If you are in the market for a portable gas grill or just a small gas barbecue for your apartment then one of the Weber Q grills is perfect for you.
The Weber Q series was relaunched in 2015 with the 1000-3200 grills. There are only slight cosmetic differences between these grills and their earlier 100-320 counterparts.
The Q Series are different from traditional Weber gas grills in that they utilize a curvilinear burner tube and manage flare-ups through a highly engineered cooking grate instead of Flavorizer bars. The visual design of these small barbecue pits is also a clear departure from Weber traditions.
The Weber Q grills are fine appliances but the new burner and grate design dictate that they will not perform like a full sized Genesis. The primary performance difference between the two is that indirect and low heat grilling is extremely easy on a Weber Genesis but very challenging on a Weber Q. The primary advantages of the Q grills are that they have a small footprint, are highly portable, extremely affordable and look sharp.
These grills look like nothing else on the market; sleek, aerodynamic and modern. I am a huge fan of the classic Weber kettle design but the boxy look of the Genesis has never really impressed me visually.
They are now offering the most popular Qs in eight different color options. You can still get a Q in the traditional white (actually they call it “titanium”) but I like the new colors a little better.
These grills all contain a patented cooking grate constructed of heavy duty enameled cast iron. The patented grate design is what allows the Weber Qs to operate without the Flavorizer bars found in other gas grills.
The grates on these grills are a mixed blessing.
Enameled cast iron grates have always been a premium upgrade on any Weber grill. They are excellent at holding heat and when properly used can put down serious grill marks. The downside of cast iron grates is that even though they are enameled they will rust if you don’t take care of them properly.
It is strongly recommended that you treat these grates like any other piece of cast iron and season them heavily. Do not rely upon the porcelain enameled coating to protect these grates from rust.
I didn’t include the electric Weber Q2400 because I hate the spiteful little demon. Let’s just say that I have a short and violent history with that Hell Spawn of a grill. It involved a Coca Cola and a midget. That’s all I am going to share.
The Weber Qs are insanely popular in all of the beach towns I have visited recently. I think the cast aluminum and plastic construction holds up much better against corrosion from the salty sea air.
The Q series is also one of Weber’s biggest sellers in Europe and Australia. The compact footprint of these grills combined with their affordability makes them much more attractive than the Genesis and Spirit grills.
It is interesting to see that Weber is selling accessories for the Q series in Australia like the rotisserie and pizza system that are not available in the US. Maybe if we start an email campaign we can get those accessories offered in the US as well!
Choosing the Right Weber Q for You!
There are five different versions of the Weber Q grill. All of these grills work great and beat the pants off of any other small gas grill you will find. However, of the five Weber Qs available, there are only two that I recommend to my friends.
Most people who are looking at the Weber Qs fall into two categories:
- People who want a portable gas grill for their rv, tailgating, camping, etc.
- People who want a small gas grill that doesn’t take up much space on their patio.
Why buy the Weber Q 1200 and not the Weber Q 1000?
There are three differences between the 1000 and 1200 (ignition, lid thermometer, side tables). The most important difference is the inclusion of side tables on the Weber Q 1200. Side tables might not seem like a big deal but I swear you won’t believe how much you will end up using them!
The side tables on the Weber Q 1200 are sturdy. The side tables are strong enough to support a dinner plate loaded with burgers and are a great place to put your utensils. When the grill is not in use the side tables can fold up and be stored inside the grill so the storage footprint is the exact same as the Weber Q 1000.
Side tables, side tables, side tables! They will be your best friend.
Another reason I like the Q 1200 over the Q 1000 is the lid thermometer. When it comes to setting the right temperature for the grill the thermometer is pretty useless. However, the lid thermometer is PERFECT for letting you know when you have run out of propane.
The Weber Q 1200 is designed to run off of the small disposable propane bottles. You will typically get 5-6 hours of grilling time per bottle and can keep the bottle attached between uses.
It is not uncommon for the propane bottle to run dry in the middle of a grilling session. If you were grilling on a Q 1200 you would see the temperature drop on the lid thermometer and know you needed to change bottles. If you were grilling on the Q 1000 you would be running blind.
Why buy the Weber Q 1200 and not the Weber Q 2200?
The Q 2200 is basically the same grill as the Q 1200 but has about 30% more grilling area.
While buying a larger grill might sound like a good idea let me try to talk you out of it. Although the Q1200 is the smaller of the two grills it is still plenty large enough to grill burgers for six people at a time.
In addition, buying a larger grill defeats the purpose of trying to find something small and portable.
Although this isn’t that big of a deal, the Weber Q 2200 is only available in Titanium while the Weber Q 1200 is available in 8 different colors. If you want to add some flair and a splash of color to your grilling adventures then the Weber Q 1200 has you covered.
The Weber Q 1200 is a great, affordable grill that is built to last. The Weber Q 1200 is more expensive than off brand grills but paying for quality has never been a mistake.
Click the link below to check out the reviews for this grill (overwhelmingly positive) and see the different color options that are available.
While I prefer the Q1200 for its portability, if you are looking for something just to use on your patio then what you need is the Weber Q 3200.
The Q 3200 is the largest of the Weber Qs, comes with an integrated cart and is designed to use a full size propane tank. The Q 3200 has two burners and offers much more grilling flexibility compared to the Q 1000 and Q 2000 grills.
If you buy one of the 1000 or 2000 series grill for use on your deck then one of the first things you will end up doing is buying the regulator adapter that allows you to use a full size propane tank instead of a disposable propane bottle. You will also spend a lot of time trying to make it “fit” onto a table since it doesn’t come supported on a cart.
Skip the hassle and just buy the grill that will meet all of your needs straight out of the box.
Weber Q Assembly and Maintenance
Here is a great video collection covering the assembly, testing and maintenance of a Weber Q grill.
The first video is from Bill West of Barbecue Tricks. Bill put together a time lapse video of him assembling a Weber Q 220 as well as the cart. The total assembly time was under an hour.
Bill made this video in 2013 so what you will see is the older style cart that is no longer available. This cart looks nearly identical to the newer Weber Q 2000 cart and I think the older grills will still fit on the new design.
The reason assembly is so fast for these grills is that most of the grill is already assembled out of the box. You will need to screw on a few fixtures and side tables, etc but the hard parts about grill assembly are already done for you.
After Bill put his grill together he used an fun trick to map out the hot and cold zones on the Weber Q 220. Bill’s heat map looks pretty much like what I have found when using Weber Q grills. The grills run hotter where the gas enters the grill and a little cooler on the back side of the grill.
Here is how you can test the temperature profile of your Weber Q.
If you get a chance make sure to subscribe to Bill’s YouTube channel. Bill usually puts up some pretty solid barbecue advice and the videos are nicely produced.
After you have used your Weber Q for a while you will want to give it a nice cleaning. There is not a lot of room under the burner of a Weber Q and you will want to keep it clean so accumulated grease does not catch on fire.
This next video shows you how to deep clean your Weber Q including the grates and burners. You shouldn’t have to do a deep clean of your burner very often…once a year ought to be plenty.
This video was put together by the Australian division of Weber. They mention using the Weber Q cleaner which is a product unavailable in the United States. I use All Purpose Formula 409 to clean my Weber Q and it seems to work just fine.
Grilling With a Weber Q
Here are a few great videos from the UK and Australia showing how to use the Weber Q series.
Let’s start off with grilling some steak! This video showcases High Heat grilling and highlights the importance of letting the Weber Q 3200 preheat on High for at least 10 minutes. The cast iron grates on the Q 3200 are HEAVY so they need a lot of time to get to proper searing temperatures. Both burners are on High for the entire cook.
Next up is a roasted pork using a trivet and a convection shield. For the convection shield you can either use a double layer of aluminum foil or one of Weber’s disposable shields. If you are using foil then you need to add some slits so that fat drips away from the grate and burner. This technique initially uses both burners on High but adjusts them lower after the initial roasting stage.
This next video utilizes the convection shield and trivet along with the Weber Q pizza system. The Weber pizza system includes a pizza stone as well as a metal pizza tray. The idea is to preheat the stone in the Weber Q while you are assembling the pizza on the metal tray.
The next video shows how to use a griddle on a Weber Q. The host makes a beautiful grilled salmon with crispy skin. There is also a quick glimpse at a really great breakfast idea. They have sliced a bell pepper into rings and are using the pepper rings as a mold for fried eggs!
Next up is a demonstration of the Weber Q rotisserie. This awesome product that isn’t available in the United States yet but I suspect that it will be in a year or two. They show how to set up the rotisserie and cook a chicken. The Weber Q rotisserie looks like a LOT of fun!