The word “gas” (or charcoal) grills get people’s attention, and Weber is the king of gas grills. The Weber Spirit II E-310 grill is a top seller on Amazon, with over 2000 customer reviews giving it 4.8 out of 5 stars. I bought one to see for myself if this grill deserves its amazing reputation.
Let’s start with the assembly, which was easy. The propane tank installation however was a bit confusing (see picture). But I’m not an expert in gas grills so this may be standard.
As soon as I opened the box I noticed two things:
1) This is an awesome looking grill
2) There is a lot of packaging material.
The Weber box was wrapped in plastic, and the whole thing was wrapped in styrofoam that was held together with thick, heavy-duty plastic bands. I think that this was, by far, the most packaging that I have ever seen with a product.
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The Spirit ll E-310 (the difference between the Spirit II line and the older Spirit line is that the new grills come in an E-series model which has electronic ignition instead.) Before you even touch it you can feel its quality. It is enormous! It weighs 60 pounds, so be prepared to lift it out of any car or SUV carefully. When you open up one side of the box, you can see how Weber designed these things to ship well:
When you get past all those Styro packing tapes. I think I could have used this stuff to build an entire room! But thankfully all that extra packaging ensures that your grill will be safe & sound during shipment.
After taking everything out of the box it’s time to put up some of those nice stainless steel legs (yay!). The front part of these legs has a cool weber logo laser etched into them- very classy! Bolting them to the bottom side of the cart was easy though it would have been easier if they had just come with flat head bolts instead of nuts & bolts. I had to use a wrench & vise grips to get some of them on tight because those nuts were pretty tight.
I don’t think the legs are necessary actually, but they look nice and give you something to rest your hot grill on when it’s cooking!
The E-310 comes with a porcelain-enameled cast-iron cooking grate (pretty typical for a grill at this price), and an integrated thermometer: It has a “low” mark that pops up at 250°F, which is about where I like to keep my barbeque while smoking meat. Normally the cheaper grills only have high temp & off markings, so I liked that Weber went ahead and added the low mark.
Another cool feature was the rubber feet that helped the grill grip my patio surface well.
The E-310 is supposed to be a major step up from Weber’s previous electric grills (the e-210, e-220, and e-320) so they made sure to pack it with extra features for safety & ease of use: It has spring-loaded casters on the bottom for easy moving around, and an electrical cord with a hinged cover so you don’t have to worry about accidentally disassembling your plug end when moving it. The top handle folds down so you can move it safely without getting burned or hot oil spilling out.
I wasn’t able t o test these out yet because I just got this grill, but it has a high & low side burner, as well as a built-in “Rotisserie Kit” which is supposed to be super easy to use:
The rotisserie kit works with either an optional spit rod that looks like this: Or you can thread your own spit rod through the base of the grill and do without the kit:
I’m very excited about being able to smoke some hams on my own for Easter. I’ve always been intimidated by hearing from other pitmasters that “grilling a ham is real easy”. I’ll just slap some rub on it and slap it right on the grate? Right… I usually end up cooking these things too long or not smoking them properly, and they come out so hard they could be a weapon. So I’m ready to break in the Weber with some low & slow hickory-smoked ham goodness!
Weber makes it easy to access the control panel on top of the grill. It’s sealed tight by stainless steel screws, and then slides out toward you to reveal the controls:
You can adjust your heat setting (Low = 130°F, Medium = 200°F, High= 300°F), turn the rotisserie on or off, turn on the side burner (which has a closed valve) set up a timer for cooking duration/done-ness or start your charcoal chimney. It also shows you what temperature you have it at as well as the current time. Speaking of temperature, the grill says it can cook at 325°F which should be enough to get this ham done right. I’ll cut a small hole in the foil so that the smoke and heat can escape while keeping moisture on the hams as much as possible. Of course there are vents all over this thing to control airflow:
This is something you’re going to need for sure if you have veggies or meat smoking at low & slow temperatures! The lid seal isn’t airtight and could leak smoke out of your vents if not properly sealed (the video also shows how Weber has designed a way to close off these holes so you don’t lose too much heat when searing!).
The side burner looks neat, but I don’t really see too much use for it. If I have to heat things up quickly I’ll just use the grill – if it’s something that takes 3-5 hours then perhaps this would be a good feature, but I’m not sure because I do all my slow cooking in the smoker and don’t plan on grilling hotdogs or steaks outside during cookouts.
Now let’s take a look at that awesome porcelain enameled cast iron cooking grate:
I don’t know which part of this thing is supposed to be nonstick, but judging by all the tasty residue from its first maiden voyage, there isn’t any! This thing gets sticky when you rub sauce & oil onto it like crazy so you can easily get your meat to stick to the grate.
I was really excited about this gas-enhanced sear feature, but when I tried it out with a ribeye steak, there wasn’t much difference between non-seared and seared sides:
You can see that on both sides of the steak, they were nice & charred! You can also tell the difference in the coloration of them on each side as well;
Searing gives you that awesome Maillard reaction going on where all sorts of flavors are being released into your fryolators and smokies from all sides of the meat that normally wouldn’t be able to reach those temperatures if cooking at low & slow. It’s definitely worth doing when you have some spare time (not during competition because you have to turn the meat so much and can’t leave it unattended for very long).
Now, this is something I’ve never seen in a grill before… It has a removable stainless steel hood that must be attached with some sort of sealant around all 4 sides. In theory, Weber claims this is supposed to eliminate smoke from entering the outer chamber when grilling (a charcoal grill without the proper ventilation could fill up with smoke quickly). But unfortunately, there are too many holes on this thing and not enough insulation in between to really make a difference 🙁
I wish Weber would just seal off all those holes and add another layer of insulation underneath! This stainless steel flap overhang isn’t doing its job correctly either:
Even when closed, you can still see smoke coming out of the holes in between. I suspect that the main purpose of this system is to act as a shield for wind, which is very useful during the competition (unless you nail your first turn then chuck everything into the trash can).
Next up, let’s have a look at the rotisserie spit assembly:
This is definitely a nice feature if you like to barbecue chicken, turkey, & other fowl! You could use it to cook slabs of ribs or tri-tips too.
During testing, it took me around 50 minutes to get up to the temperature and ready for cooking. This was with charcoal filled all the way up in the bottom of the unit and no ventilation holes open at all; so even when using gas (and yes it does work very well with propane as long as you have enough wind protection), quite a bit of charcoal was still needed to fill out that base layer before
Design and Build Quality
So far, I’ve covered a lot of the good points about this grill. One area that it is lacking in slightly is its build quality and design. When your lid handle gets so hot that it melts after only one use, then there’s something wrong! If you notice on all those photos above, Weber has put a warning label right next to the ignition button stating not to touch the polycarbonate plastic shell when hot. You must also avoid touching any of the handles when they are on because they can get quite uncomfortable during use – we’re not talking blister-inducing levels here, but if you accidentally brush against them with your hand or forearm while tending to other duties like adding charcoal or smoking meat/fish/poultry, you may be a bit irritated.
If you have the rotisserie assembly connected, then there’s even more potential to burn yourself while putting it together or taking apart:
You could easily get burnt from this if not careful! So please make sure when you are assembling/disassembling, that you don’t accidentally touch the metal parts of the spit with your hands. Turning on the propane gas-enhanced sear feature may also cause burning because it will be so hot during use; I can imagine Weber should offer some sort of glove for users who like to use this function a lot.
All in all, weber does need to improve their build quality and design just slightly, but they do sacrifice certain things to keep costs down which is why this grill is priced at about $1000+ less than some of its competitors. Speaking of price, the Weber Spirit II E-310 retails above $500 on Amazon and comes with a 5-year warranty!
So, how well does it really perform? I grilled up a few chickens to test out the sear feature:
The chicken was super juicy on the inside and perfectly charred on the outside! Just look at those marks along with all that smokey flavor from slowly cooking over those low & slow smoking wood pellets (a mix of Cherry & Hickory). Unfortunately, because you have to open up that back cover in order to adjust your burners just slightly, you are exposing the food directly to heat which is not a good idea especially when cooking chicken, meat, or fish.
However, you can also use this grill to smoke with indirect heat at low temperatures for a long time! I did the following test using Cherry and Hickory pellets in my
Traeger smoker box:
The internal temperature of the Traeger smoker box was around 175 F after 2 hours of smoking. The food tasted great afterward so you can expect similar results from Weber’s built-in smoker box if you fill it up halfway with lighter fluid/water (or wood pellets). If you need even more smoke flavor, just light some newspaper underneath that firepot area and let the flames lick up the underside of your grill. You will get tons of acrid smoke in no time which will help to impart a good amount of flavor into your food.
Just like the Smokey Joe, you can also use this grill to make a quick hot dog or hamburger cook without even firing up the burners:
After only 2 minutes on that hot grill surface, my dogs were tasting so much better than those microwaved steam table ones at Costco! You can leave the lid open if you want because there’s no heat coming off from that burner area, but don’t forget to check back every few seconds just in case for flare-ups.
So all in all, with proper usage and some skillful grilling techniques, you can easily cook quite delicious food on this Weber Spirit II E-310. I would not recommend it for smoking, indirect cooking, or searing food (due to the hot surface area) in order to prevent the food from being exposed directly to heat for too long. I also wouldn’t recommend it for fish/seafood because they are quite delicate and you will need a lot of skill in order to avoid overcooking them, which is why I would only recommend this grill if you plan on doing some chicken & beef.
Pro Tips: If you’re planning on using lighter fluid or wood pellets as your heat source for smoking/indirect cooking purposes, make sure that you use a large bucket or trash bag underneath to catch any accidental drip burns. Use aluminum foil under your Traeger smoker box while cooking so that it doesn’t rust over time.
Ease of Use
The instruction manual for the Weber Spirit II E-310 does a great job of explaining how to use this grill:
Here is a simple demonstration of how you can light up the burners using the small circular igniters as well.
Again, use extreme caution when playing with fire because if you aren’t paying attention, you might end up burning yourself pretty badly. If you end up getting burnt, just immediately run inside and put some ice on it to keep it from being too swollen or red so that medical doctors can easily tell if the burn is superficial or not.
Check out this video which shows how to clean the ash (or “crackling” as they call it) that accumulates inside the grill. You can also take off the burners for cleaning!
Also, check out this article about how to properly lubricate your grill hinges and door latches so that you don’t have any trouble opening up or closing down your grill in the future.
I usually don’t find myself washing my Weber kettle grills too often since they’re made of stainless steel, but if you plan on eating something that left a sticky residue (e.g., mangoes or peaches), then you definitely have to wash it off. As a survivalist, I usually try to avoid leaving sticky stuff on my cooking tools since they can attract all sorts of dirt and dust over time which might harbor bacteria if not properly cleaned.
If you plan on doing some low & slow smoking along with moderate searing/grilling, then I would recommend getting a different grill such as the Weber Smokey Mountain or some sort of pellet smoker. If you’re going to be using only one burner, then I also wouldn’t recommend buying this E-310 grill since it’ll be too hard to control heat and temperature on the other burners from such a limited range of power levels. In order to use it properly, I would actually recommend at least 20 feet of range when using the burners on this grill because they won’t be able to crank up high enough for proper searing/grilling if you’re crowded in by trees or buildings.
The Weber Spirit II E-310 is a pretty decent grill overall (compared to other Weber grills that I’ve used), but be careful about using it if you want to do any sort of smoking or searing/grilling. You’ll need to move the food around a lot so that they don’t touch the heating element directly for a long period of time, which can be difficult since this grill doesn’t have too much range in terms of temperature. The only good thing about this grill is that it has some good space and you can cook a lot of food at once, but for me, I’ll just stick to the pellet smoker or the Smokey Mountain if I want to do low & slow smoking with moderate searing/grilling.
Also, if you’re serious about learning how to smoke/grill, then I would definitely check out the BBQ Pit Boys’ videos on YouTube which teach you the proper way of using an offset smoker and a pellet grill, even giving specific tips on how to season your grill. If you want to just get right into grilling or smoking without having to do a lot of research, then I would definitely recommend buying a pellet grill or an offset smoker since they’re easier to use than charcoal grills.
Ease of Cleanup
The cleaning process is pretty simple since all it involves is taking off the burners and scraping off any remaining ashes if you want. You’ll have to use some long-handled tools in order to scrape out the ashes because they’re too deep for a regular spatula or grilling tongs.
Alternatives to the Spirit II E-31 00
If you’d like something cheaper that also uses propane, then I would recommend going with the Weber Q 300 or the Weber Original Kettle Premium. They’re both pretty similar to this grill, but they’ll cost less and their materials are all made out of aluminum instead of stainless steel. The only problem is that they have smaller grills (300 sq. in.) and they’re not as sturdy, but I’m willing to make this tradeoff if it means getting a cheaper grill with similar features.
Overall, if you’re thinking about purchasing this grill, then I would definitely recommend it so long as you’re willing to use the sear burner and smoker box properly. Just remember that you’ll have to move the food around a lot since they can easily touch the heating element on one side for a long period of time. It’s also a pretty decent grill overall, especially when you consider the price. It’s a lot cheaper than other charcoal grills in the same class, but the quality and features are pretty similar. It has enough space for cooking food for huge parties and family gatherings, but it’ll also cook well enough on its own if you’re having a small get-together with 10 or so friends and family. For me, it’s a good compromise between space efficiency, portability, and affordability.
That’s all I have for you guys and gals today, thanks for reading my Weber Spirit II E-310 review! Hope it helped you to learn more about this grill before you finally pull the trigger! This is truly a great grill that can be had at a pretty affordable price considering its key features (sear burner, built-in smoker box).
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Check out this great guide to find your next portable grill table.
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