A GRILL FOR CONDO-DWELLING BAR-B-Q ENTHUSIASTS
© 2009 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
As one who lives in a high rise Florida condominium where gas and charcoal grills are forbidden by law, I find the availability of quality electric grills to be disappointing. Florida, Arizona and California probably lead in such condo-dwellings, but yet try to purchase an electric grill there, it’s near impossible!
In recent years I’ve located and tested a few electric models found on the web. Unfortunately, all were disappointing, including a well-known celebrity brand.
Recently, Weber introduced the Q 140, a moderately priced compact electric grill patterned after their Q Series gas models. This grill features an easily removable aluminum bowl liner that can be lined with foil to make clean up a snap (figure A); a stainless steel rod cooking grate that creates perfect sear marks and is dishwasher safe; 1560 (2000 European model) watts of heat created from two coils that are uniquely configured into six exposed rods that create the most even heat surface I’ve ever experienced in an electric grill (figure A); an over-sized, replaceable grease catch pan that eliminates the mess after the cooking experience. (You can also line this with foil and extend the replacement life of the disposable pan); cast aluminum construction, stainless steal and plastic throughout prevents rust and makes the unit very light weight. The lid has a built-in heat retention liner that reflects the heat back to the food being cooked. This also acts as somewhat of an insulator keeping the heat contained while minimizing the heat on the outer lid surface, a feature not often found on other grills. A multi-adjustable thermostat allows for a variety of heat settings.
Unfortunately, very few factory options are available. While the catalog refers to numerous such items for the “Q” Series, they’re actually referring to non-electric models only. I would like to see a griddle made available. Weber does offer an inexpensive model 6507 rolling cart ($55.00). Since the Q 140 is so compact I found the Rubbermaid # 7085 storage cabinet to work well too ($89.00). The grill nicely sets on the cabinet surface, and is easily stored and protected from the elements on the enclosed shelves below. While not supplied, casters can easily be added by the handy do-it-yourselfer. As for a griddle, several name brands are available. The trick is finding one small enough to fit the cooking grate. The thickness of such griddles prevents keeping the lid closed, thus much heat is lost in the cooking process. While a bit clumsy, I found the Emerileware cast iron reversible grill/griddle to work reasonably well ($35.00). When using any griddle attachment extreme caution should be taken, as the griddle, as well as the Q 140, will be very hot long after the food is cooked and the unit is shut off.
My overall experience was exceptionally good. The grill is extremely well built and virtually rust resistant. It’s very compact and heats up fast and evenly. Clean up is very quick due to the easily accessible and removable parts. I give it three thumbs up, my highest rating. The Q 140 should be typically a retailer item, but be prepared to special order it as I could not locate this model in stock at numerous Weber dealers I visited. Weber has an on-line store, but this item is not a selectable item. They do show a phone number, 800.446.1071 as an alternative to on-line ordering. Amazon U. S. and UK* do list this model. *A 220/240-VAC model is available for the European market. More details available at: weber.com. The Q 140, a well kept secret well worth the effort to locate it!
U. S. MSRP: $279.00
Weber and Q are registered trademarks of Weber-Stephen Products Company
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or twitter.com/bskidmore.