Kenmore Elite - 2003 - 2014
01/26/14 - 12:30 Filed in: Gas Grill | Retrospective
Yesterday was a bittersweet day for me, because while it was a fun day it also marked the end of an era. The fun part was making some Breakfast Panini's on one of my Eggs in single-digit temperatures with 25 MPH wind gusts and having it not phase the EGG one bit. The sad part was because Yesterday my Kenmore Elite six burner gas grill was taken away to the junkyard. The handwriting had been on the wall for a while now, I basically had used my gas grill to cook on only twice since I got my first Big Green Egg in August 2012. Actually both of those times I used the gas grill, it was a case where I couldn't use the Big Green Egg. One time I was smoking on the Egg and needed to do some direct grilling. The other time I didn't have enough room on the Egg to fit everything I was cooking, so I fired up the gas grill to cook six ears of corn. If I had enough room, I would've done that on the Egg too. So this short blog entry will just be some reflections on the end of my gas grill era.
When I first got it back in 2003, my gas grill was everything I had ever hoped for in a grill. Right up until the time I got my first Big Green Egg I was extremely happy with it and wished it would last forever. It had six burners, so I could use up to a three-zone fire and it had 42 inches of grill real estate. I rarely had more food than I had grill area to cook it on. This was the grill was responsible for me getting serious about grilling. It had features like a smoker drawer and infrared Rotisserie burner and modular accessories that meant you could do some serious cooking on it. It had robust high-powered burners that I found allowed me to direct grill year-round even in the dead of winter. It also had the most even temperatures of any gas grill I have ever used. There were no extreme hot or cold spots anywhere across the grilling surface. This grill changed my grilling life forever. The other thing about this grill is it belongs to a category that no longer really exists: The medium priced gas grill. This grill was 2 to 3 times the price of the lower end gas grills, but still was $1000 below the price of the best Weber six burner gas grill. It had a great build quality as can be seen by the fact it lasted 11 years for me. Right after I got this Grille the price of stainless steel went up considerably, and it basically eliminated the mid-priced gas grill category. They were still mid-priced gas grills, but they were made with the inferior stainless steel used on the lower-priced gas grills. Essentially these new grills were the lower-priced gas grills with a bunch of an add-on toys: accessory hooks, grill lights, towel bars, and other things designed to trick you into thinking you were getting a deluxe product. The reality was you were paying more money to buy a cheap low-end grill with a bunch of useless bells and whistles. I saw the model of the Kenmore Elite six burner gas grill that replaced mine in 2005 and other than the knobs and the wheels they had cheapened everything else so there was no comparison between the two. My grill looked like it was built to last, the new grill looked like it was built to get it out the of showroom and after that it's life expectancy was probably quite short due to inferior materials and build quality.
That is why about four years ago, after looking at the then current mid-priced gas grills and deciding I certainly couldn't afford the most expensive Weber 6 burner gas grill, I decided to order a bunch of parts and refurbish my grill. I don't regret the extra life I got out of the grill, but sadly time was running short for this grill. There were some parts I could not replace since they were no longer made. It was beginning to show signs that there might be some gas leaks as well, never a good thing. And I couldn't get the new parts to try and fix it. The whole reason I got my Big Green Egg to start with was to try to extend the life of my gas grill and my CG Smoking Pro. Ironically the Big Green Egg was so that it shortened their lifespan. Once I started using my Big Green Egg, I never wanted to use the other two grills again because what I could do on the Big Green Egg was so much better. And the Big Green Egg performs the same whether it's 100° or 0°, something that couldn't be said for the gas grill or smoker. This past year the gas grill has served as a shiny storage cabinet for my Eggessories. I plan to replace it with some more of the outdoor cabinets I already have out in my grill gazebo to get more usable storage and workspace out by the Eggs.
So yesterday I said goodbye my gas grill. I didn't know what at the time, but essentially the goodbyes were really written a year and a half ago in August of 2012 when I got my first Big Green Egg. I will always look fondly upon that Kenmore Elite gas grill, since it is what got me serious about grilling and helped get me to the point I am at today. Moving forward everything will be done on my two large Big Green Eggs and any other future Eggs I choose to add to my grilling arsenal.
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