The Genesis Gas Grill has been a cornerstone of Weber’s line of outdoor cooking products. It is, for the price, one of the best-selling gas grills in the world. First introduced in 1985, the Genesis line has undergone several design changes in its 37-year history. In 2022, there is another revision of this popular grill. This new version of the Genesis Gas Grill focuses almost entirely on a core strategy of Weber, accessories.
Years ago, Weber decided that while grills were a great money maker, the accessories generated real profits. I’m not talking tongs and simple grill toppers here, but a full strategy of providing cooking options to meet every need. The new Genesis is built for the accessory market. To accomplish this, the grill itself needed some modifications, which generated some much-needed improvements.
Pure Gas Power
If you purchased a Weber Genesis gas grill 15 years ago, you got something very different than what is available today. First, the burners ran side to side with the control panel mounted into the side table. Weber was unique in this configuration, and people either loved it or hated it. However, this version was powerful. The old Genesis could reach 700°F in under 15 minutes. It also pumped out power and burned through propane.
In 2011, Weber made the biggest change in this grill’s history. They changed the burner configuration, so they ran front to back, with the control panel on the front, similar to other grills. But they also cut the BTUs. Now they struggled to reach 500°F. There were complaints.
To fix this, Weber added a sear burner between two of the burners on the right-hand side. This 9,000 BTU burner added the oomph needed to do some serious searing. This was, however, an option available on some models.
Here, we see one of the problems with Genesis. Too many models. You could get a gas grill with three or four main burners, with or without the sear burner (technically making these four or five-burner grills). It contained the optional side burner and stainless steel or porcelain enamel versions. Add in the ‘special’ versions and ‘smart models’ in the last decade, and have been as many as 20 models of Genesis available at any given time. And, you might have to hunt to find the right version to fit your needs.
The New Weber Genesis Gas Grill
For 2022, that sear burner isn’t optional anymore. It’s standard. And like the ‘ main ‘ burners, it is now a 13,000 BTU burner. Now you can choose between a four or five-burner version (though they still don’t count the sear burner as a main burner, so Weber calls them three or four-burner models). But if you crank all these burners to maximum, you are hitting 51,000 BTUs on the smaller and 64,000 BTUs on the larger version. These are good numbers for the size of the grill. Of course, the heat is uneven, with the right side of the grill burning much hotter than the left.
But why? The right side of the 2022 Genesis grill has a special cooking grate, and that sear burner fits directly in the middle of this grate section. This means that Weber can now do things with this space, namely accessorize. But to see how we got here, we need to look at Weber’s attempts at making accessories an integral part of their grilling experience.
All About the Accessories
You might think that a thousand-dollar grill will generate much more profit than a fifty-dollar grill pan. But it isn’t necessarily about the total profit, but the profit margin. The gas grill market is highly competitive, and to convince a customer to choose your grill over someone else’s means keeping the price down while offering the features and quality that the customer expects. Consumers tend to have high expectations of Weber.
But once the grill is sold, now comes the up sale of all the extras. Traditionally, this has meant items like covers, rotisserie kits, and grilling tools. But now, it also means searing grates, pizza stones, and griddles. The trick is this. If a consumer spent $1,000 on the grill, it is much easier to sell them a griddle for ten percent that price ($100USD), as long as it is an exact fit, guaranteed to work, and a genuine branded product. After all, that griddle probably costs about ten dollars to make. The potential profit margins are staggering. Weber has been on this track for more than a decade.
The Gourmet BBQ System
Enter the accessory system known as GBS. This started with the popular Weber Kettle Grill, particularly the 22-inch version. Weber sold some models with the GBS grate, a standard cooking grate for the kettle with a removable center section. Take that piece out, and you can replace it with a small searing grate, wok, plancha, or several other accessories. If you didn’t buy this version, you could always upgrade later. Soon, Weber added this feature to their Spirit and Genesis grills in the European market. All in all, pretty successful.
The only problem was getting these accessories to heat evenly on a gas grill with the power one might need for various cooking styles. Stir-fry needs high heat, and GBS just didn’t cut it in some applications. The grill didn’t always fit the accessory.
GBS was successful in some markets. But it wasn’t the complete package Weber had banked on. They sold some accessories, but they weren’t the must-have items, as most consumers purchased only one or two. Weber wanted accessory solutions that gave their grills unlimited cooking capabilities with lots of extras to help improve the bottom line.
Enter Elevations, Weber’s awkward solution. Elevations has a metal rack-mounted into the grill’s back, replacing the warming rack. This rack could ‘hang’ many accessories like grill baskets, warming trays, pots, etc. I was not a fan of this solution, and now it appears to be disappearing.
Crafted Outdoor Kitchen Collection
This brings us to Crafted, or more accurately, the Weber Crafted Outdoor Kitchen Collection. I’m going to call it Crafted to keep things simple. Crafted is the GBS system on steroids or the GBS without its biggest limitation. You see, GBS used a removable round grate section that was about 12-inches in diameter. If customers wanted to use this griddle accessory, they could cook at least three smashburgers or many small pancakes at a time. This heavy cast iron sear grate could handle a pair of New York Strip Steaks, whereas the GBS was limited by its size.
The Crafted System is no longer limited by measurement. The main cooking grate for this system is three parts versus the GBS two-part configuration. The main section is little more than a stainless-steel rod frame. A large cooking grate with a removable round section in the middle fits into this frame. This section will accommodate all the GBS accessories. Now there is an option for large accessories like a large, 16 X 16-inch griddle, baking stone, or cast iron sear burner. Consumers can cook many large pancakes, several smash burgers, or sear a dozen steaks at a time. While not as large as most flat-top grills, the griddle accessory is large enough for most people’s needs. You won’t have to buy a gas-powered griddle if you have a new Genesis gas grill. The Crafted system is a definite improvement over the GBS design.
But this is about the up sale. Remember that. These large accessories sell for around $100USD a piece. The full line of accessories could cost you nearly the price of the base Genesis model (around $900USD). Of course, most consumers won’t buy them all, but there are already several options. Certainly, Weber will add more as time goes by. At the very least, you will know what to ask for when your birthday rolls around.
Other Changes to Weber Genesis Gas Grill
To get the power and even cooking needed to make Crafted work, the sear burner has been promoted to the power of a main burner. At 13,000 BTUs, the three burners that power this section are even and capable of pumping out a lot of heat. This means improved high-power searing and griddle cooking capabilities. It means that the baking stone will be heated to pizza oven levels. And it also means that one burner can fire up the wok and pans that fit into the round accessory section of the grill.
There’s more. Weber has altered the grease management system. In the past, drippings collected into a tray in the middle of the grill. This grease collector is now on the right side, directly under the Crafted grate section. Grease from the griddle can drain safely away from the burners and out the bottom of the grill. This means that the propane tank can move inside the grill. Where it should have been years ago. It will no longer hang awkwardly off the side of the cart.
And the cabinet (now standard on all versions) has been arranged to make room for all the accessories. There are hooks to hold the main cooking grate on the back of the grill, and those large accessory sections can stand up inside the grill. You can get the full complement of accessories and store them inside your grill. The upper cooking grate or warming rack is also much larger. The older 3-burner models had a 156 square inch warming rack, the new models have 274 square inches of area.
The Problem with the New Weber Genesis
Weber has touted this introduction as “the biggest grilling innovation in decades”. They are pushing press materials through every channel to hype all the things you can do with the new Genesis Gas Grill. You can “roast, bake, steam, or even stir-fry” with the “custom-fit WEBER Crafted Grillware”. Any read of their big press release would make you think that you can pop down to your local hardware store, pick up a new Genesis grill, and be doing all these things that night. Unfortunately, the majority of the models of this grill do not come standard with the Crafted Frame. It is an optional accessory and lists for nearly $180USD. This is for the frame, not any of the accessories.
And as I have already said, these accessories can cost up to $100. So you spend $900 on the least expensive Genesis and now you have to pay nearly $300 more if you want to do some flat-top grilling. If you purchased all the accessories available, you could spend more than your grill originally cost. Weber is trying to lock you into their line of accessories. But it would make so much more sense to include the Crafted frame on every grill. The steep price of the frame is going to be a barrier to consumers who find they can simply place a $30 pizza stone or a $50 griddle on the existing cooking grates. The truth is, Crafted is overpriced. It would seem that yet again, Weber has overestimated the value of their brand.
Models of the 2022 Weber Genesis Gas Grill
Weber isn’t cutting the number of models down dramatically, though as of today, the line has been reduced. I suspect that we will see a few special versions popping up soon, but right now, these are the models that are available for 2022. Prices may vary by retailer. You can find the new Weber Genesis Grills at most major hardware and department stores, as well as Amazon and BBQGuys.com.
About the model numbers
First, a quick lesson in Weber model names. Weber gas grills have a similar naming convention starting with letters and then numbers. “E” means enamel or the painted version of the grill. This is generally black, but there are other colors offered on some (few) models like blue or copper. “S” means stainless and this refers only to the hood and the doors on the cabinet as well as the cooking grates. With “E” version you get porcelain-coated cast-iron and stainless steel rod grates on the “S” version. All other parts are the same.
The “X” tells us that it is a ‘smart’ grill. This refers to Weber’s WiFi-enabled grills with temperature monitoring systems. You cannot remotely control the smart version of the Genesis Grills and they do not have thermostatic control. “P” refers to premium and for the most part, versions of the grill available through specialty retailers. You usually have to find these grills online. The “P” version grills come with the Crafted Frame included. So a “EP” gets you cast-iron grates with the frame and a “SP” will get you the stainless steel version of the system.
As for the numbers, the first digit tells you how many main burners there are and the second number refers to the features. They all end with a third digit of “5”, which tells us nothing. Since the sear burner is now standard, a second digit of “2”, means without the side burner, and a “3” tells us that it does include the side burner. So the EXP-435 is an enamel (black) grill with and smart grill feature, a side burner, and the Crafted frame included.
This is the most basic model of the new Genesis Grills. It is listed as a three-burner, 39,000 BTU gas grill, but if we include the sear burner it has 51,000 maximum BTUs for the 513 square inches of primary grilling surface. The expected retail price for this model is $899USD.
Does NOT include the Crafted Frame.
The stainless steel version of the E-325s above. I want to point out that the difference here isn’t huge. The stainless steel versions of the Weber Genesis have a stainless steel hood piece and doors. The rest of the grill is either cast aluminum or enameled steel. The stainless steel used on Weber grills is not, particularly of high quality. Personally, I recommend the porcelain versions over the stainless steel. This model retails for $1,029.
Does NOT include the Crafted Frame.
This model includes the 12,000BTU standard Weber side burner. Powerful enough to heat a medium-sized pot or bring a cast iron skillet to intense searing temperatures (as you might use for my Restaurant Steak Recipe). This model retails for $1,299, which is a serious jump in price over the S-325. This is a lot of money to pay for a side burner.
Does NOT include the Crafted Frame.
The four-burner version of the Genesis line. This particular model offers the Weber side burner and a large cooking area. This model comes in at $1,499.
Does NOT include the Crafted Frame.
This is the premium version of Weber’s three-burner ‘smart’ grill in the black edition. With this model, you get all the upgrades without going to the stainless steel version. Of course, at a price. At $1,549 you are paying a lot for a side burner and the Weber Connect temperature monitoring system. But you do get the Crafted frame included with this model.
And here we hit the top. At $1,899, this is the most expensive of the Weber Genesis gas grills. With this model, you get the four main burners, sear burner, side burner, Weber Connect system, and the Craft grill frame. There is certainly a big price jump here. The previous generation’s version of this grill was $400 less than this model.
Final Thoughts on the New Weber Genesis Gas Grill
I have criticized the Weber Genesis Gas Grill for being underpowered. Compared with similarly priced grills from Napoleon or Broil King, it just didn’t have the power. While the main burners on the new Genesis are just as powerful as last year’s model, the beefed-up sear burn certainly helps. It isn’t an even heat across the entire cooking surface, but the versatility is improved.
As for the accessories, you can do a lot with this grill. However, most people will fire up a gas grill for burgers, chops, dogs, and chicken. These extras are not for everyone. If, however, you are a connoisseur of the grill, you will want to look at the new Genesis. You can have a good gas grill, flat-top grill, and a pizza oven all in one appliance. The problem is the premium price for these items.
If the model of Genesis that you buy doesn’t come standard with the Crafted frame, then you are spending around $180USD to then have the opportunity to buy additional accessories. If you really want that 256 square inch griddle so you can do some flat-top grilling, you will be spending nearly $300 on top of the price of the grill. And these grills are not inexpensive. They range in price from $900 to nearly $2,000USD. These are not prices that are accessible to many people.
The new Weber Genesis Gas Grills are being released over the spring of 2022. Check back soon, as I will keep this page updated with the current prices and purchasing options.