Weber Lumin Electric Grill Review: Is It Better Than Gas or Charcoal?
Jun 21, 2023
Don’t roll your eyes just yet.
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For my entire adult life, I have wanted a grill. There was just one problem: Living in New York City apartments meant I couldn’t have one. When I moved to Austin a few years ago, I thought a grill would come with it, but it didn’t, My condo has several balconies, but my partner, an avid rule-follower, was extremely against letting me add a propane set up to one (everyone else was doing it anyway!).
I think I must’ve worn her down, because a few months ago, she finally caved. Needless to say, I began my hunt for the perfect grill immediately. But, as things like this tend to go, fate took hold. Weber launched a new grill, and the brand wanted to know if I’d like to test it. There was just one catch: “It’s electric,” the email read.
Let’s take a minute and back up. I am not a hyper-masculine guy. I drive a VW Golf in Texas, surrounded by Ford F-150s, and my partner handles most of the cockroaches we find around. With that said, an electric grill sounded like a breaking point. I mean, isn’t the whole point of grilling to cook over fire?
This is the sentiment I got from any friend I asked. But there was one more addition: If any brand could do it, it’d be Weber, many of them added. So I decided to test the grill out, for science. I thought it would be the perfect compromise — I could have a grill and my partner wouldn’t have to worry about me burning down our home. Well, after using it for a month, I’m happy to report that I’ve compromised very little.
To buy: Weber Lumin Electric Grill, $479 at weber.com
The Weber Lumin is fairly compact and rightfully so. It was designed for apartment dwellers, after all. Measuring 12- by 26- by 19-inches total with the lid closed, and providing 242 square inches of cooking surface, it is able to fit on an outdoor table easily. It is powered by electricity, and there is a little pack you insert into the grill, and then plug into the outlet. It takes a little getting used to tiptoeing around extension cords instead of lighting briquettes, but once you’ve done it a few times, it feels (somewhat) normal.
My main concern with the grill was that it wouldn’t get hot enough. I began to feel better once it arrived and I realized that the grates were made of cast iron. Once I fired it up (or plugged it in), it was able to reach 600°F in about fifteen minutes. Needless to say, I was impressed. And when I saw the sear on the carne asada I threw on it, I was even more impressed: perfect grill marks.
Food & Wine / Daniel Modlin
Of course, your food won’t be imbued with the same charcoal flavoring you’d get with a charcoal grill, but if you were going to go the propane route, this is eerily similar. There are some cool added features here, too. Beyond grill grates, the Lumin also comes with a reversible tray for smoking and steaming, so in theory you could smoke a portion of brisket in it if you wanted to.
But, of course, there are a few issues with the grill. The first is that it isn’t quite tall enough to fit a beer-can chicken, so I still have to use my oven for that. The second is that you have to keep it clean. Grease and marinade seep into the grill naturally, but unlike a propane grill that will turn this to bits, you’re working with a heated coil, which means if you don’t clean the interior on a semi-regular basis, you end up with a lot of smoke. Overall, cleaning it is fairly easy to do, but worth mentioning.
Food & Wine / Daniel Modlin
So far, I’ve been nothing but impressed. I’ve made carne asada, cedar plank salmon, grilled chicken (I wanted to make beer-can chicken but had to pivot), lamb chops, and I’ve even soaked some peaches in bourbon and threw them on the grill for a flame-kissed dessert. Everything has been delicious, and while I’m grilling, I tend to forget I’m cooking on an electric grill (until my dog starts playing with the extension cord).
All in all, the Lumin does what it’s supposed to do, and does it well. Is it the smoker of your dreams? Probably not. But life, relationships, and cooking is about compromises. And this is a pretty great one to make, if you want my opinion.
At the time of publishing, the price was $479.To buy: