I love using gas grills because they are easier to heat and it’s much easier to control the flames with a gas grill than with a charcoal fire. Grilling is not just about lighting a fire – Bobby Flay
It’s not often that we agree with a celebrity chef, but when Bobby Flay has something to say, we listen. While we’re not enamored by, and couldn’t really care less about, fame and the trappings that it’s festooned in, we do care about grilling.
When it comes to grilling, like Faith No More so famously sang, we care a lot. And Bobby is as fanatical about cooking over an open flame in the great outdoors as we are. Okay so we’re actually far more comfortable grilling in our yard than we are in the wilderness and wilds of Nature, but as far as we’re concerned, if it can be cooked outside, that’s where we’re going to grill it.
Bobby was and still is, right in the money about cooking with gas. If you’re going to commit yourself to grilling, you need to use propane. The versatility and adaptability that propane grills offer just can’t be beaten and the degree of control that they impart during every stage and minute of the grilling process is almost unbeatable.
That’s right we called grilling a process because that’s what it is. It’s a process that it takes a lifetime to get to grips with and it’s an art form that it will take you years to master and perfect. After spending decades devoting our lives to trying to conquer the subtleties and intricacies of grilling and attempting to uncover its many secrets, we still feel like our journey is just beginning.
What we have learned so far though, is that the first step on any adventure into the realms of grilling can only be taken with the right grill. If you don’t use a grill that you can venture down that path, and start to grasp the basics of grilling, with you might as well hang up your apron and walk away.
Without the right tools for the right job, all hope is lost. That’s why when you’re ready to plunge headlong into the world of grilling, there’s only one name and one brand that you’ll need to know and stick to like Louisiana barbecue sauce clings to a perfectly grilled rib. And that name is Weber.
The Weber Way
Unless you’ve spent most of your life hiding in some far-flung monastery on a far off mountain range, you’ve probably heard of Weber. They made grilling popular, they put it on the mainstream map, and they invented, pioneered, and refined most of the technology and innovations that modern grillers take for granted.
Every story has a beginning and Weber’s started when their founder George A. Stephen forged the first Kettle Grill from a marine buoy and after seeing how well it worked and discovering there was a market for his grills, he started to make and sell them to his fellow Americans in nineteen fifty-two.
Weber and their grills have come a long way since George sold his first Kettle grill, and in the last seventy years they’ve not only become a force to be reckoned with in the grilling world, they’ve also come to dominate it. The reason they’re at the top of the grilling food chain is that they make some of the best grills in the world and two of their most famous grills, both of which we’ve been putting our grilling faith in for years, are the Spirit and the Genesis.
Even though we wouldn’t hesitate to recommend both, choosing between them, if you’re not familiar with the inner workings of the grilling world, can be next to impossible, which is why we decided to pit them against each other in a no-holds-barred, winner takes all, head to head grill off. Welcome to the Weber Way, welcome to Spirit vs. Genesis
First things first and before we go any further, it’s important to understand that both Spirit and Genesis are the names that Weber gave to a line of grills that they manufacture. As both have now entered their second generation of design and production, we thought that, in the spirit of fairness and to ensure a level playing field, that it was only appropriate that the latest models of each grill compete against each other in the face-off.
Boasting an impressive five hundred and twenty-nine square inches of total cooking space, the Spirit uses three burners to deliver a total heat output of thirty thousand BTU (British Thermal Units) to it’s grilling area from a single tank of propane. If those numbers seem impressive, it’s because they are and every single time we’ve grilled with the Spirit, we’re reminded just how impressive the amount of heat that it produces is.
But heat without purpose is meaningless, which is why the Spirit’s burner power is simple to manipulate and deliver in increments that you can easily govern and manage with the separate controls for each burner. It takes a little time to master them, but once you do, with a little finesse and imagination, you’ll be able to grill just about anything on the Spirit. It was this grill, albeit an earlier and much less advanced model, that helped us to expand our culinary repertoire and helped to transform us into the dedicated grillers that we are today.
Even though Weber pushes the fact that the Spirit has Infinity ignition, in reality, it’s just an electronic ignition system that fires the grill into life. Admittedly it’s impressive that, unlike our Chevy, it always starts the first time and that Weber guarantees it for ten years, but using it as a selling point for their incredible GS4 cooking system, when it’s the least impressive part of the system seems a little pointless to us.
Don’t get us wrong, it’s a good ignition system, but what they should focus on are the aforementioned burner control and the way that the Spirit channels grease away from whatever it is that you’re cooking and collects it in an easy to empty and clean, porcelain-coated grease trap.
We’re huge fans of the Spirit and its additional right side grill that makes preparing side dishes easy, the left-hand folds down, simple to release side table and the fact that it’s simple to read propane gauge means that they only way you’ll ever run out of fuel while you’re cooking is if you forget to check it.
We love all of those things about the Spirit, but at the end of the day, it’s the mastery over the grill that the controls grant you, and the way they allow you to precisely navigate your way around your cook that sold us and continues to sell us on the Spirit. And if it wasn’t for the Genesis, right about now we’d be urging you to invest in this latest generation of Spirit.
This the grill that quite literally stole our collective cooking hearts and holds them still. Weber, ever the king of understatement, describes the Genesis as “looks nice and sears a mean steak”, but it does so much more than that. It is, we have decided, a nearly flawless and perfect cooking machine. And it should be for the eye-watering price that Weber charges for it, but enough of that as we’ve always thought that discussing money was more than a little crass. So let’s talk about the Genesis.
Like the Spirit, the Genesis uses Weber’s patented GS4 cooking system so it has the same Infinity ignition with the same ten-year guarantee and the same easy to clean grease management trap that the Spirit does, but that’s where the similarities end.
The Genesis offers an even greater degree of burner control than the Spirit does, which we thought was impossible until we stood in front of this magnificent machine, that also has a quick sear feature built-in that adds that extra undefinable something that everyone wants to try and falls head over heels for, to any meat that you’re cooking.
It also has almost one hundred and fifty more square inches of grilling space than the Spirit does which throws open the grilling doors and allows you to cook a lot more with it than you ever could with the Spirit.
But the thing that almost steals the duel for the Genesis is the iGrill3, a temperature app that connects the Genesis to your smartphone that allows you to precisely monitor the temperature it cooking at so that you can tweak and adjust it as you’re grilling, It’s the little things that make all of the difference, and if it wasn’t for the fact that you actually have to connect the Genesis to a natural gas line to use it, and that it doesn’t grill using propane like the Spirit does, it would have walked away from this contest ion triumph.
And The Winner Is… The Final Verdict
It was always going to be a tough contest as we adore the Spirit and the Genesis in equal measure. The former for the versatility, precision, and freedom that it offers and the latter for its huge cooking surface and the technology that it embraces.
While they both offer the beginning and the more experienced griller an infinite world of cooking possibility and reliability, due to the Spirits innovation and the prohibitive and off-putting cost, and the fact that it will only cook with natural gas and has to be attached to a household main, of the Genesis, the only way this contest can end is in a draw.