My 3 cents worth! I’ve been doing low n slow BBQ for 30 some years now and grilling for longer then that. I’ve won a few cook-out awards along the way too. But better then winning those is having the family and friends pester me to do some Q again. So I’m doing 1 large shoulder and a slab of ribs right now. I had the BBQ (grill is what I call it) up to speed at 10AM and am planning dinner for between 6 & 7 PM. The grill is right now holding steady at 206 degrees. I’ll have to add some more charcoal in about .5 hour.
Steve, In my Not so humble opinion, yes, I’m full of myself today [:D] What you need is a Weber style grill. If you want/prefer a circular shape then get a Weber and not a knock-off. If you have the room go for the 22" model. If not get the 18" one. I have owned both sizes over the years and each was great. With Weber you can’t beat the quality and there is a large selection of accessories available for these. I went to the 22" size when I had 3 adults and 2 kids in the house and needed more room.
For the past 10 or so years I’ve used an oval shape grill made by Patio Classic. http://www.patioclassic.com
I had one for about 8 years before it rusted out, my fault; I left it out year round. I’m on my 2nd year of my second one now. Don’t know if I’ll ever buy another brand of grill again. This one suits me just fine.
Why? You ask. For grilling of steaks, burgers, chops, hot dogs, sausage and fish you want direct heat. Especially for steaks you want a lot of heat to sear the meat. Most grills will have hot and not so hot spots. With use you will find where these are on your grill.
Not only does it handle all my direct grilling work but it does a great job with indirect cooking too. I do pork, beef and lamb roast using indirect.
Like I said I’ve got some low n slow BBQ going right now. With this unit I can easily control the air flow. I’ve been running about 210 degrees for almost 2 hours now. I put 12 briquettes on each side and fire them off. When they are about half ash covered I add 2 large well soaked chunks of hickory to both sides I add a Polder type probe thermometer thru a potato onto the grill for a more accurate gauge of what the temp is at the cooking area.
For a couple years I owned a New Braunfels smoker with the side fire box. I found that this didn t work as well for me and that I didn t use it much. It was actually too big for what I needed. I was going to turn it into a planter (oh Gosh, what a horrible thought!) But fortunately I sold it to a co-worker who uses it.
Summation; for general all around cooking get a Weber or Patio Classic or that style grill. You will be able to do the whole range of cooking from direct grilling to indirect cooking of roasts or with practice the low n slow of real wood BBQ.
Don t expect to do GREAT Q the very first time. It will take a lot of practice and experience to get to know your grill and how it works. Plus, I believe that all BBQs need time to season in.