There are some things for which we Canucks are known: talking about the weather, apologizing (even when it’s not our fault) and barbecuing.
I’m sorry, but it doesn’t matter whether it’s sunny or snowing: we barbecue.
I grew up with propane-powered BBQs and if there’s one clear memory I have of childhood, it’s hearing my father curse because he needed to make a propane run – while there was meat already on the barbie.
Thankfully, Big B agreed that natural gas is the way to go, and we built a line into the backyard in the first home we owned together. When we moved into our new house more than three years ago, there was no question that we’d have a gas line in the yard again.
Although we moved our BBQ from our old house to our new one, it had seen better days. But it was a brand that didn’t have a very good warranty. The ignition button hadn’t worked in years, the metal on the grill was flaking and the tray was deteriorating, but – like any average family – we sucked it up and decided that until the thing died, we’d keep on truckin’.
We dreamed of owning a Weber next. And, sometimes, dreams come true. Home Depot Canada generously offered us a Weber Genesis EP-330 barbecue to review. Now, Big B doesn’t often get too excited about the goodies that come to our door but this time was different. He was giddy. I think he even called his parents to share the news, as if we’d just brought home a new baby.
Firing this bad boy up is so easy. One push of the ignition button and it starts reliably on the first push every time. Since I’ve only been testing this for a month, I can’t say how long the ignition button will work but more on the warranty momentarily.
Every part of this barbecue screams high quality, but where it’s especially noticeable is the hood. It’s heavy and it doesn’t wobble as you open or close it. It holds in the heat incredibly well – and when your BBQ can get up to 750 degrees Fahrenheit like this one does, that’s a good thing.
While your home’s footprint is measured in square footage, you might measure your BBQ’s in “burger count.” This Weber Genesis model can cook up to 39 burgers at the same time. That’s a lot of meat. It was the first thing we noticed under the hood – there’s a lot of cooking space. If you’re hosting massive pool parties with dozens of people all summer long, you might want to upgrade to one of the five-burner models, but for folks like us who have smaller family gatherings and only one or two large parties all summer, the three-burner EP-330 suits us perfectly.
Speaking of space, we love how high the upper rack sits inside the Weber EP-330. With our old BBQ, it was pretty tricky getting food all the way to the back, let alone flipping it over. We have no trouble using every corner of the Weber and flipping even the thickest steaks near the back isn’t an issue.
The Weber Genesis EP-330 has a side burner. If I tell you that you need a side burner, you might not believe me unless I explain why. When we moved into the house we’re in now, we bought new kitchen appliances – the oven being the centrepiece of our kitchen, bought as much for its function as its design. Sadly, the circuit board has shorted out not once but twice during its three short years of life. Both times, it’s taken between four and six weeks to be fixed. Without the side burner on our old BBQ, I would have had to feed my family microwaveable dinners or we’d have eaten at a restaurant every single night. The side burner saved us. I would never, EVER buy a barbecue without one.
Big B is a huge fan of the Sear Station. Essentially, it’s an area on the EP-330 where you can shoot up the flame to sear your meat. If you’re into BTUs, there are 10,000 of the suckers devoted just to the Sear Station.
Yes, $1,119.99 is an investment. But you’re investing in a seriously killer warranty. When you buy a Weber, you’re buying responsive customer service and probably the most comprehensive warranty in the barbecue market. When my in-law’s Weber BBQ’s cast aluminum body started to crack at the five-year mark, they contacted Weber, sent a photo and received replacement parts in less than a week. I assure you, not every brand would do this. (And if you consider that our first grill set us back $750, replacing that twice based on a much crappier warranty just makes the Weber look like a smarter buy in the long run.)
I personally love the black enamel on our special-edition EP-330; it’s really sleek and easy to keep clean. But if you prefer the look of stainless steel, go with the Weber Genesis S-330. It’s about the same price and has all the same bells and whistles.
If it matters to you, the Weber Genesis line is assembled in America – not in China.
I’m sure most of the guys reading this won’t care, but I love the red accents on this grill’s knobs. Knobs are also front-mounted and turn with ease.
There’s a tonne of storage in the two cabinets located directly below the grill, plus there are two stainless steel work surfaces on either side (one of which is eliminated if you’re using your side burner). But then there are also convenient hooks on the side of the countertops (three on each side) where you can hang tools. Very smart use of space.
There are so many nice accessories – not least of which is the Weber BBQ cover, which offers a far more ideal fit than a generic brand will – and I’m excited to buy a few, like the Stainless Steel Vegetable Basket, the Grill Out Handle Light and the Three-piece Stainless Steel Tool Set.
I love when anything comes assembled. If you time your purchase right (think spring!), The Home Depot will put the whole grill together for you at no charge.
Last but not least, we are in love with the stainless steel grates. They heat up extremely quickly, hold the heat evenly, make beautiful grill marks and will never flake. Everything we’ve cooked on them has been done to perfection – inside and out.
If you’re someone who cooks a lot of rotisserie chickens, you’ll miss having that option built-in on this grill (though I believe you can buy an add-on kit separately). That was one of the primary features we were looking for with our first BBQ and let me tell you how many rotisserie chickens we made in the six-and-a-half years we owned it: zero.
Because our back patio is graded for water run-off, it slopes slightly. This means that our barbecue also looks a bit lopsided. Having the option to remove the castors and use self-levelling feet would remedy this instantly.