BBQ Grill Review: Weber Ranch Kettle

The Weber Ranch Kettle is a beast. And this review is meant to show why the Weber Ranch Kettle Without is without a doubt one of the baddest charcoal grills out there. While we’re all pretty familiar with the standard Weber kettle BBQ grill and the tried and true Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker, there is a beast that lies deep in the heart of Weber world that demands some attention.  It’s name… is the Weber Ranch Charcoal Kettle.

Weber Ranch Kettle

Chad Ward’s Sweet Weber Ranch Kettle.

I had my first chance to see one of these beheamouths up close this past weekend at GrillsPlusMore in Lakeland, FL.  A guy showed up with a few larger BBQ related items he wanted to sell, and the Weber Ranch Kettle was among them.  True to his Bad Boy roots, Chad Ward of Whiskey Bent BBQ snatched the Weber beast up for a song and is now the proud owner of the very grill you see here.  Used no more than four or five times, it’s in near perfect condition and ready to feed the masses!

Chad – we’re all waiting for the invite to the next party you throw with this baby.

 

Chad Ward of Whiskey Bent BBQ is now the proud owner of this Weber Ranch Kettle.

Some Background on the Weber 60020 Ranch Charcoal Kettle

As you can see, the Weber Ranch Kettle is not for the meek.  It’s massive.  It was originally constructed for use by caterers and country club chefs and is actually very close in construction to the ones used in the open kitchens of the famous Weber Grill restaurants.  I did some research on the actual Weber Ranch Kettles they use at the restaurants and they’re nearly the same.  The ones you see in the photo below are modified for indoor use, and they don’t have the same porcelain coating the Weber 60020 Ranch Charcoal Kettle has, as they don’t need shielding from the elements.

Photo Credit: JanetandPhil

The chefs at Weber Grill load as much as 2000 lbs of charcoal a day, starting them in their trusty Weber chimney starters  and working the grills up to temperatures as high as 1,500 degrees F.   Think that’ll render an acceptable sear?  Each chef a the Weber Grill runs as many as three of these babies at once, keeping one for searing, one for direct, and one for indirect cooking.

Seeing these Weber grills in action is the best way to get a sense of how you might use one yourself.  Check out this clip from the Weber Grill Restaurant in Schaumburg, IL.

Features and Benefits of the Weber Ranch Charcoal Kettle

The Weber Ranch Kettle has many of the features of the more standard Weber kettle grills, most notably the porcelain finish, steel cooking grate, and disc venting system.  Where this grill stands out, of course, is in the sheer size of it.  Sporting a massive 1,104 sq. inch cooking surface, the Weber Ranch Charcoal Kettle provides a level of flexibility that goes far beyond its smaller cousins.

The fuel source, of course, is charcoal, with the ability to create multiple direct and indirect areas of heat during a single cook – given the grill’s size.  Unlike the versions used at the Weber Grill, the Ranch Kettle available to consumers is meant to handle the elements.  The porcelain enameled bowl and lid and crack-proof locking wheels and casters are meant to endure all-season cooking.

There are also some nice economy of movement features about this grill.  The tuck away lid is easy to flip up and down, as is seen in the video above, and the removable ash catcher provides easy access for cleanup.  However, one reviewer did state that you basically need a shovel to get the ash out of the base of the kettle itself.  Good news there is that you’ll be cooking on this grill for a long while before you need to get out the ash can.

Who Needs a Grill This Massive?

Simple.  Everyone!  No, really – it’s up to the individual.  If you cater, as I know Chad with Whiskey Bent BBQ does, this grill represents an indispensable addition to your arsenal of cookers.  It’s size does make it impractical for condos or smaller apartments with limited grilling area or access to the ventilation needed to operate charcoal grills.

Grilling for big groups is really what the Weber Ranch Charcoal Kettle is meant for.  While you can do solo cooks, you’re sure to be the star of the show at any large family gathering or party you throw.  (Chad, we’re still waiting for that pool party invite!)

One reviewer I came across referenced the fact that grilling for his large family and guests meant that he always ended up eating after everyone else.  I’ve been in that position with just me and my girlfriend.

Others referenced the fact that you can construct your fire off center and then spin the grate around to shift items on and off direct heat.  That’s pretty cool.  Smoking is reported to be pretty simple, as you can build up coals on either side of the grill’s base and have plenty of room in the center.

Got Ribs? You do with the Weber Ranch Kettle!

 

Weber Ranch Kettle Whole Hog – from Virtual Weber Bulletin Board

Surprisingly, many folks have stated that the grill goes fairly light on charcoal.  High heat cooking may use a couple of chimney starters or more full of charcoal, but it’s definitely possible to do a single cook on a single load of coal.   However, like the issue about having to shovel out the ashes when the time finally comes to clean out th grill, you’re probably not concerned with finishing off a bag of charcoal if this grill peaks your interest.  That’s sort of like someone who buys a Chevy Sliverado 3500 HD and complains about the fuel bill.

The grill grate on this Weber Ranch Kettle is much more robust than those on the smaller models.  Some reviewers state that they used to go through a single grate per year – reporting no rust at all after as much as two years of regular use.  That’s pretty impressive.

Price and Availability

The Weber Ranch Kettle Charcoal grill can be purchased at any number of retail or online grill and patio store locations.  At a list price of $1,499, this grill does represent a bit of an investment.  It’s not for the timid, but represents a sensible option for caterers, folks with large families who like to grill out often, or competition BBQ folks looking for an addition to their cooker collection.

Bottom line, this grill is something to point at as the envy of your friends, and with the Weber name and warranty behind it – you know it’s built to last.

Are you interested in buying this grill?  There are some good deals out there.  If so, click here to buy it for as much as 25% off from Amazon.com with FREE shipping.