REVIEW: Grill Mate 34000 BTU BBQ Zellers
I bought the Grill Mate 34000 BTU BBQ at Zellers two weeks ago. I do not like it very much. It simply does not meet my froogalism standard of saving money and getting more with less.
Here is what I do like about it:
Small Size – I know some people really like a big barbecue. Some BBQs take up so much space that it really makes me wonder. Some BBQs are capable of cooking about sixty or more burgers at a time. Who eats that many burgers? I guess there are some people who entertain regularly who have a need for cooking sixty burgers at a time. My little BBQ could probably cook about twenty at one time. As far as I’m concerned, the other forty can sit and enjoy a beer or two while I cook up the other forty. Everyone eats at different speeds anyways. The slow eaters can get served first. The fast eaters can get served last. In the end (like in driving), we’ll all arrive at a full stomach (or our destination when driving) at about the ame time. It’s how you get there that matters.
Quality of the finish – The Grill Mate 34000 BTU BBQ looks like it could last. It seems to be finished quite nicely. There are no glaring deficiencies here.
Now we get to what I don’t like about it. The list is not huge, but it is significant enough for me to not recommend this BBQ. Here is the list:
Assembly Time – I consider myself to be a slightly-above-average-skill-level-guy when it comes to putting things together (it seems everything needs to be assembled by us nowadays). Most IKEA stuff, I’m pretty good at, for example. This BBQ took me a full three hours to assemble. This is just way too long to expect anyone to assemble any product by themselves. This simply is not reasonable. This thing had about a million pieces and an instruction manual that was very ambiguous at points (people who are not good at product assembly BEWARE!).
It Burns Too Hot – The Grill Mate 34000 BTU BBQ does have a heat level adjustment, but it just doesn’t seem to work. It always burns on high. You have to keep the lid open to cook anything at a temperature below maximum but this screws up your cooking times. It has been hot in Toronto recently, but not enough that my BBQ shouldn’t cool to a lower temperature when I turn down the gas.
No Below Rack for Coals – My old BBQ (god bless its rusty little self) had a second rack underneath which you could put coals on. This added a great deal of flavour to what I was cooking. None of the models that I looked at while shopping for a BBQ Q had this feature (maybe it is too costly for the manufacturer?, maybe there is no demand for it anymore?) , but I do miss this option very much.
No front storage basket – My old BBQ (a Grillmate) had a basket in the front where you could put your wire brush and your tongs and your giant fork and your miniature trident. There is no place for these essential items on the Grill Mate 34000 BTU BBQ. I miss this addition a lot. There is only a handle hole on one side where you can hang stuff like tongs.
In short, this was not a good buy. Not a terrible buy, but not a good one up to froogalism standards. I will use it (with the lid up), and use it for as many years as I can (as I juggle my BBQ utensils in the air as I cook – I never learned how to juggle, so maybe this is a good thing). I simply can’t recommend this product – 3 out 5 froogalism stars.
CLICK HERE FOR AN IMPORTANT RATING UPDATE of the Grill Mate 34000 BTU BBQ! (August 1st, 2011)
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Grill Mate 34000 BTU BBQ
I'm right with you on this one, Seamus. Three out of five stars. The finish is good, the size is good. They could have taken this product to the next level - but they didn't.
Grill Mate 34000 BTU BBQ
I agree with much of what you said in your review, froogalist. It does burn hot and it is a real bugger to put together. The finish does look good, though. It seems well constructed yet poorly designed. I can't fail it, but I can't give it a glowing review either. Now is the time to buy BBQs, by the way. Sales are beginning to happen.
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