Charcoal grills are great cooking appliances that you can use in your backyard while cooking in the open air.
This PK360 vs Weber Performer Premium grill comparison is all about the best charcoal grills.
There are many different recipes that you can cook with charcoal grills.
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Because of their versatility, you can customize the charcoal grills to cook in a different style, like smoking.
PK Grills have been producing many grill models, and because the first ones were very successful, they tend to stick onto one design or capsule, but they do function pretty well.
Weber is one of the top companies in the charcoal grill industry. They also have released many models that you can choose from, and all of them are perfect for almost any recipe you cook.
I have chosen the Performer grill from Weber and the PK360 grill model from Pk Grills since they are almost the same size for this review. That way, we’ll compare more about the features.
So if you want to know more about the details of these grills, then you should read on. This will also help and guide you on which grill you should choose according to your preferences.
Setting Up The Grills
The grills from both companies come in pretty much assembled. There are no special tools or professional experiences needed to set them up and be ready to cook.
Within 15 minutes of the setup process, you can start cooking with the grills. These grills have their legs or stand, so you do not even have to get a table or a DIY table for them.
Once the PK360 grill arrived at my house, I was able to cook with it within minutes. The only thing I had to deal with was tightening screws, so they do not fall off.
Such screws are the ones on the flaps or the side tables of the grill. The grill capsule is pretty sturdy, so you do not need to attend to it; just secure the place you put the grill on.
The center of gravity on the stand of this grill is pretty narrow since it only has one leg with a base that is just as wide as the grill capsule. So you need to place it somewhere steady.
Simply leaning on the side table can easily topple down the grill. So I do not suggest putting heavy foods on the side tables unless you balance the weight on the other side table.
The Weber Performance was no hassle at all. It comes with a wide table and stands that support all the weight of the grill and the table, so it hardly wobbles or tilts sideways.
I find it more comfortable to place heavy objects on the side table of the Performer grill. It can take up weight from pots that are full of food and the tools that you will need for cooking.
Build And Material
Now that we start comparing the two grills with this section. There are many charcoal grills on the market, and they usually have the same type of materials used to make them.
With these two grills, both can add benefits to the cooking experience just by the materials used. They do differ in build and design and materials, so that is what we’ll compare.
The PK360, just like the other models from PK Grills, is made out of thick aluminum. It looks like heavy-duty stainless steel, but it is all aluminum for a specific purpose.
The thick aluminum build helps in retaining the heat inside the grill capsule. Aluminum is four times faster to absorb heat which means that it also helps conserve the charcoal fuel you use.
It also does not rust as easily as stainless steel, so I like this about the grill. The Performer grill, on the other hand, uses stainless steel with a special coating to absorb heat.
The Performer grill has a porcelain-enameled lid and bowl. This allows the grill to distribute the heat evenly while also protecting the steel from rust, peel-off, and cracking.
You can see the same difference on the stands of the grills. I would say I prefer the PK360 in this category because it has a sturdier look to it, and it feels durable when used.
This section will discuss the stands and how well they can help in storing or moving the whole grill around. This is also what makes a grill great for the outdoors.
The PK360 does have wheels on its stand, but they are pretty small. The wheels can also only travel over hard and flat surfaces like concrete, wood, or tiles because of the small build.
This grill only has two wheels, so you need to tilt or lift the grill sideways so you can use the wheels. What I like about them is that they do stand firm even without locks.
The Weber Performer comes with a great stand with larger wheels. That means that you can bring it over rougher terrains like grass, gravel, and even wet ground with the large wheels.
There are also two other smaller wheels on the front of the grill, which is great for maneuvering the grill when you travel with it. The stand does take up a lot of space, so it is not that portable.
You can bring both of these grills on tailgating trips or camping. However, I prefer the Performer grill because it has a more reliable stand over rough and uneven terrain.
Here, we will get into the details of each grill and how these features can help you in cooking the best recipes that you have. That way, you will know which one is better for your activities.
Dampers Or Vents
One way to look at the cooking performance of the grills is to see how well they can control the heat inside them. This is made possible by the dampers or vents installed in the grills.
There are two vents, just like the more common grill models on the market for the Weber Performer grill. One at the bottom of the firebox and one at the top of the lid to control the temperature.
The bottom damper is all stainless steel, and you can control it using the handle that slides sideways. This either opens or closes the vents so you can make the heat go higher.
The upper damper or vent comes with holes that you can open or close to control the temperature at lower increments. This is where you set the temperature for cooking.
The same concept goes with the PK360, but it uses four dampers instead of two. Two at the bottom and two at the top so you can control the temperature and the smoke.
The four dampers allow you to control the direction of the flow of smoke and heat inside the gill. For example, close one vent at the top opposite to the fire to travel on the entire grill.
Another feature that is usually the first thing to look for when buying grills is the cooking area. This is where the cooking will happen, so it is important to know what it can offer.
The PK360 grill has a 24.8-inch cooking grate which provides 360 square inches of cooking space. You can cook a whole chicken, pork butts, whole fish, and other meals on this grill.
It uses stainless steel on the grill grate, which is pretty easy to manage. Food can get stuck on the grill grate but cleaning it is not as hard as you might think as the food slides off easily.
The Performer grill’s grate is made out of stainless steel as well. It is only 22 inches across, but since it is circular, you get 363 square inches of cooking space with this grill.
You can also edit the grill grate itself, as the middle part can be removed. You can replace the grill grate with a cast-iron skillet, pizza stone, poultry roaster, and many other grill grate inserts.
Cooking In The Grills
What I think is most important about reviewing these grills is their performance when cooking in them. These grills are powerful, but can they cook the way you want them to?
The PK360 grill is the perfect grill for smoking meat. The thick construction of the walls of the grill capsule allows it to retain heat effectively, which means you do not need too much fuel.
When I cooked in this grill, I was able to add other fuel such as wood chips to enhance the smoke. The vents helped make the smoke properly pass through the meat.
The water pan that comes with the grill was also helpful in keeping the meat juicy and tender. The grilling performance is pretty easy as it can put up enough heat to sear steaks quickly.
The Performer grill was better at grilling, however. This is because the stainless steel build made it great in retaining heat, and the food cooks from both the fire and convection heat.
This grill was also very convenient because of the tuck-away lid holder. I did not need to find a place for the lid to be as I could easily slide it on the side to manage the food.
Although you can cook pizza with the Performer grill, I prefer cooking with the PK360 grill in convection style since it has more even heat inside and there are fewer cold spots in it.
What I liked about both of these grills is the built-in analog thermometer on the lids. This made it possible for me to know what temperature the food is cooking without opening the lid.
This is important since I experienced that opening the lid slightly or even just for a few seconds causes a decent amount of heat loss from the open air, and the grills also lose convection.
If I were to choose, I would go with the Performer grill from Weber as I am not into convection cooking with grills. So it does what a grill should do with its intense and even heat.
However, the PK360 grill can also do that, and the better control of the temperature makes it hard to decide. It is better at baking or smoking because of the thick walls of the grill.
So if you want a grill that will help you cook smoked meat, then the PK360 grill is perfect for you. Again, it is all about your preferences and how well they can match the features of each grill.
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