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Weber Spirit II gas barbecue review

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Published: July 6, 2020 at 2:49 pm
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Thinking of making the switch from a charcoal to a gas BBQ? Read our review of the mid-range Spirit II from barbecue market leader, Weber, to see whether it's worth the investment.

Weber Spirit II E-220 GBS Gas Barbecue

Pros:

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  • Excellent temperature control
  • Prestige brand
  • Quick preheating
  • Great cooking results
  • Stylish aesthetic
  • Versatile

Cons: 

  • Assembly time
  • Difficult to move around
  • Bulky

Star rating: 4.25/5 

Also available from: 
Weber (£628.95)

Read our round-up of the best gas barbecues

In a nutshell: A barbecue that ticks the boxes for beginners and grill fanatics alike, this is a surprisingly approachable product with impressive grill quality, straightforward functionality, good finished results and lots of cooking possibilities.

How easy is the Weber Spirit II to assemble?

The Weber came in a compact box with the main shell of the barbecue clear to see upon unboxing. However, there are lots of parts - laid out on the floor, they took up the best part of a dining room, meaning the unpacking itself took around 20 minutes.

In total, it took 1 hour and 45 minutes to put together, from opening the box through to full construction. We felt this was a little on the long side compared to other barbecues of similar quality and build.

However, the length of time wasn’t down to confusion or any poor instructions – the manual was very clear. The illustrations were good and the build was relatively straightforward, with a few head-scratching moments when connecting more complicated areas like the gas connectors and wires.

Weber Spirit II barbecue unboxed

The only tools required were a rubber mallet, 7/16” spanner and a phillips head screwdriver. Even the small component parts, like the bolts and screws, were of a high standard. Every part of the Weber feels premium, right down to the tiny details.

How easy is the Weber Spirit II to move around?

The Spirit II has wheels on one side, which means you have to tilt it to move it around (this isn't the case with the more expensive Weber Genesis range, which has products with four wheels).

While the two wheels are large, strong and robust with very little wobbling, it takes a little practice to move it around. However, this two-wheel design did mean the barbecue felt very secure when planted on its two non-wheeled legs.

It was quite awkward to manouevre. It's not the most straightforward to grip onto since the barbecue has ‘wings’ (one featuring the side burner, the other was a shelf to put ingredients etc on) that can be lowered for storage, so these movable parts were difficult to grip hold of.

Despite this being a hefty grill, the weight wasn’t an issue, rather the shape of the barbecue. While lots of the design gives the Spirit II many benefits, they were actually a hindrance when moving it around.

A simple handle (or if the shelves were fixed) would have solved the problem. The wheels themselves trundled nicely and scored highly.

Weber Spirit II gas barbecue in a garden setting

Is the Weber Spirit II easy to store?

This is a large barbecue that’s tall and broad. With the lid closed, the barbecue dimensions are 113cm height x 122cm width x 69cm depth, making it a fairly bulky piece of equipment that requires a large area to park up once both shelves are erected.

You’ll need a large shed to accommodate it, but due to the aforementioned cumbersome portability, it might be better to store it under a cover. The Weber branded covers are expensive but essential to protect the barbecue from the weather if you’re going to leave it outdoors.

How easy is the Weber Spirit II to use?

Even if you're brand new to the art of using a gas barbecue, the Weber Spirit II is intuitive from the start. Moreover, since Weber is such a leading brand, there are plenty of online resources, including video guides to set-up, connecting gas and cooking.

Using the regulator to connect the gas was very straightforward, with no complicated elements (we used standard patio gas, sold separately).

The gas bottle sits beside the barbecue either on the floor or perched on a small bracket held on by a strap – while this kept the bottle out of the way, it wasn’t as secure as it sitting on a whole shelf.

The barbecue took around 15 minutes to come up to the desired temperature. The temperature control is very good and the well-designed, tactile and sturdy knobs were easy to turn.

The size of the cooking surface was large (51 x 46cm) – this is a two burner barbecue suitable for cooking for around four people.

Close-up of a Weber Spirit II gas barbecue grill

The grill material itself was a quality, coated black metal and were in straight lines, with a circular ‘Gourmet BBQ System’ (GBS) panel in the middle which is unique to Weber.

Here, the circular grate can be lifted out and various Weber cooking accessories placed into the slot, including a chicken roaster, wok, dutch oven and pizza stone. This immediately boosts the versatility of the Spirit II, although the branded add-ons can be expensive.

Adding the circular GBS grill plate in a different direction to the main plate means you can effectively achieve a distinct chequerboard design on your charred food, if you’re looking for a particularly professional looking finish.

The height of the grill is relatively high but still suitable for a broad height range. However, those of a shorter stature will have to strain to reach over the grill to get to the handle when the lid is up.

The ignition is operated using a simple button that’s next to the large, easy grip knobs. These knobs are very firmly in place with no wobbling. Ignition was instant with no repetitive clicking required.

The temperature control is superlative. The thermometer on the lid of the barbecue is handy and in a prominent position for easy-reading. There were no annoying heat spots and the cook was very consistent, speedy and foolproof.

Food being cooked on a Weber Spirit II gas barbecue

The warming shelf is well placed above the grill, far enough away from the heat source to prevent the food from sizzling, although you don't want to leave it there for too long.

The two side shelves are useful for storing ingredients, drinks and tools, plus they fold down for storage, but this made it difficult to wheel the barbecue as they were too wobbly to grip when erected (as detailed above).

The porcelain enamelled hood in trademark Weber black is glossy and strong, made from a thick protected metal, without being too heavy to lift, which is an ideal balance of engineering.

The quality of the heat retention meant that having the hood down made cooking of traditional barbecue ingredients like chicken wings and burgers very speedy.

The wheels are very sturdy and turn nicely. We found some of the four-wheel barbecues we tested were easier to manouevre than the Weber, which needs to be lifted on one side and tilted to pull it along.

There is no lock system as such, but it’s very difficult to move the barbecue when it’s static as the barbecue has to be wheeled on an angle due to the two wheel system.

Weber Spirit II gas barbecue in a garden

Is the Weber Spirit II easy to clean?

The enamelled barbecue grates are easy to remove and can be wiped clean or cooked in soapy water very easily. They clean up well and charred food remnants can be scrubbed off without using too much force.

The food we cooked had no excess fat and the grease had effectively dripped into the silver tray, meaning there was no grease overspill the the finished food was crisp. However, the parts that lead into the fat receptacle (which looks not dissimilar to a silver takeaway tray) are a little finicky and more difficult to take apart and clean than on other barbecues.

Cooking results

Our barbecue food cooked efficiently (around 15 minutes for chicken wings, 20 minutes for sausages and 3-5 minutes for halloumi cheese). This is where gas barbecues win versus charcoal – there is no inconsistent heat or dipping of temperature so food can be on the table very quickly.

The food itself was charred and caramelised, with crisp skin on the chicken, glossy, succulent sausages and charred halloumi with dramatic grill lines.

Apart from the very outer edges of the barbecue, there were very few cool spots. As with most barbecues there are slight fluctuations depending on how close the food is to the gas burners, but particularly when the hood is down the heat circulation was very good.

Food being cooked on a Weber Spirit II

Is the Weber Spirit II good value for money?

Weber sits at the premium end of the barbecue market but for good reason – their grills are not only reliable and robust, they offer a very enjoyable and straightforward cooking experience with lots of opportunities to upgrade and add accessories (although they all have high price tags – even the barbecue cover costs more than covers from equivalent barbecue brands).

However, for results and versatility, it scores very highly. It’s also more affordable than Weber's Genesis range – their ultra-premium gas range.

The build quality of the Spirit II is impressive, both in terms of the individual components as well as the finished construction. When it's parked, lit and in action, it feels very sturdy.

Our only quibbles would be how cumbersome it is to move around and the takeaway dish style grease receptacle. While this style of grease dish is standard on a gas barbecue, it's not in-keeping with the high quality of the rest of the Spirit II.

Does the Weber Spirit II come with any accessories?

The Spirit II comes with a gas regulator so you can affix your patio gas and go. There were no tools like spatulas or tongs included, but they can be ordered separately.

The accessories available on the Weber website will massively appeal to grill lovers and the opportunity to level-up and cook a huge range of food is one massive bonus of Weber products. This is why there is such brand-loyalty to this titan of the BBQ world that’s reputation is justifiably spotless.

Also available from: 
Weber (£628.95)

Weber Spirit II star ratings:

Assembly: 3.5/5
Ease of use: 4/5
Value for money: 4.5/5
Cooking results: 5/5

Overall star rating: 4.25/5 

Read our round-up of the best gas barbecues

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