It's that time of year again for me. My daughter's school is having a magazine drive and I'm trying to figure out which of the many food magazines I should renew and which ones I should drop. Saveur
is one of the magazines I'm keeping. I've only been a subscriber for a year, but I love this magazine and talking it over with my wife, this magazine that I usually take recipes from.Saveur
Why does Saveur stay? Well take a look at this article about the Weber Kettle...
Keepers of the Flame
When given a choice between grilling with gas and grilling with charcoal or wood, we'll take the latter every time. Sure, you have to wait longer for the heat, but it's always worth it. As we keep telling our gas-grilling friends, it's about more than touching food to flame: those glowing coals of oak or mesquite or even plain black charcoal impart smoky flavors of their own that a gas flame can never deliver. There are plenty of charcoal grills out there—low-riding hibachis, ten-dollar pan grills, tall Brinkman grill-smokers—and we've used them all, even loved a few of them, but, really, we'd always rather build our fires in a WEBER KETTLE GRILL.
Uncovered, this sturdy, bowl-shaped grill, introduced in the 1950s and more or less unchanged since, lets us cook foods like steaks, burgers, fish filets, and vegetables at exactly the right distance from the coals, and the Weber's broad, grated bottom makes it easy to mass the coals off to one side so that we can put our food on the other and cook it gently over indirect heat. When we throw on the domed cover, the Weber transforms into both an oven and a smoker, preventing flare-ups and allowing food to cook slowly and evenly as the coals fade. We get such good results with our Weber that we'll haul it out and build our fire in the dead of winter just to, say, grill a chicken. After nothing more than a rubbing of olive oil and a sprinkling of sea salt, we lay the chicken on the steel grate away from the coals, secure the cover, open the vents enough to keep the fire alive, crack open a beer, and let the Weber do its work, cooking the bird in its enameled-steel cocoon until the meat is tender, juicy, and infused with mouthwatering hints of smoke.
The prototype for this midcentury marvel was created in Chicago in 1952, when George Stephen, an engineer at Weber Brothers Metal Works, an outfit that supplied the Chicago Park Service with metal buoys for the city's harbors, concluded that he'd burned one too many roasts in the brick fireplace he'd constructed behind his house. Looking for an outdoor cooking vessel that would allow him to control the flow and intensity of heat more easily, Stephen cut a steel buoy in half, added a few adjustable vents, fitted one half with a rounded lid, welded a handle to it, and set the contraption on a tripod. Intent on convincing the public of his invention's merits, Stephen loaded the grill into his station wagon and went on the road to spread the Weber gospel.
"It's the story of the American entrepreneurial mind's thinking, 'I can do better,'" said Stephen's son, Jim Stephen, CEO of Weber-Stephen Products, the Palatine, Illinois–based company that his late father went on to found. The company has since expanded its line, adding fancier—and, in some cases, fanciful—models of both the charcoal and gas varieties, but we've never seen much need to change such a near-perfect invention.Article about the Weber Kettle, from Issue 117 of Saveur Magazine.
Go buy it. Now.