The Evolution of the Charcoal Grill

The Evolution of the Charcoal Grill

The Summit Charcoal® is Weber’s most advanced charcoal grill to date. The propane gas ignition system paired with the Rapidfire® damper will get your charcoal started and ready to cook in as little as 15-20 minutes. The porcelain-enameled, air-insulated, double-walled, hinged lid and bowl will keep your grill hot even in the coldest of winters. Add the double-walled diffuser plate and your grill just became a smoker large enough to hold eight racks of ribs. This isn’t the grill you want, this is the grill you NEED! To better understand the Summit Charcoal Grill®, let’s take a look back through the family tree to see how Weber’s greatest charcoal grill came to be.

Original Kettle, 1952 

We begin back in 1952 when George Stephen turned a buoy into the famous kettle known and loved around the world. This kettle included a lid, which at the time, had never been seen before. People grilled on “open braziers” which was essentially a pit of charcoal with a cooking grate on top. There was no way to control temperature and if weather conditions were less than perfect, you weren’t grilling anything that day. With the addition of the lid, George discovered a new set of challenges, fire needs oxygen. George found that if you drilled holes into the bowl and lid, you could create air flow that would keep your coals burning. He quickly added the adjustable damper which could control the temperature of the coals by opening or closing.

Custom Bar-B-Q Kettle, 1956

George didn’t invent the wheel with this grill, but he did add them in 1956 with the Custom Bar-B-Q kettle which made the Kettle easy to move. George was all about making the grilling experience easy for everyone, from start to finish. Which is why he added the triangle ash catcher underneath the bowl which later evolved into the One-Touch™ cleaning system with enclosed ash catcher.

The Seville, 1963

Ask anyone who knew him and they would tell you George was the life of the party and was always entertaining people. Everyone loved to stand around and watch that amazing kettle go to work, which is why Weber released the Seville which included a side table. This type of design can be later seen in 1990 with the introduction of the Performer series. Now you could center everything around your grill by placing food and drinks on the table right next to it. This really emulated the social element of backyard grilling that was a founding principle of George Stephen.

One-Touch Plus, 1987

Now if you were to ask our Grill Master, Kevin Kolman, what the two most important things are in grilling, he would tell you “time and temperature.” When using the kettle it was hard to gauge the temperature, which could lead to burnt food or even undercooked food. So, in 1987 we decided to add a thermometer to the lid with the One-Touch Plus, making it easy to tell how hot your grill was.

Gourmet BBQ System, 2011 

Fast forward 24 years and you have the latest Weber creation, the Gourmet BBQ System™. Remove the center grate and use the griddle to make French toast for breakfast, the Wok for a stir fry lunch and the Sear grate for your steak dinner. The Gourmet BBQ System™ was designed to turn your Weber from a backyard grill, to a backyard kitchen that could prepare every meal of the day. George would have loved the idea of being able to prepare breakfast, lunch and dinner on his Weber, making the backyard experience an all-day event.

As you look through the family tree you can see how even the smallest of details were not overlooked. Some of these innovations were ahead of their time, which made them revolutionary. Every small aspect adds to the overall Weber experience and is vital to every Weber grill. From the damper system invented in 1952, to the Gourmet BBQ System™ in 2011, you can see how the evolution of the charcoal grill has led to Weber’s greatest charcoal grill of all time. The Summit Charcoal is Weber’s most versatile charcoal grill ever created. This truly is the one stop shop grill, from simple burgers ready to serve in a few minutes, to beautiful pull apart pork shoulder, smoked for 12 hours, this grill can do it all. The Summit Charcoal®, known as “the beast” by some, but “incredible” to all. 

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