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Baby Back Maniac

Weber Summit Charcoal Grill review after 1 year

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I have literally been working on this review for months. I'm not sure why it was so difficult but there was just so many things I wanted talk about since this is likely to be the most extensive review of the Summit on YouTube from an actual non-affiliated user.

 

It's not perfect, but I like it a lot. I think they did a great job of capturing what makes kamado cooking awesome without most of the drawbacks. They also put a lot of thought into the design and it shows. It's expensive and I don't think it looks as sexy as a ceramic but it's so convenient to use that I don't care...much. I tried to go into that a little bit because I think it's something you have to experience to appreciate. I admit, in some ways I feel like I'm explaining the virtues of the minivan to a single person. LOL.

 

I had an unfortunate run in with customer service last year which I go into in more detail. It wouldn't bug me if I was not used to Weber CS being incredible. Hopefully I just caught somebody on a bad day and it's not an indication of bigger problems. 

 

Anyways I hope you guys find this interesting. 

 

Justin

 

 

 

 

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I know the smoke leak was made into a big deal, but my question is how big of a deal is it really?  Is it affecting the performance of the grill?   Are you unable to hold certain temperatures because of it?

 

I understand problems.  I also understand significance of certain problems.  Is this one of those problems that isn't really a problem but instead is one of those "I paid $2000 for this grill and it shouldn't be like this" kind of problem?

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48 minutes ago, John Setzler said:

I know the smoke leak was made into a big deal, but my question is how big of a deal is it really?  Is it affecting the performance of the grill?   Are you unable to hold certain temperatures because of it?

 

I understand problems.  I also understand significance of certain problems.  Is this one of those problems that isn't really a problem but instead is one of those "I paid $2000 for this grill and it shouldn't be like this" kind of problem?

 

Personally, I think it was more of how it was handled than the problem itself
From what I've seen, the issue is more of an inconvenience than an actual fault affecting the performance of the grill and would have been considered as such if Webers CS handled the situation better

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On 8/10/2017 at 7:36 PM, John Setzler said:

I know the smoke leak was made into a big deal, but my question is how big of a deal is it really?  Is it affecting the performance of the grill?   Are you unable to hold certain temperatures because of it?

 

I understand problems.  I also understand significance of certain problems.  Is this one of those problems that isn't really a problem but instead is one of those "I paid $2000 for this grill and it shouldn't be like this" kind of problem?

 

Good questions: I'm sure it would be an issue at certain low temperatures but it doesn't prohibit me from doing the day to day stuff I do with the cooker.

But honestly, I don't think that's the point. Cookers are designed to move air through the vents. Not between the dome and the base. If a new car came with windows that didn't roll up the last quarter of an inch, we wouldn't say "but you can still get where you need to go, right?" No, we'd fix it just because it's not performing like it's supposed to. 

 

In this case, the biggest issue (like PB said) is after spending months trying to fix the problem, they bailed out and tried to say they "designed the grill to leak" instead of being honest about having no solution. I would not have like it but would have been fine had they owned it and said something like saying "We don't have any mechanism in place to make micro adjustments to the lid/dome, but we will get to work on it and let you know when we have a solution. We are sorry for the inconvenience, but thank you for bringing it to our attention. Please accept this t-shirt as a thank you from your friends at Weber...oh, oh really?...ok, I'm sorry we don't carry size 3X in men's t-shirts...man, this is embarrassing...can I send you a rib rack instead? OK, great. That will be there next week. Thank you for calling Weber."

:-)

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On 8/10/2017 at 6:39 PM, ckreef said:

Great video as always. I liked that you not only highlighted the strengths but also the weaknesses. And if anyone thinks you're affiliated with Weber they just need to watch the smoke leak section.

 

 

Thanks. I debated whether or not to put that in there but if their official stance is "we designed this to leak here" I'm probably doing them a favor (one way or another) by letting other people know. 

 

Plus, it was part of my experience with the grill. If I want people to trust me, I have to share the good and the bad. 

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27 minutes ago, Baby Back Maniac said:

 

Good questions: I'm sure it would be an issue at certain low temperatures but it doesn't prohibit me from doing the day to day stuff I do with the cooker.

But honestly, I don't think that's the point. Cookers are designed to move air through the vents. Not between the dome and the base. If a new car came with windows that didn't roll up the last quarter of an inch, we wouldn't say "but you can still get where you need to go, right?" No, we'd fix it just because it's not performing like it's supposed to. 

 

:-)

 

In this case, I think it IS the point.  If a car manufacturer made all of their cars where the window doesn't go all the way up, the expectations of one model having that feature would be unwarranted in my opinion.  Weber doesn't make any charcoal grills that are air tight between the dome and the base.  None of the weber kettles I have or have had are air tight.  This one apparently isn't either but the expectation is that it should be.  Maybe that is an unwarranted expectation based on all their other products.

 

THIS grill is probably far MORE airtight between the dome and the base than any other weber charcoal grill out there.. wouldn't you agree?

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1 hour ago, John Setzler said:

 

In this case, I think it IS the point.  If a car manufacturer made all of their cars where the window doesn't go all the way up, the expectations of one model having that feature would be unwarranted in my opinion.  Weber doesn't make any charcoal grills that are air tight between the dome and the base.  None of the weber kettles I have or have had are air tight.  This one apparently isn't either but the expectation is that it should be.  Maybe that is an unwarranted expectation based on all their other products.

 

THIS grill is probably far MORE airtight between the dome and the base than any other weber charcoal grill out there.. wouldn't you agree?

 

Yeah, absolutely.  it's definitely more air tight that any other Weber charcoal grill out there.  But it's also a totally different insulated design that requires tighter air control than any other Weber charcoal cooker out there...that's why it's the only one that has a gasket.  

 

To be clear, my concern isn't that the gasket leaks a little. My concern is that there is an alignment issue that never gave it a chance to seal it as intended in the first place...and not like all ceramics where they may leak but you feel like if you just keep messing with it, you can get it close enough. There is no way to micro adjust the lid so it never lines up totally flush (at least I think that's the issue).  

Since Weber hasn't come up with a work around, they just back peddled out of the situation and said "I meant to do that" instead of "We'll take a closer look at this and get back to you down the road." And now hearing from a subscriber about how Weber has since started sending out replacement domes to fix the problem. So it seems like after they told me it wasn't a problem, they started looking for ways to fix the very problem they said I wasn't having. 

 

Honestly, the whole thing was so surreal compared to my interactions in the past. I used to call in and get people who were grilling enthusiast and Weber die hards. Even the first 2 calls about this I made early on where good experiences even if I didn't get the answer I wanted yet.  In contrast, this felt like a typical call center where the person was reading from a script and didn't have any hands on experience at all. I'm just not used to that from Weber. 

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With the addition of a gasket the goal was to have a leak free dome/base seal and they should make it so otherwise why put a gasket to begin with. 

 

 If there was no gasket to begin with you could understand  their "way it was designed" argument. 

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Loved the video......so has Weber contacted you since it came out?   I would think it would have lit a fire user their butt....or was it low and slow and we now have pulled pork?   

 

Your videos are great and helped me choose my grill.  Thanks Justin!  

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Nice to hear candid statements. Well done.

 

First run models, of anything IMO, have been historically fraught with glitches.

 

Everything from here on is my opinion/guesswork.

 

Homework was done. Probably. Results Incorporated. Maybe some.

 

Too many times a good design gets trumped up by cost. 

 

CS and their reaction. Obviously not ready nor became ready to effectively work with you.

 

Will look for the outcome.

 

 

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Interesting wrinkle on this. Was at the hardware store and saw a version without the table for $1500. So basically the Big Joe/BGE XL discounted. Would definitely make me think on this if I was looking at getting a larger grill

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Thanks for the video BBM.  I can certainly relate to many parts of your presentation.  I have a Keg and absolutely agree with the over insulation, not as much with the Akorn Jr.  I've had many of the Weber products in the past including their 26" Kettle which was an amazing cooker made even better with a few mods and accessories.

The smoke leak would aggravate me as well.  Probably a heavier cast top vent would have solved the problem giving more weight to the lid.  This would give more compression to the gasket.  I added gasket material to the lids of my kettles just to improve LNS cooks.  That worked great until our winters.  Did the same thing with the bottom of the WSM as well.  

Not sure that I'm convinced the air insulation would work all that well in my windy winter climate but otherwise I'd love to cook on a Summit.  

I would suspect Weber may have had the benefit of TVWBB  to assist them in their research.  They certainly do know how to repurpose their tooling.  The leg sockets would likely be a result of combing certain manufacturing processes used for their kettles just like the bottom vent and the ash collection method.  

I am curious to know how the fuel consumption compares to a Kamado?  I noticed a huge difference switching to the Keg from the kettles and the WSM.  I do suspect the Keg uses even less than a ceramic cooker for the reasons you mentioned.

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