Pseudo-Review: Weber Genesis E330 Five Years And Counting

Subtitle: How I got my first brisket on

At last count, dear worst-reader, I think my Weber Grill is five years old. It might be six or even six and half but it’s definitely not seven or even four. Go figure, I lost the purchase receipt. It is said that these über expensive grills are worth every penny–if you can afford them. Or am I the only one to say that–because I can afford them? Nomatter.

The ultimate question for worst-writer when it comes to buying expensive $hit is this: would I buy it again? The answer is: indeed I would. Then again, I happened across the new generation of Weber grills the other week while at a hardware store and I was a bit surprised at their new product line. The equivalent grill’s price has risen so much that I’d be forced to give another brand a look. Napoleon grills come to mind first. But that’s neither here nor there.

The Über Grill, baby.

As you can see in the pics, I have the copper version of the Genesis series that includes the GBS system. I’m not aware anymore what GBS even means. It has something to do with the grill grates and being able to buy über-expensive inserts that enable fancy-pants grilling-galore. Whether it’s searing, using a griddle or–and get this–Korean barbecuing, you can go to any Weber store and just hand out cash-galore for anything except a kitchen sink to fit in this thing. Sound familiar, dear worst-reader? Indeed. Weber has its Apple-like product marketing machine on full mimic. Although I do use the griddle that I purchased for the GBS system–a great way to avoid losing Seaford on grill grates, btw–I no longer–or rarely–use the GBS cast iron grates. I just place the griddle on top of steel grates now. Go figure, eh.

Grates and other add-ons.

I replaced the GBS grates with third-party steel grates after initial purchase. Reason? Steel grates just cook better than cast iron grates. And that’s not all. Since my better-half convinced me she’ll do special things (for worst-moi) if I smoke her meat, I even splurged and bought a third grate system that includes a smoker box. That’s right, dear worst-reader, I have three grate system for this grill. WTF, eh! And keep this in mind. The third grate system I bought includes a fancy-pants smoker box specifically made for this grill. That’s right, baby. I don’t use them cheap (but über expensive) little smoker boxes offered by Weber that you put on top of the flavour-bars. Fcuk that!

At the time of purchase, the smoker box I wanted was no longer available from Weber but I managed to get it on that silly auction website. Due to the location of the smoker box, though, you also have to get a special cut grate so that the three elements fit. Well, I guess, if you’re experienced enough at grilling, you can just skip the extra grate–if you can even get the smoker box. Since the smoker box I bought came with the grate, I’m good. Now I have three grates for this damn thing, don’t you know. Am I happy with it? Indeed I am. It’s worked like a charm so far, don’t you know. Most recently it worked great when making my first brisket. More on that in a sec.

As far as quality of grill goes, this Weber replaced one of those first purchase, save-a-buck compromise grills that ended up rusting completely within three years. Although there are a few minor blemishes on it, my Weber has had no issues with rust whatsoever. Heck, even those silly-named flavor bars lasted for about four years till they started to rust. They lasted, of course, because I took care of them and cleaned them a few times a year. I did make one mistake replacing them, though. I replaced the rusted flavour-bars with original enamelled flavour-bars from Weber. Next time when they need replacing I’m gonna just order third party stainless steel flavour-bars. What a stupid (marketing) name for flame defusers, eh. Oh well.

Maintenance and then some, baby.

As far as maintaining it goes, I give the grill a thorough cleaning at least twice a year. That is, I remove everything and scrub all the grates, flavour-bars, bottom defusers, and take special care to keep the burners clean. Although the burners, after about five years, are showing a bit more rust than I was expecting, they don’t seem to be corroding to the point of dysfunction. They produce more than enough heat, especially when I keep flavour-bars and the bottom defusers clean. Tip: want more heat from your grill? Keep it clean and free of old cooked, charred, charcoaled stuff. With every major clean, I’m able to get the grill well beyond three-hundred and fifty degrees celsius (ca. 700f) within fifteen minutes of lighting it up. Although I rarely need those high temperatures, it does come in handy when grilling pizza on a rather large pizza stone–also something I bought third-party so as to save a bit of cash instead of wasting so much on Weber’s (Apple?) marketing mayhem galore.

The rest of the grill is in perfect working condition after five or so years. The doors are still very solid. The enclosed-frame is also without any rust or corrosion. Even the wheels still work great if/when I have to move it. Speaking of moving it. I even lugged this damn thing to Bangalore, India, in 2016. Although we were supposed to stay there for a few years, it turns out we only got eight months out of the deal before we headed back to #Eurowasteland/Germania. I never once was able to use the grill in India. On the trip back, though, a few parts from the grill got lost in the packing and it turned out to be a pain in the arse to get those parts in Germany. My beloved #Americant to the rescue, baby. On a trip to the US, a month or two after returning from India, I was able to get those parts toot-sweet via a hardware store’s showroom. Cool, eh.

The cooking magic, sugar-tits.

I love this grill. I love it mostly because 1) controlling temperature is a dream and 2) at times it’s more convenient to use than our kitchen oven. Not to mention that preparing meat on this thing is as fun as petting and trimming the breast flesh of a bovine about to be grilled and smoked. Grilling veggies is also magic and, as previously mentioned, grilling homemade pizza is nothing short of dee-lish. Although I’ve cooked all kinds of meat on it in all kinds of ways, until recently, I had never made a brisket.

Keep in mind, dear worst-reader, German butchers, for whatever reason, don’t cut up a bovine like butchers in my beloved & missed #Americant. That said, if I understand it, I was only able to get the breast-part of the brisket cut. That is, the shoulder portion, which the #Americant butchers include, wasn’t available. Although my butcher told me that I could order it next time with advanced notice, the breast cut weighed 4.5kg, that was good enough for this first try. Remember: the whole point of a brisket is cooking a piece of meat that otherwise is un-eatable.

My biggest concern with making a brisket wasn’t the cut of meat. Instead it was maintaining a low temperature for the all-day smoking. Luckily, after recently cleaning her up, I was able to maintain low temperature and still get the smoker-box to work. Hence the reason I only wanted this type of smoker box. After thirteen (or so) hours I was able to get some serious flavour into the meat. I also managed to dry it out a bit. Obviously it didn’t matter because the brisket was gone and gone and gone once it was served at the baroque gathering/picnic. For a first try, I’m stacking this up as a success. The only issue I have to face now is that my wife got some smoked meat for the first time in a while and she’s hungry still. The problem is, grill-smoking–even with a gas grill–all day ain’t a very practical since I live in a townhouse and my grill is in an open atrium in the centre of that house. There are people on both sides of us and behind us. No one complained but I won’t be pushing my luck with smoking a lot while we’re living here.

Weber grills, although very expensive, are the bomb, baby.

Rant on.

-T

Something Ain’t So Worst: My First Coq Au Vin

Been saying it for years, dear worst-reader. Gotta make this. Although I’ve enjoyed this dish many times, either made by others or at fine dinning places around #Eurowasteland, I hadn’t yet embarked on doing it myself. And don’t get me wrong here. It’s not that I’m claiming in any worst-way that I’m, you know, a cook, don’t you know. At best, I only enjoy the drinking that accompanies cooking and, of course, the continued drinking that coincides–which is even better when I screw up as I can drawn my sorrows. There’s just something about a kitchen, a grill, organising ingredients, which includes shopping for those ingredients where rich women shop, chopping stuff with a fine knife, and keeping things clean compared to how others cook, that gets under my gander–and gets me in my kitchen. Did I mention the self-medicated drinking part that goes so well with cooking? Yeah, that’s a whole ‘nother worst-post, don’t you know.

So I finally gave it a try the other day. I gave it a try not only because of my lust for France. No. Or the memory of that girl in Paris that blew my mind–so many years ago–who actually made fresh croissants right in front of me while butt naked and it was the only thing we ate for three days between some of the most beautiful love making I’ve ever known. No. Cooking is just a great thing to know how to do–or even to what to do–including loving Paris. And for a first try, if I may worst-add, it came out pretty good. My only criticism of the recipe (see below), is the amount of butter required. I’m not crazy about cooking with butter–even though I watched Julia Child on black/white TV in the 70s abuse the stuff. I’m gonna have to study-up on this dish to see if I can make it with less butter. Nomatter.

Btw, the pic on the left above I took while flambéing the chicken, just before adding the sauces (self-made chicken broth and reduced wine marinate). As you can see, I had a bit trouble with the flames as they scorched the back panel of my stove top–almost ruining or enhancing a picture of sage.

Rant and cook on, baby.

-T

Here’s the recipe I followed:

That Last Bottle Of Wine Full Of Memories

Xmas Eve dinners are a big deal in worst-writer’s house. A few people are invited and some of them actually come. Since the kids are all growed-up this is mostly an adult evening. Either that or the kids are with divorcee parents. Nomatter. To begin the occasion, a bottle of champagne is opened and most drink from it. A few snacks are made available along with conversation about a year ending and perhaps, dear worst-reader, you can imagine how things go from there. Then the cooking begins. In a five-course meal, worst-moi is responsible for the first two. The starter was a worst-writer (aka Tom) carpaccio with baked and shaved gold beets, shaved parmesan, a dressing made of sour cream, vinegar and horseradish and all topped with watercress leaves and fresh broken black pepper. Of course, just before Guten Apetit is wished upon all, über olive oil from our Croatia trip this year was dabbled atop. Even though this meal has been prepared for everyone before, as it is our guests most requested worst-writer dish, this time it was a bit different. We actually opened our last bottle of what worst-writer considers to be  one of the finest Chianti he’s ever consumed. It is a 2004 Selvapiana Chianti. Not a very expensive wine, it is special because it is also the last of about three cases–among thirty or so cases–that we brought back with us after a week of wine tasting in Tuscany in 2007. Nervous if the wine had aged well–on account we lost probably two bottles to “cork”–the first whiff following cork removal proved all was well. In fact, the scent that immediately emerged from the cork and the bottle did more than jostle the memory of that 2007 trip. It was indeed a grand piece of travel, not to mention it being one of the last where I was able to make love to my wife multiple times a day–every glorious day. Yeah, something about Tuscany, the air, the wine… and not being over fifty yet. A little more than a decade later, and many wine-o days behind me–not to mention the waning physical love drive–which is in-and-of-itself a relief–I thoroughly enjoyed it. I think my wife was especially tickled, too, as I didn’t need to remind her of its meaning.

“Shall we return to Tuscany in 2019 to get more,” I asked her while wishing her a merry Xmas.

“As you like, my love,” she said as we savoured wine wet lips.

Rant on.

-T

PS The beef for the carpaccio is prepared thus: at about 2pm while first guests arrive and first bottle of Champagne is served, for show effect, the filet mignon is slightly salted (with flaky, pink, Himalayan salt), peppered and then seared all around in a glowing hot pan on the secondary burner of my Weber über-grill. The idear is to caramelise the outside of the meat without cooking any of the inside. After that rest it for about an hour in the winter climate. Then put the meat in a freezer bag and in the freezer. At about 6pm, after prepping all the other parts, the meat is removed and sliced as thin as possible. The freezing of the meat helps to slice thinly where it then thaws on the plate just prior to serving and if cut properly is almost translucent.

PSS The second course worst-writer prepared was homemade noodles with a butter-wine sauce, melted parmesan, and then topped with black truffle shavings–that we also got on our last Croatia trip. Croatian wine tasting combined with truffles almost competes with Tuscany. Anywho. It was served with a French Cabernet that was pretty decent and more expensive than the Chianti, but couldn’t hold up to the memory.

Worst-Recipe: Ravioli With Ricotta Mint Lemon Zest, Slightly Burnt

Subtitle of this post: Or How To Fix, Make Delish, Your Kitchen Screw-Up.

There are many recipes like this on the interwebnets. Good luck finding one with slightly burned butter, though.

Ingredients (approximate):

  • Flat pasta, preferably fresh made the night before
  • 200g Ricotta
  • Mint leaves
  • Lemon
  • Olive oil
  • Butter
  • Parmesan

How To:

While I rolled the pasta with our trusty machine, better half whipped up the ricotta. Just put it in a bowl and add chopped mint leaves. Before slicing lemon to get to the juice, remove yellow (only) from skin (the white under the skin is bitter!) and put finely chopped pieces into the Ricotta. Then slice your lemon and squeeze one half into the mix. Add some fresh, shaven parmesan and then salt and pepper. Mix well.

Once pasta is rolled, flattened, circles are cut-out, lay on ravioli cutter and using a finger dipped in water, slightly moisten around the edge. Fill with a teaspoon of ricotta and fold over. The moistened edge helps the pasta stay together. Pamper with some flower and set aside on a cloth.

Btw, due to the circular nature of the noodle cut-outs, there will be some remaining pasta. Run it through the machine and then cut into strips and put aside to dry. Use this left-over pasta within the next few days for lunch. Just boil it in salty water and when “Adante” cover with some olive oil, salt and pepper and parmesan. Delish, baby.

Once your ravioli is done, cook them for about five or so minutes in boiling, salted water. While doing that, heat up a pan with a good, thick layer of olive oil. Add a heap of butter and then mix-in whole mint leaves. Although the olive oil should prevent the butter from scorching, I was trying out my gas burner on my grill and set the heat too high. The butter burnt quickly. Luckily I caught it before it burnt too bad and just threw in some of the “pasta-water” from the pot to calm things down. But the damage was done. Oh well.

Once the mint leaves in the pan have softened, add a bunch of ravioli. Mix and flip till the ravioli is covered with the oil and butter sauce. Salt and pepper and let simmer for about a minute. Then add some fresh parmesan. Mix and flip more. Done. Plate it with more parmesan and pepper if needed.

Although we were in a bit of hurry this evening and I obviously rushed things, the slightly (butter) burnt ravioli was fantastic. The mix of mint and lemon inside the noodles is both refreshing and enticing as it all burst open while chewing and mixes with the oil and butter sauce.

Rant (and worst-cook) on, baby.

-T