Anytime you disconnect and reconnect a gas fitting in your Weber gas grill, you should check for gas leaks. Gas fittings include the connections between:
Propane tank or NG supply to regulator
Regulator to hose
Gas line to manifold and optional side burner
Manifold to control valves
To access some of these connections, you may need to disassemble part of the control panel. See your grill’s owners manual to identify each connection and learn how to access them.
To check for leaks, confirm that all burners are turned off, including any side burner. Turn on the propane or NG supply. Do not light the burners during the test.
Make a solution of dishwashing liquid and water. Using a brush or cloth, wet each gas fitting with the soapy solution. If you see bubbles forming, there is a leak. Turn off the gas supply, tighten the connection and retest with the soapy solution. If the leak persists after tightening the connection, do not operate the grill and contact a Weber dealer for assistance or call Weber Customer Service at 800-446-1071.
With the testing complete, turn off the gas supply and carefully rinse each gas fitting with clean water to remove any soapy residue that might corrode the connections.
Marinating is a great method for adding flavor to thin cuts of meat like chicken, pork tenderloin, and skirt steak. However, there are a lot of misconceptions about the process. Take our test to see how much you know about marinating.
True or False: Marinades penetrate deep inside meat.
False. Marinades mainly coat the surface of meat. Some ingredients may penetrate just under the surface, but as a general rule marinades do not penetrate very far into meat, and certainly not all the way to the center.
True or False: An acid in a marinade will tenderize meat.
False: Acids will not tenderize meat throughout, but they can make the surface of meat mushy, especially with long marinating times. Use acids like vinegar or citrus sparingly and for short amounts of time. In order to tenderize meat, you must rely on a long, slow cooking process or a mechanical device like a jaccard to break down muscle fibers.
True or False: Pineapple or Accent will tenderize meat.
False. Natural enzymes in papaya (papain) and pineapple (bromelain) or the commercial product Accent Meat Tenderizer do not penetrate meat deeply. They only affect the surface of meat and make it mushy.
True or False: Long marinating times are better.
False. As mentioned above, long soaks in acidic ingredients will make the outside surface of meat mushy, and marinades don’t penetrate beyond a few millimeters into the meat no matter how long you soak it.
True or False: Marinades are great for all cuts of meat.
False. Since marinades only flavor the surface of meat, they work best on thin cuts with a high ratio of surface area to interior meat.
True or False: Bottled salad dressings make great marinades.
Usually false. It’s said that the favorite marinade of George Stephen, inventor of the Weber kettle grill, was Wish-Bone Italian Dressing. But dressings usually contain vinegar that can make meat mushy and the flavors can be poor. If you want to use dressing, buy a high quality product and marinate for a relatively short period of time.
There are two methods for cooking on a gas grill: the Direct Method and the Indirect Method. It’s important for new grillers to understand the difference between the two methods and when each should be used.
In the Direct Method, all burners are lit and the food is cooked directly over the lit burners. Weber recommends that the direct method should be used for foods that take less than 25 minutes to grill. These include thin, tender cuts of meat like steaks, pork chops, chicken pieces, burgers, hot dogs and sausages, shish kabobs, as well as fruits and vegetables.
Start by preheating the grill for 10 minutes with all burners on HIGH. Brush the grates clean and put the food on the cooking grate. Adjust the burners as directed in the recipe. Grill with the lid closed except when turning food or checking for doneness.
In the Indirect Method, only some burners are lit and the food is cooked over the unlit burners. Weber recommends that the indirect method should be used for foods that take 25 minutes or longer to grill. These include large, thick cuts of meat like beef rib roast, whole chicken and turkey, and whole fish; tough cuts like pork ribs; and delicate fish fillets that have a tendency to dry-out.
Start by preheating the grill for 10 minutes with all burners on HIGH. Brush the grates clean then turn off some of the burners. If using a 3-burner grill, turn off burner 2 or burners 2/3. If using a 4-burner grill, turn off burners 2/3. If using a 6-burner grill, turn off burners 3/4 or 2/3/4/5. Put the food on the cooking grate over the unlit burners and adjust the lit burners as directed in the recipe. Grill with the lid closed except when turning food or checking for doneness.
In my book, there’s nothing better than a refreshing glass of iced tea to go with food coming out of my Weber gas grill.
My favorite iced tea comes from China Mist and the variety is called Fiesta Fria. It’s described as “a deliciously fruity blend of fine black tea infused with a jolt of strawberry and herbs”. I buy it as loose tea in 24 3/4-ounce packages for $28.50. Each package makes 3 quarts of tea in the Mr. Coffee Iced Tea Maker.
If you want to try a smaller quantity, Fiesta Fria is also available in 4 1/2-ounce tea bags for $5.99, each bag making 2 quarts of tea.
I’ve served this iced tea to a lot of people and everyone loves it. Give it a try, I think you’ll like it too!
I recently learned that much of Weber’s new product design is being done by a Chicago-based firm named CHOi Design. As is the case with most design agencies, they like to tout customer success stories on their website. If you visit CHOi Design’s site, you can see some examples of Weber product designs they’ve done for:
TVWBB member dean offers these preparation tips: “Make sure the peaches are ripe but still firm–no mushy ones. Cut neatly in half and give a gentle twist to separate the halves. Take out the pit. Grill with the flat side down for a couple of minutes to get some nice grill marks, then flip over and put brown sugar and cinnamon in the hole left from the pit and on top. Put the lid back on and let them go for a few minutes depending on the heat (of the grill) and how you like them. These are delicious!”
Torez likes to drizzle honey and sprinkle cinnamon on her peaches. That’s what she did in the photo above. TVWBB member Greg Powers brushes his peaches with simple syrup before grilling, then fills the hole left from the pit with a mixture of cream cheese, brown sugar and cinnamon. Yum!
Fresh peaches won’t last forever…so get out there and grill some today!
For TVWBB GrillFest 2 on August 2, I grilled some USDA Prime ribeye steaks over lump charcoal in my Weber 26.75″ kettle. I used a salting technique that I read about in Cook’s Illustrated magazine. Salting seasons the meat deep inside and alters the protein structure to make any steak even more tender. It works great whether grilling over charcoal or gas.
Two hours before grilling, pat the steaks dry with paper towels. Sprinkle both sides generously with kosher salt. Kosher salt is preferred because it’s easier to sprinkle evenly over the meat than table salt. Cook’s recommends 1.5 teaspoons per pound of meat, but I just eyeballed it.
Put the steaks in the refrigerator uncovered for two hours.
About 20 minutes before grilling, remove steaks from the fridge and pat dry again with paper towels. Sprinkle with freshly cracked black pepper to taste. Press the pepper into the surface to help it stick to the meat.
Grill to your preferred doneness. Remove from the grill, cover loosely with aluminum foil and let rest for just a few minutes before serving.
Herbs and spices should be stored properly to protect their flavor. Heat, light, moisture and air are the enemies of dried herbs and fresh spices. They should be held in airtight containers in a dark, cool cupboard or drawer. Glass containers with tight fitting screw-on lids seem to work best, since many plastic bags are not truly airtight. Herbs and spices should not be stored near heat sources like the stove, oven, dishwasher, refrigerator, microwave, sink, a heater vent, or in direct sunlight.
What about storing herbs and spices in the refrigerator or freezer? Penzeys Spices says that whole, crushed and ground chili peppers, including paprika, will stay fresh and colorful longer in the refrigerator, especially during the summer. With the exception of vanilla beans and extract, the flavor of spices is not harmed by cold storage. The only problem they cite is that cold jars form condensation when opened in a humid kitchen, causing the spices inside to get wet. Their solution: keep small quantities of spices in your cupboard and the backup supply in the refrigerator or freezer.
When Should You Replace Herbs & Spices?
According to Penzeys, there are no set rules on how long herbs and spices stay fresh. In fact, Penzeys says that they don’t really go bad, they just begin to fade away! When in doubt about a spice, give it a smell…if it smells strong and spicy, use it. Otherwise, throw it away.
U.S. Government guidelines for freshness dating are 4 years for whole spices and 2 years for ground spices. Many cooking authorities say that 6 months is the maximum for spice freshness.
Penzeys points out that since most spices are harvested only once a year, it doesn’t make sense to throw away all your spices after just 6 months. However, they feel that 2 years is too long to hold spices. Their suggestion: buy no more than a 1 year supply of herbs and ground spices, and a 1-2 year supply of whole spices.
I’ve gotten into the habit of cleaning out my herb & spice box just after New Year’s every other year. I make a trip to my nearest Penzeys Spices store and buy everything fresh and I’m good to go for two years. I write the purchase date on each jar or package so I remember when I bought it.
In 2001, grilling was more popular than ever. According to the Barbecue Industry Association, over 15 million grills were sold in America the previous year, up 32% from 1997. About 75% of households owned a grill, and over 50% used them all year long. The most popular book at the time was How to Grill by Steven Raichlen.
The Dot Com Bubble had burst in 1999 and the Housing Bubble was just starting to build in 2001. Homeowners were upgrading their kitchens with high-end commercial appliances. Appliance manufacturers like Viking and Jenn-Air started bringing expensive luxury gas grills to market around this time.
How did Weber respond? By creating an entirely new brand called Vieluxe. Vieluxe luxury grills were available in 44″ and 56″ models with suggested retail prices of $6,000 and $8,000 respectively. And quite noticeably, they did not carry the Weber name or logo.
Vieluxe: The Luxury of Life
The brand name Vieluxe was a combination of the French words “Vie” meaning life and “Luxe” meaning luxury. The tagline “The Luxury of Life” and the theme of luxury were prominent in the advertising of these grills. Brochures featured images of beautiful people in beautiful places enjoying the good life with Vieluxe.
In a 2003 Weber press release, Vieluxe Brand Manager Shaun Chinsky said, “Vieluxe grills are painstakingly handmade using only the finest materials. From the welder’s arc to the polisher’s cloth, no detail is overlooked.” In a 2004 interview with GenieKnows.com, Chinsky was quoted as saying that Vieluxe “is like our Lexus”.
Vieluxe Features & Specs
Vieluxe grills were built to the highest standards of quality, featuring a welded chassis of 16-gauge stainless steel 304 tubing. They included a commercial-grade thermometer in the hood, heavy-duty 3/8″ welded stainless steel rod cooking grates, stainless steel Flavorizer bars, a rotisserie with infrared burner, a fold-away warming rack, and a funnel-shaped drip pan that directed drippings into a Teflon-coated catch pan for easy cleaning.
At a time when other Weber gas grills had the propane tank hanging on the outside of the grill, Vieluxe hid the tank inside a cabinet with “swing-out easy-change tank support”. Vieluxe was the first grill made by Weber to use continuous-spark electronic igniters powered by AA batteries.
Two unique patented features included a stainless steel work surface that “glides open on a steel rail and ball bearing assembly” to reveal two 14,000 BTU side burners and the Integrated Smoker System “with ported flues that disperse wood smoke evenly across the cooking surface, powered by a dedicated 8,000 BTU/hour burner.”
Vieluxe 360201 44″ Specifications
Dimensions: 65″ W x 33″ D x 50″ H
Weight: 370 lbs.
Cooking surface: 432 sq. in.
Warming rack: 117 sq. in., expandable to 247 sq. in.
4 primary burners 50,000 total BTU/hr (12,500 BTU each)
Smoker burner: 8,000 BTU/hr
Infrared rotisserie burner: 10,000 BTU/hr
2 side burners: 14,000 BTU/hr each burner
Rotisserie: 2 spit forks
Vieluxe 370201 56″ Specifications
Dimensions: 77″ W x 33″ D x 50″ H
Weight: 440 lbs.
Cooking surface: 648 sq. in.
Warming rack: 171 sq. in., expandable to 361 sq. in.
6 primary burners 75,000 total BTU/hr (12,500 BTU each)
Smoker burner: 8,000 BTU/hr
Infrared rotisserie burner: 15,000 BTU/hr
2 side burners: 14,000 BTU/hr each burner
Rotisserie: 4 spit forks
Ownership Is More Like Membership
Grill owners were entitled to the Vieluxe Concierge personal service program consisting of:
Complimentary Spring grill tune-up for the first 3 years.
Dedicated 24-hour customer care line to answer grilling questions.
Limited lifetime warranty.
As the brochure said, “With Vieluxe, ownership is more like membership.”
Luxury Hits The Chopping Block
Vieluxe grills were sold from 2001-2005 and then discontinued, presumably due to poor sales.
In 2006, a Weber insider told The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board that the key factor to the demise of Vieluxe was the high cost of hand fabrication. In 2005, Weber Summit Platinum stainless steel grills could be manufactured using the same tooling as the Summit Gold but at a fraction of the cost of Vieluxe. Not that these were comparable grills in any way, but time shows us that people voted with their wallets. Weber Summit grills are still with us today and Vieluxe is but a distant memory.
It’s too late to buy a new Vieluxe grill and it’s unlikely you’ll ever find one used. But you can still enjoy its luxurious brochure. Here’s to champagne wishes and caviar dreams!