Every year cooks worldwide take the difficult decision to toss out their old kettle barbecue grills. It’s a tough call that’s cushioned only by the possibility of refreshing with latest & greatest bbq grill model. Who doesn’t want that shiny new cooking toy perched proudly in the yard? That piece of equipment makes the effort worthwhile — along with great food of course! So what’s a cook to do when faced with the inevitable realization that our amazing old grill is past its prime?
Make that amazing old grill an incredible high-heat, outdoor cooking machine!
Heat is one of the most important, yet misunderstood ingredients available to cooks. It’s the stuff everything is made of to one degree or another. Master this essential element and you’ll have one indispensable understanding on tap. Most of our home appliances don’t produce nearly enough heat output for professional-level cooking. Take your meal prep outside and your odds are much better. It’s more common that our barbecue grills are designed for higher heat that what’s safe to achieve indoors.
High is certainly a relative term when we’re talking about cooking. Take an infrared thermometer reading of a hot cast iron pan on kitchen range’s high setting, and I’ll do the same. Let’s compare notes. We’ll reach different temperatures without a doubt. The same holds true for our outdoor cooking appliances. Whether fueled by natural hardwood charcoal, propane or natural gas, even infrared — heat output, transfer, and absorption vary. One way professional chefs manage cooking heat in their kitchens is to have more BTU power on hand than will ever likely be needed. I wanted something similar available to me at home. I found it in my amazing old grill, and 1 simple addition.
Remember, just like the air that gives your favorite homemade pizza dough its baked, crusty goodness, heat is an ingredient. Curious, yes, but ingredients nevertheless. And as with any recipe ingredient, one of the worst feelings faced by cooks is finding that you’re about to run out. Now embrace for a moment the cringeworthy thought of running short on heat energy. I don’t know about you, but just the thought makes me want to run and dial up my range burners and measure each & every BTU! Not to worry when it comes to that aging kettle grill at the ready in the yard. Just drop in a high output propane burner and you’ll have pro-level BTUs ready when you need them.
At 220,000 BTUs you’re ready for just about anything.
Inside the Weber kettle is a 220k BTU (yes you read that right!) 14″ propane burner I bought with the intention of making it a standalone wok burner. Once it arrived and I unpacked it, I realized that I needed a sturdy stand with proper height to accommodate my wok cooking expert imitation. At that very moment, something drew my attention to my old kettle grill that had been part of the family for over a decade. I dropped the 14″ burner inside the kettle base and wouldn’t you know; it fit perfectly! I mean a really perfect fit. As if the burner was made specifically to bring new life to an aging Weber kettle. I completed the conversion with the kettle ring from my Weber rotisserie attachment and topped it all of with Weber’s hinged wok grate. As for the wok itself, definitely keep it simple and go all steel like this beauty. Skip wood or plastic wok handles. Absolutely skip nonstick coated woks. Wok station perfection.
Want to know more about the conversion or how it performs? Catch me in the comments. I can talk about this stuff all day!* I've included links to relevant products that I hope you find useful. Please know that If you click a product link and subsequently buy from my associate, they may give me a commission. Thank you!