The taste and smell of charcoal grilling meet the convenience of propane in the Performer Deluxe grill by Weber. The Touch-N-Go gas ignition system, which utilizes propane to fire your charcoal, will never leave you unable to start the coals on this grill.
The grill’s design features an open cart surrounding the traditional Kettle style grill area that Weber is best known for. Weber has genuinely added a level of convenience to their Original Kettle style grill with the Performer Deluxe.
This review will go over some specifications to give you a better idea of the grill’s identity, talk about some pros and cons of owning it, and then compare it to a few similar Weber grills so you can get an idea of where the Performer Deluxe lands in the lineup.
Specifications and Dimensions
To get a better idea of this grill’s identity, let’s take a look at some numbers.
- Grilling Area: 363 inches of primary cooking area
- Grates: Heavy-gauge steel charcoal grate, plated steel hinged cooking grate
- Fuel Type: Charcoal
- Ignition Type: Touch-N-Go liquid propane ignition system
- Materials: Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
- Dimensions (with lid closed):5”H x 48”W x 30”D, Diameter: 22”
- Color Availability: Copper, Black, Green
- Warranty: 10 years on bowl and lid, 5 years on one touch cleaning system and plastic components, and 2 years on all remaining parts
On Weber’s website, this grill had 221 reviews with 91% being 5 or 4 stars and only 2% being 1 or 2 stars.
The few negative reviews on Amazon appear to have more to do with shipping and handling than the product itself, and so I would take the negative ones with a grain of salt. Most reviewers are head-over-heels for this grill, mainly for the extra conveniences we will talk about later in this article.
America’s Test Kitchen ranked the Performer Deluxe as the Best Charcoal Grill Under $400. Here is a look at how they came to their conclusion.
What Makes the Performer Deluxe Great
The defining feature on this grill is the Touch-N-Go ignition system. The system sets the Performer Deluxe apart from other charcoal grills by creating an easy to use charcoal ignition system. Anyone could start this grill, and that’s not something every charcoal grill can boast.
One of the biggest reasons that people use gas grills instead of charcoal is that lighting the charcoal can be difficult. This is a shame since food grilled over charcoal tastes so much better! The ignition system on the Performer Deluxe solves this problem and makes everyday charcoal grilling an accessible reality.
In addition to the easy-to-use ignition, this grill has a built-in thermometer as well as a detachable LCD timer. The lid features a shield to block the top handle from getting hot, meaning the days of the grill sized hot mitt are behind us.
Finally, the steel cart is a fantastic feature for this grill. Weber’s Original Kettle style is great, but having some space on the side to prep and a shelf and hooks to store tools is invaluable for a grill master. The cart also features a built in lid holder and integrated charcoal storage bin. The cart feature alone could sell this grill for a lot of charcoal lovers.
What I Don’t Like
There is very little not to love about this grill. However, for the sake of completeness, there are some things to gripe about.
LCD Timer: I never understood why Weber thought a timer was something anyone needed. Seriously, a stopwatch for a grill? In reality the timer is just a cheap electronic gadget that is going to die well before your grill does. This is such a useless feature that I strongly suspect Weber will replace it with a slot to hold a digital thermometer in the near future. Now THAT would actually be useful!
Price: You can buy three Original 22.5 inch kettles for the price of the Performer Deluxe and that just seems excessive. The Deluxe is still cheaper (and better) than a cast aluminum PK Grill or a ceramic Big Green Egg but still…costing three times as much as the same sized kettle without the cart and ignition system?
I don’t mind paying a premium for quality but I think Weber has built a little more than that into the price tag.
Versus the Standard and Premium Performer 22”
The lower priced Performer Premium is identical to the Deluxe except it does NOT come with the propane fired charcoal ignition system.
The base model Standard Performer lacks the ignition system, LCD timer and integrated charcoal storage bin. The Standard Performer also has a smaller side table.
All of the grills have the exact same cooking area.
My stance on the different Performer grills has been that if you are going to upgrade then you might as well buy the best. If you have the cash to spend on a Performer then, dang it, but the Deluxe!
Versus the Master-Touch 22”
The Master-Touch is a much simpler grill than the Performer Deluxe. The Master Touch has many nice upgrades over a standard Weber kettle with the most important being the built in lid holder.
The biggest difference between the grills and the reason you should buy the Deluxe is that the Master Touch does not have a side table.
The lack of a side table is why I eventually got rid of my older kettle and made the upgrade to a Performer. You are going to want to have someplace to put that tray of burgers or that cookie sheet full of baby back ribs.
The Master Touch is a wonderful grill but it just needs a side table!
Versus the Summit Charcoal Grilling Center 24”
If the Performer Deluxe is the Cadillac of charcoal grills, the Summit Charcoal Grilling Center is the Mercedes. It has a more advanced kettle grill design that can double as a low and slow smoker, an open cart design with added storage, and a double-walled lid and bowl.
The Summit is the top of the line in terms of charcoal grilling. It has everything the Performer Deluxe does, and more. Unfortunately, the price tag reflects that fact. You are truly going to be paying a top of the line price if you decide to go with the Summit model.
In terms of charcoal grilling, few designs offer a combination of smoking, baking, and grilling like the Summit offers. It can truly do it all. That doesn’t mean I would recommend it over the Performer Deluxe, though. If anything I think they have two very different purposes.
If you are looking for a small step into smoking, this might be the way for you to get there while keeping the convenience and comfort of charcoal grilling on the same machine.
If, however, you aren’t into the idea of spending an arm and a leg on a charcoal grill, but you want the best of the best in that way, go with the Performer Deluxe. I guarantee you won’t be disappointed.