Sunday, March 01, 2009

The Unboxing: Weber’s “new” 26 3/4 inch One Touch Gold – Part 2

Now that she was assembled, I was curious as to how she compared to the 22. My first impression was, “whoa”. She just looks big.

Side by Side

As the photo shows, the 26 rightfully sits up a lot higher than the 22. I like the higher grill height, as it brings it closer to the level of the 650. “Less bending over” is always a good thing in my book.

Over my shoulder

The design features are exactly the same as any other Weber kettle. Thankfully Weber included the rubber handle on the top vent too. The green OTG next to it does not have one, while the Performer in the back does. I cannot tell you how many times I have burned my hand on the green kettle’s vent because I was used to the Performer. I need to order one from Weber.

Cooking surface:

26 3/4 vs 22 1/2

So it really is bigger! Although in this picture it doesn’t, at least to me, look like as much of a difference as you would think. The 26 boasts 508 square inches of grilling space. The 22 has 363. For further comparison, the 650 has 624 square inches (which does not include the warming rack). I don’t think this picture gives credence to the amount of grilling space you get with this thing.

The distance between the main grate to the charcoal grate is 5 inches, which is the same as the 22. However, the distance between the bottom of the charcoal grate and the kettle is 6 inches on the 26 and 4 inches on the 22.


Standardized Parts

The kettle “accessories” are the same as the rest of the kettles. The ash catchers, the wheels, the handles, and even the charcoal baskets.

Now that we know what it looks like, how is it going to take the food? I had a small stockpile of shoulders (Boston Butts) and ribs in the freezer, so I decided to use them as props to get an idea on spacing. On the 22, I have been using my modified grate because I was tired of the charcoal baskets. I don’t plan on buying a new grate to cut up for the 26, so it is back to the baskets. Here are 2 shoulders. You could probably fit a third, but it would be tight.

2 Shoulders

2 racks of ribs easily fit flat across the grate.

2 Racks

When you add in a rib rack, you can easily fit 4 racks and a shoulder.

2 Racks and 1 Shoulder

And “oh yeah”, I can fit my 16 inch pizza stone!

16 inch Pizza Stone

Well I am pretty excited. It is a big grill. I am curious to see what kind of modifications I need to make to my fuel and cooking times for indirect cooking. I “hope” to throw a shoulder on today. The fact that it is freezing outside isn’t going to make this learning curve any easier.

I have a feeling I will use the grill quite a bit for direct cooking too. With the extra space, I can really spread out my zones. Plus, I have full access to the perimeter. If I decided to host a steak party for some friends, we can all crowd around with beers in our hand cook our own meat. Very cool.

Stay tuned for Part 3, the maiden cook.


Two said...

Mike, Nice blog I just began to follow it. Where did you get your pizza stone? Brand?

Mike said...

Hey Two, thanks!

The stone is just a 16 inch natural stone tile I picked up from Lowe's or Home Depot (I can't remember which, but they both have them.)

In fact, it just broke after about a year and a half of use. Seeing it was only 6 bucks, I am lot happier with this than buying one from Williams-Sonoma, or somewhere else.

Jay said...

JWant to get a 26" weber, and found you doing a search. That grate mod, and the $6 natural stone are great ideas!! I hope you are still updating your site.

Eric said...

Mike, how much more meat can you cook on the 26"? I like to have the coals all on one side for searing and then smoke the meat, especially chicken over on the other side. I'm suddenly cooking for nine people a lot (instead of two) and it seems like this grill might make a big difference.

Mike said...

Eric, you can fit a ton of meat on it. The week before last, I smoked two 7 pound briskets and had plenty of space. In fact, a lot of nights I just light up the 26 for all of the extra space.

It sounds like you have a lot of mouths to feed!

Eric said...

Thank you. I got one and you are right. It is a lot bigger (especially when I'm often only use one half of it). It's really awesome.