lightweights of this whole package.

The 40020 model includes a lid locker bar that slides over the top handle. Great for traveling, but better for keeping the lid intact. The kettle style design is a favorite feature - we're getting more use out of used briquettes than ever before. A marathon four grillings on four different days, as a matter of fact. Just add a few fresh ones, if needed and it's good to go. It's also a fine size with a 14.5 inch cooking surface. That will get you six good-sized hamburgers.

There's minor assembly required. However, there are a few hundred less pieces to put together than our little electric jobber required. Quick and quite painless, actually.

While the lock-down handle is really terrific, it's also quite difficult to use or remove. Guys won't have a problem, but women may be struggling a bit with that.

The price is right, too. Ours was $34.99 at Amazon.