I work about 300 hours a week (give or take 100) running an apparel company in Southeastern North Carolina. It doesn't leave a whole lot of time for other things, so outdoor cooking has started to take over my dad brain as it covers a number of bases:
SO WHAT ARE WE DOING HERE?
So it’s the whole dad geek gadget lust thing that has prompted a competition of sorts between 4 fire producing\containing apparatus’s and this blog series documenting it. Over the years I’ve accumulated a charcoal grill, a gas grill, a turkey fryer\seafood steamer, and a gas grill. I live in a small house and like any family of four, it just seems like no matter how hard we try to bring as little new stuff into this house, it just - keeps - multiplying. 2 or 3 of these four cookers have to go.
BRINKMAN GAS GRILL: I don’t know the name, the model, the specs, or anything like that. I do know that I bought it at Wal-Mart about 12 years ago and immediately regretted not saving up to buy a better one. The biggest complaint is the abundance of hotspots and coldspots - which is just to say that I bought this particular model because of the large grilling area - but it doesn’t matter because the heat is so unevenly distributed that you can only make use of about 50% of it. I also liked the idea that it had a side burner for pots, beans, steaming, etc. I have used that side burner exactly 0 times in 12 years.
BAYOU CLASSIC STEAMER: Full disclosure, this is really a turkey fryer that has been slightly modified to be a high volume\capacity seafood steamer. By modified, I mean that I use a pot that has an internal steaming basket that can hold up to about a peck of oysters, which is roughly 1/4 of a bushel (that's a lot of shellfish). It was the FIRST thing I bought when my wife and I bought our first house in Coastal North Carolina, and while it’s not as versatile as the Weber Kettle Grill, it has seen just as much action - particularly in the winter months when the shellfish is abundant and the pigskin is snapped. The burner base for this unit is short, so it won’t tip over, and makes it really easy to transport - so this guy has a lot of miles on it. It's basically a metal stand with a propane blower attached to it that heats a 34 quart pot - and it does that exceptionally well.