The Weber Performer Platinum is a great choice for those who like charcoal-grilled foods but want the most convenience possible. Its defining feature is a gas-powered ignition system; you simply turn on the gas to get it started, and then turn it off after a short time to commence cooking. While you will certainly see cheaper charcoal grills on the market, none make grilling so simple.
Iconic and versatile. The Weber charcoal grill is the most successful product of its type ever made, according to About.com's grilling pro Derrick Riches, who adds that the Performer Platinum is the top-end version of this "iconic" grill. He notes it is capable of many types of cooking, a sentiment echoed by users. For example, one user says it produces "some of the best flavored meats I've had off a BBQ," while another notes that the grill "produces wonderful flavor." Other users report great success with beef and fish, with one home griller commenting that steaks and hamburgers taste "amazing."
Unbeatable convenience features. Reviewers praise the Weber Performer Platinum's gas-powered ignition, which they say eliminates the need for lighter fluid and makes the model easy to operate: You simply turn the gas on to power up the grill, and then turn it off to start cooking. Other noted features include a large workspace, an easy-rolling cart and a pullout charcoal-storage bin. Moreover, one user says cleaning couldn't be easier. We found very few complaints about this grill's convenience, although most users say the digital timer is sort of pointless, that it falls off when you open the grill and is not a necessary accessory.
Easy cooking with no safety worries. In reviewing user feedback, we found no comments involving safety problems or concerns with the Weber Performer Platinum. Instead, most users appear to feel very comfortable and confident when starting up and cooking on this grill. One user notes that the lid seals "magnificently" so that charcoals extinguish even before they turn to ash. The owner's manual specifies several steps that should be taken when operating the grill, which include lifting the lid before lighting (to prevent a gas build-up) and avoiding the use of flammable liquids or self-lighting charcoal, which can lead to severe injuries.
Lots for the money. Although the Weber Performer Platinum is expensive compared to some charcoal grills of the same capacity, it is far cheaper than the top-rated Big Green Egg. This price difference, coupled with a convenient gas-powered ignition, makes the grill a great buy, users say. About.com's Derrick Riches recommends buying it "If you have the money to spend and want it all." The grill's warranty is 10 years on the cleaning system, worktable, bowl, lid and handle, and two years on remaining parts.
1. Cook's Illustrated Magazine
Cook's Illustrated editors rate seven charcoal grills according to grilling performance, heat retention while barbequing, cleanup, and quality of construction. Quick grilling and slow barbequing are both considered, and the comparative test includes a variety of foods.
Review: Charcoal Grills, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, May/June 2013
About 185 users award the Performer Platinum an average 4.8 stars out of 5. They say it's easy to assemble and use, starts easily and heats quickly. It's praised for the taste it imparts to food. The only consistent complaint is that the digital timer is pointless.
Review: Weber Performer Platinum Charcoal Grill, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2014
The Weber Performer Platinum earns a perfect 5-stars-out-of-5 rating in about 20 reviews. Owners say it's extremely easy to assemble and use, and all foods turn out perfectly. The electronic starter and sturdy table get particular praise.
Review: Weber Performer Platinum 22-1/2 in. Charcoal Grill in Green, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of April 2014
About.com's guide to grill, Derrick Riches, names the Weber Performer Platinum as one of his top charcoal-grill picks, praising its full range of features. He also notes it's one of the most successful grills ever made. There is no mention of product testing.
Review: Top 10 Charcoal Grills, Derrick Riches, Not Dated