Grilling adds to the 4th of July outdoor experience
By Jill Draper
There’s a centuries-old satisfaction to cooking food outside, and the July 4th weekend is a prime time to think about acquiring or upgrading a grill. Barbecue enthusiasts have strong—even raging—opinions on what makes the best method, meat or sauce. You can jump in the debate, however, with a simple $30 portable cooker and go from there.
Euston Hardware in the Red Bridge Shopping Center offers a 14-inch Weber “Smokey Joe” charcoal grill that’s great for tailgating or for hauling to picnic sites, says Chris Socha, general manager. He also sells a $60 portable Weber gas grill with a small propane tank.
Most popular are the 22-inch standard Weber charcoal kettle or the Weber “Spirit” gas grill. Then it gets complicated. Fans of smoked foods can choose from three sizes of a Weber charcoal smoker. There are also charcoal kettles with tiny propane starters, cooking grates with removable centers that accommodate accessories ranging from woks to griddles to pizza pans, and WiFi thermometers that track the temperature of food via smartphone.
Most of the grills at Euston are Weber brand. “They’re good quality and are always rated well by Consumer Reports,” says Socha, who adds they have a nice warranty and a local representative is available to handle any issues that might arise. But his store also sells a pellet grill made by Green Mountain.
“These are secondary grills for a lot of people. You can do regular grilling, use them as a smoker, even bake cakes,” he says. They work by dispensing compressed hardwood pellets from a hopper into a fire pot beneath cooking grates. A temperature dial controls how many pellets are dropped into the ignition chamber that sits beneath a metal drip tray. The pellets provide a pure hardwood flavor and come in hickory, mesquite, cherry and various blends.
Socha says only about 10 percent of his customers want a natural gas grill, which requires a permanent gas connection. Euston does not stock these grills, but can order them. The store also offers propane tank exchanges to avoid the hassle of refilling the tanks yourself.
Will any grills go on sale later in the summer? “Weber prices are pretty much set by Weber,” Socha says. “No matter where you go, the prices should be the same.” But he adds that Euston does offer free delivery and free haul away of old grills in the local area.
Looking for recipes? Try these 4th of July favorites from Weber Grill.
Want to win prizes? Share your story of the person who influenced you to grill at Smithfield’s Get Grilling site. Smithfield hires 450 workers at its Martin City plant!