Weber Style 6434 Stainless Steel Vegetable Basket

Weber Style 6434 Stainless Steel Vegetable Basket
Weber Style 6434 Stainless Steel Vegetable Basket

I recently bought a Weber Style 6434 stainless steel vegetable basket. It does a great job on fruits and veggies on the grill. These baskets come in a variety of shapes and sizes, so you can get bigger or smaller ones depending upon the size of your grill and how much food you’re cooking.

Grilling pineapple chunks in the basket

You need to let the basket heat for 10 minutes on the grill before adding food. I would suggest hitting the basket with a shot of non-stick cooking spray right before adding the food, too.

The slots are just the right size, preventing food from falling through. The high sides keep everything in place, and the handles make it easy to remove the basket from the grill when wearing gloves.

My only negative comment about the design is that when running your hands over the bottom side, it feels just a bit like a cheese grater…like if you weren’t careful, it would grate your fingers. You’ve been warned!

Vegetable basket out of packaging

The basket looks beautiful right out of the packaging, but it’s hard to keep it looking that way with use. It turns dark as a result of burned-on oil and food residue. I tried oven cleaner and got a good result. My wife went with a soaking of Simple Green, a Dobie scrubber, and lots of elbow grease and did OK with that approach.

I started a discussion thread about this on The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board. The responses ranged from “Why bother?” to “Use a green ScotchBrite pad” to member Jose Suro saying that a long soak in a solution of hot water and white vinegar followed by 30 seconds of scrubbing does the trick. Jose posted some photos of the results in the discussion thread.

If you like to keep your stainless steel grilling baskets looking shiny and new, you might give Jose’s method a try.

The Weber Style 6434 Stainless Steel Vegetable Basket is available at Amazon.com.

Protecting A Natural Gas Hose

Here’s a tip from reader Rich Dahl for owners of natural gas (NG) grills.

Protecting a natural gas hose

“My NG hose is in the sun all day,” says Rich. “To protect it from the sun’s harmful rays, I wrap it with foam tubing that is sold at any major hardware store that’s used to insulate pipes. The wrap only costs a few dollars and it also keeps the hose from rubbing on the ground. Much cheaper then replacing a $50 gas hose every couple of years due to sun damage.”

Searing Meat Doesn’t Seal In The Juices

Searing steaks on the grill

Good ol’ George Stephen. We owe him a lot. He invented the iconic Weber kettle grill and founded a company that continues to innovate and produce some of the best grills money can buy.

But George didn’t know what he was talking about when it came to searing meat.

Here’s the first ad that George ran to sell his grills:

Weber's first ad

It says, “Seals in rich flavor and natural juices of meat, poultry, fish and game.”

George can be forgiven for this misstatement, for it’s been made many times by many chefs and cooking authorities over the years.

Searing meat does not seal-in flavor and juices. This myth has been disproved numerous times. You can read one example here from the America’s Test Kitchen blog.

What searing does is create great color and flavor on the surface of meat as a result of caramelization and the Maillard reaction. These processes create an array of flavor compounds that give grilled meat its wonderful flavor. And interestingly, you can sear meat at the beginning or at the end of cooking and get good results either way.

So go ahead and sear those steaks and chops…but do it to create great color and flavor. To keep the meat juicy, measure internal temperatures using an instant-read thermometer so you don’t overcook the meat.

Fixing A Noisy Lid

The lid on our Weber Summit 425 makes a squeaking noise when you open and close it. OK, it’s not so much a squeak as it is a loud metallic howling noise. My wife told me the noise bothers her. The neighbors on all sides can hear it. Got to fix it. Turns out the solution is easy.

Lubricating a squeaky lid hinge

Just apply some of your favorite lubricant onto the hinge pins that attach the lid to the fire box. I used WD-40, but a graphite spray or 3-in-1 Household Oil will work, too.

Good access to the hinge pin

Slide the lid to the side to expose the maximum surface area of the hinge pin and lubricate liberally. Repeat with the other pin.

Open and close the lid a few times to spread the lubricant around on the pins. The noise is gone! Wipe away any excess drips and you will be grilling in peace and quiet in no time.

How To Safely Light A Gas Grill

Push button gas grill ignitionThere was a story in the news a few days ago about a gas grill explosion in Florida that injured two people and scared many more in the surrounding apartment complex. We see stories like this every year as we approach summer and the peak grilling season.

It’s probably been a while since you read the owner’s manual that came with your Weber gas grill. (You did read it…right?) Here are some generic instructions for lighting a gas grill. Please consult the owner’s manual for your grill for safe lighting instructions.

  1. Open the lid.
  2. Make sure all burner control knobs are turned OFF.
  3. Turn on the gas to the grill. Wait a few seconds before proceeding to allow gas to fill the valve system.
  4. Turn the appropriate burner control knob to the START/HIGH position (Terminology may be different for your particular grill).
  5. Push the ignition button to light the grill. If your grill has a mechanical button, you should press it several times so it clicks each time. If your grill has a battery-operated lighter, just hold the button down.
  6. Check that the burner is lit.
  7. If the burner does not light, turn all burner control knobs to OFF and wait 5 minutes to let the gas clear before you try again or try to light with a match.

Failure to open the lid while lighting, or not waiting 5 minutes to allow gas to clear if the grill does not light, may result in an explosion that can cause serious bodily injury or death.

I strongly recommend that you find your owner’s manual, dust it off, and familiarize yourself again with the safe operation of your grill. If you can’t find your manual, you can download a copy at Weber.com.

Repairing Fire Box Burn-Through

This is a photo of the left end of the fire box of a Weber Genesis E-310 propane grill.

Fire box burn-through

The DI portion of the serial number indicates that it’s a 2007 model.

Serial number label

I first saw this grill a few years ago while staying in a vacation condo. I’m not sure how or why the burn-through occurred, but upon a subsequent visit, I noticed this repair and thought it was pretty well done.

Fire box repair with SS sheet metal

As you can see, they’ve cut a piece of stainless steel sheet metal to fit, drilled some holes, and fastened it to the inside of the fire box with nuts and screws. Not as good as a brand-new fire box, but a serviceable solution to an unfortunate problem.

Go Ahead…Poke Your Meat

Weber 6615 Grilling Fork
Weber 6615 Grilling Fork

Contrary to popular belief, a piece of meat is not like a balloon filled with water. It won’t pop and let out all the moisture if you poke it or “nick and peek” to check for doneness.

A piece of meat is more like a sponge. It holds almost all of its moisture even when poked or probed.

America’s Test Kitchen did a test in which they cooked two sets of steaks to medium rare. One set was poked constantly with a fork, the other was not. The result: Both sets of steak lost exactly 19.6% of their moisture during cooking.

So go ahead, use a grill fork or stick your steak with a probe thermometer to check for doneness. You’re not doing any harm.

SYD All-Purpose Rub

Slap Yo' Daddy All-Purpose Rub
Slap Yo’ Daddy All-Purpose Rub

In my post about Pork Tenderloin Steaks, I mentioned SYD rub.

Harry Soo of Slap Yo’ Daddy BBQ was kind enough to do a Q&A on The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board in 2010 in which he shared the recipe for his SYD All-Purpose Rub. It went something like this:

  • 4 TBSP kosher salt
  • 2 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 2 TBSP brown sugar
  • 2 TBSP mild chili powder
  • 2 TBSP paprika
  • 1 TBSP ground cumin
  • 1 TBSP granulated garlic
  • 1 TBSP black pepper
  • 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

More recently, Harry has simplified the recipe, and this is the one I’ve been using.

  • 1 TBSP Lawry’s Seasoned Salt
  • 1 TBSP granulated sugar
  • 1 TBSP McCormick Grill Mates Montreal Steak Seasoning
  • 1-1/2 tsp mild chili powder
  • 1-1/2 tsp paprika
  • 1-1/2 tsp granulated garlic
  • 1/4 to 1/2 tsp cayenne pepper

These measurements make the amount of rub shown in the jar in the photo above, a little less than half a cup.

Pork Tenderloin Steaks

The May/June 2014 issue of Cook’s Illustrated magazine features a technique for grilled pork tenderloin “steaks”. I’ve made them a few times recently and the family loves them!

The premise behind the technique is that by pounding out the tenderloin, you create almost 30% more surface area for searing, and searing = flavor!

Start by removing any silver skin and large areas of fat, then cut the tenderloin into two equal pieces.

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Cover with plastic wrap or a Ziploc bag and using a heavy, flat-bottomed drinking glass, pound each piece to 3/4″ thick.

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Use a sharp knife to cut a shallow cross-hatch pattern on both sides of each steak to promote a crusty exterior. Season liberally with your favorite rub, or marinate the meat.

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Sear both sides to get a good crust, then reduce the heat or move to a cooler part of the grill and continue cooking to about 5*F below your preferred internal temperature. I overcooked these to about 150*F; 135-140*F would have been better, but even at 150*F, the meat was still plenty moist.

Brush both sides with a favorite BBQ sauce right at the end of cooking. Remove from the grill, cover loosely with foil, and let rest for just 5 minutes before brushing with more sauce and slicing to serve.

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My family loves pork tenderloin, and I love having a new way to cook it in my bag of tricks. Give this one a try, I think you’ll like it!

P.S. I used Slap Yo Daddy rub and Kinder’s Mild BBQ sauce. I’ll post the SYD rub recipe soon.

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