4.8 stars – based on 98 reviews at Amazon.com
On first glance the Weber Performer charcoal grill series strikes you as being glorified version of the Weber One Touch series.
However, explore this barbecue a while and you will realize that although it essentially is a kettle grill, it also offers a compelling set of additional features.
There are 3 models in this series - the Performer Silver, Performer Gold and the Performer Platinum.
Each model in Weber Performer charcoal grill range has a cooking area of 363 square inches (that is a 22.5 inch diameter bowl).
The bowl itself is coated, like many of Weber’s products, in a porcelain enameled shell - applied at a temperature of around 1500 degrees Fahrenheit. This makes it highly resistant to wear.
The Performer also includes Weber’s One Touch cleaning system and sealed ash catcher. The ash catcher stops excess ash from blowing around your backyard, while the one touch system makes cleaning easy.
Each has a table, which on the Silver model is fold down.
Locking casters provide extra stability, while a thermometer in the lid of the bowl allows you to monitor the cooking temperature for true barbecuing and smoking.
In addition, the Performer has several features that further aid you in the cooking process.
The thermoset table provides a decent amount of room for preparing food while the bottom wire shelf is useful for storing cooking implements, plates and cutlery or whatever.
Weber has also included two charcoal baskets that hold the correct amount of fuel for indirect cooking. These can then be placed under the grill. The grill has a hinged edge that allows you to add extra briquettes to extend cooking time.
Like some of the One Touch models it has a lid holder, though the design is better and feels more solid.
The Gold and Platinum versions of the Weber Performer charcoal grill have a handy removable cooking timer include a charcoal Bin for charcoal storage. This can hold something like 20 pounds of charcoal and is highly resistant to the elements, and should keep your charcoal dry in all weathers.
To my mind the best feature of the Weber Performer platinum grill is the gas ignition system. It consists of a small disposable gas bottle which lights a burner, which in turn lights the charcoal.
As soon as the charcoal is lit, turn off the gas.
I'm a big fan of the charcoal chimney for lighting charcoal, but this system is infinitely easier, and lights the coals more quickly, more evenly, and makes it easier to reuse partially burnt charcoal.
Tip: if you have unspent coals left after cooking is finished put the lid back and close the vents, and they will go out. The remainder can be reused next time - you'll be surprised how much charcoal is saved.
Reading around, not everyone thinks the Weber Performer is good value at $300 - $430 (for the "Touch and Go" gas ignition upgrade on the Platinum model) for what is a charcoal grill at the end of the day - even if it does light at the touch of the button.
But reviews from people who have owned one for a while are almost universally glowing, usually citing the gas ignition upgrade as the most pleasing feature, even though it costs an extra $120.
After a whole summer of grilling with hassle free lighting of charcoal with less waste, maybe you'll agree?
The bottom line is, the Weber Performer charcoal grill is expensive for a charcoal BBQ grill, but as always with Weber, build quality and useful features are what you pay for. So you get a great, easy to use grill that will give years of service.
If the price is putting you off, maybe the One Touch kettle grill, at nearer $100, will be for you.
Check out more shopping guides for charcoal grills