Weber Spirit II S 210: A Great Grill But Weber Lied

I spend a lot of time wandering around the Big Box stores looking at the latest and greatest grills.  Looking at grills makes me happy.

The grill that has caught my eye recently is the Weber Spirit II S 210.

Spirit II S 210

This is a sweet little two burner grill and the side table folds down if you are a little tight on space.

Spirit II Side Table

The Spirit II S 210 has full stainless construction and a porcelain enameled cast iron grate.

Spirit II grate

There was a time when you bought a Spirit because it was cheap and you couldn’t afford a Genesis.  That is no longer the case with the Weber Spirit II grills.  They have the same ten year warranty as a Genesis, cost less and are only about 20% smaller.

My beef with this grill is that Weber is selling it with a lie.  That lie is the GS4 badge.

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Weber made a big deal out of the GS4 High Performance Grilling System when they launched the redesigned Weber Genesis II in 2017.

A key component of the GS4 system on the Genesis are the redesigned tapered rectangular burners which are meant to even out the flame pattern across the entire burner.  Before 2017 all Weber as grills had the standard cylindrical burners.

What pisses me off is that the Spirit II grills carry the GS4 badge but come equipped with the old cylindrical burners with the cross over ignition system.

Spirit II burner tubes

These burners work just fine.  They are a tried and true design.  But they are NOT the burners that are advertised as being part of the GS4 High Performance grilling system.  Here is Weber’s promo video for the GS4 system.

Look, I know that Weber came up with the term “GS4” and that they can use it any way they want to but this looks like a blatant bait and switch to me.  They will stick the GS4 badge on the front but wont put the upgraded burners in the grill.

I guess they are claiming that “GS4” can mean different things based upon the grill series.  It looks like they have one set of GS4 specs for the Genesis an another for the Spirit.  I am guessing that in 2019 they will come out with a different set of specs for a GS4 system in the Summit.

I suspect that a LOT of people are going to buy the new Spirit grills thinking that they will be getting the upgrades that are present on the Genesis.  Unfortunately, due to some shady marketing, they will be disappointed.

It makes me a little sad that such a great little grill is tainted by a dishonest badge.

Spirit II Badge

Peace.

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Not Quite Right Pastrami

I tried my hand at making a pastrami a while back and got close to getting it right but was bit in the bum by my impatience.  That’s alright, it still tasted just fine and that made me happy 🙂

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I started out with a five pound brisket flat and cured it with some Morton Tenderquick and a bottle of McCormick’s pickling spices.

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I let the brisket soak for five days in the refrigerator and then rinsed it off and smoked it on my kettle.  I rubbed the brisket with a little extra black pepper before it hit the pit.

The kettle set up was pretty standard (indirect low heat) and the brisket got smoked for about six hours.  I didn’t smoke this brisket as long as usual but I wanted it knew I was going to be slicing it thin so getting it completely tender wasn’t that important.

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The bark developed a lot differently then I was used to seeing.  Parts of the brisket took on that dark smokey look but most of it didn’t.  I am not sure of that was due to the curing soak or if I was just dealing with a funky brisket.

When I took the brisket off of my kettle and sliced it up I saw that I had been a little too quick to pull it out of the cure.

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You can see exactly how far the cure penetrated by the steak of gray in the middle of the pastrami.  It looks like I should have left it in the cure for a full week instead of five days.

Other than looking a little funny the pastrami came out tasting great.  It made for some killer sandwiches and honestly, once it inside some bread and topped with some pickles you couldn’t even see the gray bits 🙂

If you want to take a shot at making your own pastrami then check out these other links because they do it a lot better than me!

Katz’s Pastrami by Serious Eats

Smoked Pastrami from Extraordinary BBQ

How to Make Beef Brisket Pastrami at Home by Ruhlman

Peace.

Best Dang Bacon Wrapped Meatballs Ever

Meatballs are fun to make and are easy to cook on a grill.

Wrapping them in bacon and coating them with Tabasco Pepper Jelly just makes them ridiculous.  Ridiculous makes me happy.

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatballs

There are thousands of recipes for meatballs out there and you probably already have your favorite.  Making meatballs is a great reason to break out your meat grinder.

If you don’t have a “go to” meatball recipe yet then check out these Killer Meatballs from The Mountain Kitchen.

Pile of meatballs

Start with a pile of meatballs.

Lay each one out on a strip of bacon.

Yeah…you already knew how to do this.  I just wanted to post this picture 🙂

Meatball with bacon

Wrap the bacon around the meatball and secure it with a toothpick.

I will usually dust the bacon with a little chili powder and brown sugar.

Place the bacon wrapped meatballs on a grill with indirect heat.  I bank the coals on the left side of my grill and cook the meatballs on the right side.  You wont get any flare ups from dripping bacon grease using indirect heat.

Grilled Bacon Wrapped Meatballs

Let the meatballs grill for about 30 minutes and then start basting them with some Tabasco Pepper Jelly that has been melted in the microwave.

Pepper Jelly

Give the meatballs another five minutes or so and pull them off the grill once they hit an internal temperature of 160F.

Smoked Bacon Wrapped Meatballs

These were gooooood!

Peace.

Ultimate Grilled Chicken Wings

After years of trying I finally cracked the code and discovered the secret to grilling the Ultimate Wings on my kettle.

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I am sharing this technique as a Public Service Announcement for all of your Wing Fanatics out there.

The biggest problem I have had with grilling chicken wings has always been getting a proper crispy skin. The crunch on the skin is important to me and, until now, the only way I have been able to get it properly crispy was through deep frying.

I am not going to bore you with all of the ways I have failed in my efforts to make crispy wings on the grill.  Let’s jump into the two tricks that were critical for these to be such a success.

Baking Powder

The folks over at Serious Eats developed the technique of giving the wings a light coating of baking powder and letting the wings dry in the refrigerator overnight.

I am not sure exactly why baking powder promotes crispy skin but it works.

Toss your wings with 1 tsp of baking powder and 1 tsp of salt per pound of wings.  Place the wings on a drying rack and let them chill in the refrigerator overnight.

Here is what they will look like the next day.

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High Heat Rotisserie Grilling

The next trick was to grill the wings at really high temperatures without them burning.

You can try doing doing the High Heat by grilling the wings in the middle of  a three zone kettle but my results were sub-par. (A three zone kettle has a fire banked on both sides of the grill and no coals in the center.)

If you try grilling them directly over the coals you are just going to burn the skin.

My approach was to load the wings into a rotisserie basket and spin them beside a VERY hot fire.

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You can clamp the wings into the basket quite easily and not worry about them falling out.

For the hot fire I filled the Slow N Sear about half way full with lit Kingsford.

Here is what the wings looked like after 30 minutes.

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Just look at how the bubbly fat is crisping up the skin!!

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The high heat really sped up the cooking process and the wings were finished after 30 minutes.

The wings easily come out of the grilling basket.

IMG_5092 These guys had a serious “crunch factor’!

I am always playing around with my sauce recipes.  Right now this is what I am using:

Pretty Good Wing Sauce (Combine and microwave for 1 minute)

  • 2 Tablespoons margarine
  • 2 Tablespoons sriracha
  • 3 Tablespoons Kikoman Orange Sauce
  • 1 tsp red pepper flakes

Spicy, tasty and crunchy. Mmmmmmm.

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Give this a try sometime.  You will be glad you did.

Peace.

Pretty Awesome Brisket Dry Rub

I’ve been hitting the briskets pretty hard these days.

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Life has been good and brisket makes me happy.

There hasn’t been anything remarkable about the cooks.  I have been smoking them up on my kettle and pulling them off the pit when they are probe tender.

Man I love burnt ends!

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I have been playing around with a few commercial brisket rubs and think I have settled on Plowboy’s Bovine Bold.

Brisket Rub
A Pretty Nice Brisket Rub!

This stuff has won some awards on the competition circuit and is widely acknowledged as one of the best commercial brisket rubs available.

Now that I have my dry rub and general technique dialed in I am going to try playing with some brisket injections and see if I can get this thing to the next level.

I hope all of you cool cats out there are living large and having a great time on your pits!

Peace.

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