Erics Blog

Just an average guys thoughts

Review of the Ducane 4400

As promised, here is my review of my new grill.

I purchased this grill from Grillsdirect (Hayneedle) and after all was said and done, the price paid was $495.00 including shipping.

Arrival:
The grill arrived at 3:00 pm Friday. As others have noted, it came on a pallet. The bottom of one side of the box was damaged and I feared the worst. After going through the shipping issues, I would really have been upset if the grill arrived damaged. I ripped the box apart before the delivery person could leave to make sure there was no damage. Fortunately, there was none!

Assembly:
It took roughly one hour to assemble the grill. The instructions are nothing more than a bunch of pictures. A few pointers for those who purchase either the 3400 or the 4400.
There are 16 black bolts in one bag and 4 black bolts in another bag. All of the bolts in the 16 bolt bag are for the base/wheel installation. The 4 longer bolts are for the top of the grill.
Speaking of which, do not tighten any of the bolts for the frame until the doors are in. Also, when securing the top to the frame, place one bolt in and put the nut on just a couple of turns. Then put the other side bolt/nut in. After they are both in, then tighten them so the top is centered in the frame.
Another assembly tip, unscrew the bezel that holds the ignitor in place. Then, remove the ignitor and install the wires. Then, reinstall the ignitor. It is much easier to take it out and put it back than to try and attach those wires in a small space.

Firing up:
As I was putting the side trays on, I heard a loud bang from my garage. It appears as though the main spring for my garage door broke. I had to cut the broken piece off, re-thread the remainder of the old spring on to the new cone, and readjust the spring. This took about a half hour. Just enough time to burn in the new grill!
The grill fired right up (burners) and got to over 600 degrees in about 10 minutes. Heat doesn’t seem to be a problem.

Cooking the first meal:
The first meal was a few strip steaks. The grill cooked evenly and seared the outside and as you can see from the pictures, was cooked to perfection. My son seemed to enjoy it as it was the first thing he ate on his plate!


Second meal:
Rotisserie chicken. I put the chicken on the rotisserie, seasoned it, and let it spin for an hour and a half. The skin did not get a crispy as it did with the other grill, so, I decided to crisp it up a little by turning on the two bottom burners for 5 minutes. Do not repeat this mistake! There is no picture as the skin was burnt in a short period of time. Fortunately, the interior meat was still tender and juicy. I got lucky…again!
Third meal:
Hamburgers. I go to the meat market and get a bunch of ground chuck, add my seasonings and then place the meat in zip lock sandwich bags. One burger per bag, then freeze them. I usually have 10-15 burgers in the freezer at any given time. You never know who may show up!
I placed the frozen burgers on the grill and they cooked evenly on one side, flipped them over, cooked on the other side, flipped over again to get the “diamond pattern” on the burger, flipped over again.
Toasted the bun, and on they went. They were cooked perfectly, for me anyway, medium rare, just a pink line in the center of the burger, and were delicious.
Side burner:
Last night I made spaghetti with meatballs. As we got home a little late, and I took out too much meat for the normal number of meatballs, I had to cook two batches of meatballs. To boil the water for the pasta, I decided to use the side burner on the grill. It took about as long as it does on the stove to get the water to a boil, but, the grate on the burner is sturdy enough that when the 10 inch pot was put on it, it didn’t move around.

Cleaning:
After using the grill it was time for its first cleaning. Everything on the exterior cleaned up easily. The grates cleaned up fairly well. I may have to do a little more brushing.

Summary:
For grilling, this grill we do everything I want it to do. It is well designed (mostly, see below), easy to maintain, and after some modifications are made, will probably be the last grill for quite some time.

Issues:
The placement of the rotisserie burner ignitor.
Where the line comes out on the burner, it gets red hot when the burner is on and actually bends upward. I can see this failing in short order. As it is, the spark is very poor and I suspect that this is a wire issue as I switched the wire to several positions on the back of the ignitor. I’ll be calling Weber Monday regarding this issue.
The tube that feeds the rotisserie burner is exposed and all of the drippings land directly on it. This cannot be good in the long term. I plan on correcting this issue.

The side trays are an extra set of burners!
The side trays, as others have noted, get very hot. Too hot to touch! I have read about the heat sink modification, but, I am going to call Weber and see if they have a ready made solution for this.

Heat loss out the back.
Others have pointed this out and I plan on calling Weber to determine why they didn’t just extend the back metal piece up two inches to keep the heat in.

Planned modifications:
Depending on what Weber says, I will block off the rear panel to keep the heat in.
I will add some protection for the rotisserie burner tube.
I will add, again, depending on what Weber has to say, the heat sink modification for the side burners.
I like the way the lower portion of the grill, the drip area, is constructed and angled to the opening for the drip pan. I think that adding an inner liner of say one of those aluminum baking pans, to the bottom should keep that area from getting dirty.

As the paint has already splintered on the flavorizer bars, when I get a new set, I may convert this to a rack with lava rocks.

Favorite feature, a toss up between the drip pan and the “backstop” at the rear of the grill.

This grill is actually a little bit smaller than the Charmglow 4 burner. But, the cover still fits!

My one year review, which is overdue, will be coming out around the same time as the “Q” review.

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February 10, 2011 Posted by | Food, The Ducane 4400 | , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Running Day 14.

After yesterdays incident, I was a little concerned about today. As I awoke, my right calve is still a little tight, but there is no bruising and it has loosened up considerably. In the interest of looking toward the long-term goal, I am going to take the rest of the week off and return to the running program next Monday.

As to what caused this injury, my own stupidity! As I was in a hurry yesterday to get the run in before Marshall woke up, I didn’t bother stretching and just started running. As everything felt so good, I thought I was going to get away with it, apparently, my body had different ideas! I won’t make this mistake again!

As for the rest of the day, I have some running around, not literal running, to do and then the remainder of the day will be for rest. I think I am going to slither over to the meat market and see if they have a decent rib roast for Friday night dinner. I see the Ducane is getting “jealous” as the Q is getting the bulk of the work lately!

The Atkins diet has done its job. Although I did gain 7 pounds from the Tour de Bar, which I also noticed that the last time I had a binge, the weight gain was also 7 pounds, that weight is now gone and I am back to 225 pounds. Unfortunately, it appears as though when I took Marshall to the doctor, one of those sick kids has transmitted yet another disease to yours truly! Can the parents not read? Sick kids go on the other side of the wall, well kids go on this side!

The next entry for the running blog will be Monday, but, there should be something on the Q page.

February 10, 2011 Posted by | Running | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Tour de Bar Wrap up!

First, a special thanks to those that put this event together every year. You know who you are! πŸ™‚ Putting on my golf outing every year with only 20 people is a struggle. Getting what appeared to be over 100 riders at this years event, all on the “same page”, must not have been an easy task. Job well done guys!

As I promised the wife, I sustained no injuries…that I am aware of! The adjustments made to the bicycle early Sunday morning, helped tremendously in the overall comfort of the ride. Those adjustments would be angling the seat back one notch and, straightening out both wheels. The wheels were bent as a result of more than one crash in the previous years, and I hadn’t completely adjusted the spokes until Sunday. They are just about as straight as they are going to get.

Now, for the bad news…Apparently, either the chicken wings at Brus room or some of the food at the party contained gluten. The likely suspects could be the chili or the Quesadillas. I woke up at what I was hoping was 5:00 am….unfortunately, it was, in fact, 1:30 am! I woke up with the sweats, bloating and a burning sensation in my stomach.

Then of course, Samantha decided that this would be the time to receive some loving from her Daddy, so, no sleep has been had and I have visited the bathroom three times already this morning! Friends often ask what the big deal is with gluten. These are the after effects when I ingest gluten, and, now that I have been “clean” for two months, the effects are intensified. Not to mention, it was the first time in two weeks that I had alcohol and the ten beers and five shots probably haven’t helped the situation.

Today will be spentΒ  dealing with the effects of gluten and hopefully, it will be out of my system by Wednesday. The seven pounds gained in one day should also hopefully be gone by Wednesday. In the interest of accuracy, I stepped on the scale before I left yesterday and then again, this morning. The results were not pretty!

225 lbs. Sunday morning, 232 lbs. Monday morning. This is one of the uncharacteristic effects of gluten. Normally, true Celiac sufferers, lose weight or cannot add weight. I and as I have learned, others, gain weight..in record amounts very quickly.

As I will be hampered by the gluten issue, todays run will be canceled, which is unfortunate because the rest of my body, physically anyway, has no ill effects from the bike ride. Legs, back, none of my muscles hurt at all, so tomorrow I’ll be back to the running.

Until then…have a great day!

February 7, 2011 Posted by | Family and Friends | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Sausage on the Weber Q

As I had a hankering for some sausage, I took some out of the freezer after this mornings run. A couple, actually three, of the hot and a couple of mild. Heated up the Q and put the sausages on. I turned the burner down to low and let them cook for about 20 minutes, turning them every five minutes. I cooked them with the lid in the down position

As with everything else that has been prepared on this grill, these also came out perfect. πŸ™‚

 

February 3, 2011 Posted by | The Weber Q 200 | , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running……….Day 10 a little break!

As I was getting into bed last night, I heard a “pop” from my left knee. Immediately, it was locked up and I couldn’t straighten it completely out. 😦 After some vigorous massaging, the knee finally straightened out. I have yet to figure out, how, the mere act of getting in and out of bed, can cause so many injuries! Welcome to 50!

After yesterdays run, later in the day after I performed an inspection, both legs were sore. Both calves as well as my ankles were sore and tight. I guess this means that the running is working as I am now incorporating all of my leg muscles, which I hope, is a good thing! I applied some liberal amounts of “icy-hot” to both legs and that seemed to help. On to todays run…………………..

As there was a fog advisory, I thought I might get to postpone the run. No such luck! Although it was foggy outside, I stretched and began the run. I made the entire first lap without breathing through my mouth. I would consider that a sign that the endurance is coming along well. On the other hand, after the first lap, I began to cough violently. This is a result of one of the many “infections” transmitted to Marshall, then to me, from his daycare.

This cough has been with me for at least a good month, and is beginning to get irritating. The good news is that I began spewing up all sorts of phlegm, which hopefully, is a sign that this latest infection has run its course.

As I have to cut the lawn today, I decided to cut the run short. It takes a good 1 1/2 hours to perform all the needed tasks to properly cut the lawn, edging, blowing, hedge trimming, etc., so that should make up for the missingΒ  second lap. Tomorrow will be the first attempt to run the whole mile without stopping for stretching. I will see how that goes. Saturday will be an off day and Sunday is the “Tour de Bar”. Hopefully, the bike riding will offset the alcohol consumption. πŸ™‚

When I got on the scale this morning it read 223 lbs., which is a little bit ahead of schedule, but I’ll take it. I knew the running would eventually start to effect the weight loss, and apparently, it has. I am hoping that the weight loss will make it easier to run. I would imagine that if I meet my goal, taking 40 lbs. off should help tremendously in my effort to participate in the Disney run in October.

As for dieting, I am still on the Atkins diet and have passed the induction phase. After this weekend, I may have to go back to the induction phase, but I’ll have to see what the test strips have to say Monday morning.

Until tomorrow…………………………………………..

February 3, 2011 Posted by | Home, Running | , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running……….Day 9

I woke up this morning, and no, that isn’t the beginning verse to 50% of the blues songs written, with a little soreness and tightness in my right calf. I also have some soreness in my left ankle. Nevertheless, I felt good enough to give it a try.

After five minutes of stretching, I took off on the normal path. As the goal for this week is to get the mile time down under six minutes,I picked up the pace. Initially, there was a little discomfort in the right calf, but after about 20 feet, that went away, sort of.

After the first lap, a quick check of the clock and the 1/2 mile was covered in 3:18! Not bad!

After a little bit of stretching, time for the second lap. Apparently, picking up the pace on the first lap, affected the second lap. Fortunately, the sprint at the end may have shaved off a few seconds and the run time for lap two was 3:41. The total time was just under seven minutes, which was a little disappointing as I was shooting for 6:30 total time. Oh well, there is tomorrow!

The good news is that after some more stretching after the run, there is no pain in either leg. Also, the hip and knee pain from two weeks ago, hasn’t returned.

Next week I will be adding wind sprints to the end of each run. Ten should be good to help with the endurance. Also, next week starts “Phase 3” weightlifting! I can’t wait for that.

So far, the total weight loss is 15 pounds. I am at the goal weight, 225 lbs., that I set for the Tour de Bar. I am sure I’ll gain a few pounds from that event, but by Wednesday of next week, I should be back to 225 lbs. and hopefully, on my way to 220 lbs. and below! πŸ™‚

Till tomorrow………………………………………..

February 2, 2011 Posted by | Running | , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Running Day 7

Those of you who have been following this log, may have noticed a week missing! After last weekends trip to Disney and the subsequent 500 mile walk around Disney, my left knee was swollen and very stiff.

I didn’t think it would be a good idea to run right away, so I took a day or two off….which magically turned into a week! I’ll be back at it tonight as the swelling and pain is now completely gone. Fear not, I haven’t given up! πŸ™‚

Stay tuned…………………………………….

January 31, 2011 Posted by | Running | , , , , , | Leave a comment

Ribs on the Weber Q

As breakfast was such a raging success, I decided to further test the capabilities of the Weber Q by cooking ribs on it. Ribs, can be cooked in numerous ways and using different methods as far as marinating, seasoning, as well as cooking styles. I decided to use the tried and true method that will work for about anyone.

The first thing I did is to cut the ribs into three sections, then, place them in a pot of water. You may add any spices you wish at this point. For this particular recipe, I added no spices, barbecue sauce, or anything else. Next, turn the heat on high and bring to a boil. Boil for 5 minutes and then turn the heat down to medium or medium low. Contrary to popular belief, boiling ribs does not remove “all” of the flavor of the meat. Let the ribs simmer for a half an hour and then, shut the heat off. Let them soak for another half an hour.

Meanwhile, I had a few small pieces of wood soaking in water. There is much debate regarding soaking your wood. I prefer it. Next, I wrap the wood in foil and placed it on the left side of the burner element.

This was done to add some wood flavor to the meat as well as to add some coating to the grill itself. Over time, there will be a build up and that is when things cooked on the grill will begin to really become flavorful! I turned the burner on and waited for the “plume” of smoke to appear.

Now the grill is ready for the ribs. After soaking, the ribs are easier to cut, so, I cut them at the knuckles, which leaves you with the odd pieces and, the pieces you end up eating at restaurants. I placed the ribs on the grill and closed the lid. This should allow the smoke from the wood to penetrate the meat as well as the other flavors from the barbecue.

Should, was the operative word. It appears that in order to allow the end tables to fold into the Q, there is about a 3/4 inch gap on either side, which was allowing the smoke to escape. I had to add some aluminum foil to block the space on the left side so that the smoke would exit the right side. I may have to construct some sort of device to prevent heat loss in the future.

After an hour on low and checking the ribs frequently, it was time to add the sauce.

And finally, ready to eat! You will notice that the “odd” pieces are not present in the final presentation. They were used for taste testing!

The ribs were quite tasty. They didn’t get as much wood flavor as I had hoped, but that usually requires actual smoking and I didn’t want this to be an all day project!

All things considered, the ribs were very tender, had plenty of “natural” flavor as well as some enhanced flavors from the wood and sauce. Not quite perfect, but for the first time on a “portable” grill, not bad. I know I could never have done this on the MasterForge grill as everything would have been burnt in a 1/2 an hour.

This grill, like most Webers and Ducanes, does not have the flare ups and uneven cooking properties found in cheaper, lesser known grills. So far, the Q has performed better than expected!

One interesting thing, once the wood got hot enough to burn, it had to be moved to the center of the bowl. After it burned up, it fell directly into the catch tray! I couldn’t have planned that any better!

January 31, 2011 Posted by | The Weber Q 200 | , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Breakfast on the Weber Q!

As there was a thread regarding cooking breakfast on a barbecue grill on the BBQSource website, I decided to try this on the Weber Q. This is in part, to add to my upcoming review of the “Q”, which will be posted elsewhere on the blog in the coming weeks.

The first thing I did was to remove the regular grill and place the griddle, which was the only thing worth keeping from the old Charmglow grill, in the grill cavity. As you can see, it fit like a glove! I sprayed some Pam on the griddle just to make sure it was clean and still wouldn’t stick.

Now, to add the bacon. I cut the bacon in half and then freeze it. I eat bacon usually twice a week, and no matter where I put it in the refrigerator, it still goes bad if I store the whole package.

A quick check of the temperature, and we are off! The setting of the burner was “high”.

I closed the lid to add a little bit of flavor to the grill lid…which may come in handy for the ribs I’ll be cooking later on today! πŸ™‚

And now, time to add the eggs!

Everything came out perfect…if I do say so myself!!

Marshalls plate:

And by all accounts, he seemed to enjoy everything!

Breakfast was a complete success. This grill is quite versatile and, it was a different way to cook breakfast. And, has the advantage of not having to clean a couple of pans!

January 30, 2011 Posted by | The Weber Q 200 | , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Running Day 5…….Pain!

As there were no ill effects of yesterdays one mile run, I felt fairly confident that todays run would be much easier. Turned out, not to be the case!

The temperature was a balmy seventy degrees. The moon was full, and there was a medium fog present. As I am fighting whatever new disease Marshall has contracted, todays supplements included the addition of Echeneisha as well as two Nitrix pills. One was a good idea, the other was not!

The run began as usual, the hip issue reared its head, but within 5 seconds, I heard the familiar pop, and that pain was gone.

After the first leg of the run, my calfs began to tighten up, specifically the left one. I wear a brace that was prescribed to me by my Doctor. It is a “Unloader” brace and is supposed to take the pressure off of my damaged inner portion of my knee. I’ll have to say, so far, it is effective. Unfortunately, it requires adjustment and I would guess that this weeks running has cause my calf to grow a little bit and the lower strap that goes around my calf, was too tight. I unbuckled the strap and the tightness went away.

After the first lap, I did a light stretch in front of the house and off I went for the second lap. I made it through the second lap without any problems, except…that by this time, the Echenisha was beginning to make the return route through my throat! For the last two legs the taste in my mouth was not pleasant!

After making the final turn, the sprint to the finish was on. I made the sprint almost effortlessly. This could be due to the acclamation from running or the “boost” from the Nitrix. In any event, a successful run!

Thoughts after week one:

  1. It would appear as though I am in a little worse shape than I imagined, at least strength-wise.
  2. Endurance doesn’t seem to be a problem. After the tightness is gone, I should have no problem running any distance.
  3. The actual running portion is not nearly as bad as I expected.
  4. The supplements, particularly the Nitrix, work.
  5. It would appear, at least initially, that there have been no issues with the surgically repaired left knee. πŸ™‚

I will be taking Saturday and Sunday off…sort of….more on that later. πŸ™‚

January 21, 2011 Posted by | Running | , , , , , , | 1 Comment