The Weber Kettle isn’t only the grill that started the largest company in outdoor cooking, but the grill that revolutionized grilling.
Because of its global popularity, Weber makes a lot of charcoal grills in every size, but one shape. The Weber Performer series comes in models, with different colors on some of these levels. Each offers unique features depending on how much you want to spend. These charcoal grills range in price from $350USD to $580.
It is more than the full cart that makes the Weber Performer a great choice. It’s the added features. All come with Weber’s One-Touch Cleaning System that lets you just dump out the ashes when you are done cooking for easy cleanup. They also have a Tuck-Away lid holder. The top-of-the-line model, the Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill comes with the Electronic Touch-N-Go Gas Ignition system that lets you light charcoal with the push of a button. These models also feature Weber’s Gourmet BBQ hinged cooking grate.
The Grill part of the performer is Weber’s Master Touch. This is their high-end charcoal grill and typically sells for around $280USD. So you can see that getting the full cart configuration is adding on at least $70. It is for this reason that I don’t really recommend the base model of the Weber Performer. It is nothing more than the Mastertouch on a relatively small cart with a small, fold-down side table.
Specifications – All Models
- 363 square inches of cooking area
- Includes Weber’s Gourmet BBQ System cooking grate
- Removable Digital Cook Timer
- Porcelain Powder Coated Steel Body
- Aluminum Vents and Ash Catcher
- Two swivel casters and two rigid wheels
- Tuck-Away Lid
- Built-in Lid Thermometer
- Glass-reinforced Nylon Handles
- Wire Bottom Shelf
- 3 Tool Hooks
- Made in the United States by the Weber-Stephen Products Company
- Bowl and lid – 10 years, no rust through/burn through
- One-Touch cleaning system – 5 years, no rust through/burn through
- Plastic components – 5 years, excluding fading or discoloration
- All remaining parts – 2 years
What is the Gourmet BBQ System?
Weber knows that the money is in the accessories. The Gourmet BBQ System (or GBS) is designed around this principle. What you get with your Performer Charcoal Grill is a specialized cooking grate. First of all, it has hinges on two sides so you can more easily access the fire below without having to remove all the food. Yes, this gets you into the side of the grill, but it helps. Secondly, a center section of the cooking grate can be removed. In its place, you can put a pizza stone, wok, Dutch oven, or any one of a number of available accessories. These accessories range in price from around $30 to $90.
The Weber Performer Charcoal Grill 22″
As I said above, the base model of the Weber Performer is nothing more than the Master Touch Charcoal Grill mounted on a small, wheeled cart. It has all the features listed above. If you are not interested in the cart, you can save yourself about $80USD by purchasing the Master Touch. This is my recommendation. The fold-down side table on this model isn’t large enough to do much more than hold a plate or two. The other models (below) have much more useful work tables. If you want more, keep reading.
The Weber Performer Premium
The premium version has a much better cart with a large food prep table that you can actually use. This model has everything that the base model has, plus this nice design, the large work table, a removable LCD cook timer, and the Weber Charbin Storage Container. But it is the large thermoset work table that is the standout feature of this model (and the Deluxe version below). it is set at grill level so you can easily move foods on and off of the table. It is large and sturdy. It is even easy to clean.
Other Features of the Weber Performer Premium
The LED Timer: Despite all of the investment that Weber has made into its technology, the Performer Premium (and Deluxe) has a simple digital timer unit clipped into the front of the grill. You can take it with you, but it is nothing more than a 99-minute battery-powered timer. Personally, I don’t consider this much of a feature. Your phone is a better, more functional timer. It is my prediction that in the future, Weber will integrate their iGrill technology into the performer line, giving it temperature monitoring capabilities.
The Charcoal Bin: Under the protection of the work table is a large 20-pound plastic bin for storing charcoal. It is mounted on a pivot so you can pull it forward to access the contents. Now I don’t like storing my charcoal in the open like this. The bin is not airtight and though rain probably won’t get inside, this isn’t a long-term charcoal storage solution. And while you can fish charcoal out of the bin with a pair of tongs, I find it much cleaner to just dump charcoal from the bag into the grill.
What makes the Performer Premium a great choice is the table itself. This is a heavy-duty steel cart frame that gives you a solid stable cooking platform. The table is large and makes working with the grill easy and convenient. Plus, the table wraps around the diameter of the grill body on one side. Put together, this is one of the best charcoal grills ever invented in a package that makes for the perfect outdoor cooking experience.
However, if you want the real breakthrough convenience feature, you will have to upgrade to the Weber Performer Deluxe.
The Weber Performer Deluxe
The performer deluxe has all the features of the models above plus Weber’s Gas-powered charcoal ignition system. Pour in your charcoal, turn on a small gas value, push a button and you will have burning charcoal in about ten minutes. A small, circular gas burner sits in the bottom of the grill body, directly under the coal grate. The grill uses those small, 1-pound propane canisters you use for camping equipment. It connects under the table-mounted control panel and a push button piezoelectric igniter sparks the flame. There is no need for lighter fluid or any other charcoal lighting equipment.
Yes, the Performer Deluxe is expensive. Starting at around $550USD, this grill is an investment. It is also a long-term purchase. Get the full-sized cover, keep it clean, and take care of it. I have owned and used this model for more than a decade without any problems. The Weber Kettle revolutionized charcoal grilling and the performer deluxe is that idea taken to a whole new level.
Weber Performer Deluxe Charcoal Grill
Weber created the world’s best-selling charcoal grill decades ago. The Weber Kettle is a grill so iconic and in some parts of the world, the name Weber means grill like Kleenex means tissue. The Weber Performer Deluxe is a simple round grill taken to the extreme of accessorization.
With the Performer Deluxe, you pour in charcoal and use the gas-powered ignition system to get it burning. Use the large table to prepare your food, and then take advantage of the excellent temperature control of the 22-inch Weber Kettle grill to do all your cooking from hot and fast to low and slow. When you are done, let the ashes fall into the aluminum ash catcher below and dump it out when the ashes have cooled. This is a charcoal grill with near gas grill convenience.