It all started with a vertical offset Brinkmann Trailmaster. It was used, but it worked like a charm. That was the inception of barbecue mayhem in my life and outdoor cooking in general. I’ve been blown away by the world of ‘Q ever since. Before then, I used a cheap ‘Backyard Grill’ grill from Wal-Mart to simply grill as I had never smoked meat before.
My first ‘big boy’ grill was a STOK drum grill that is sold at Target. This baby was over $30 off from the original price ($130) and I was more than happy to plop down the cash for it. I fell in love with it for its cast iron grates and the charcoal basket it had. When I received my first Weber kettle, the red limited edition kettle, the STOK was admittedly pushed to the side, but the cast iron grates are still used, and I have managed to use the charcoal basket from the STOK as a vortex-style accessory for the kettle, so its grill-lines (alternative to bloodlines?) still runs deep in my cookware use.
I added the 36″ Blackstone Griddle to my arsenal in August 2017. I never thought I would enjoy any type of gas grilling, but the Blackstone is the exception to that belief. I absolutely love it. From cheesesteaks to tacos to quesadillas to grilled cheese to pancakes to stir-fry to smashburgers to searing steaks, it does it all.
In April 2019, I added the 17″ Blackstone tabletop griddle to my little outdoor cooking ‘family’. I wanted it for small, quick meals. Sure, I could simply use the 36″ for those same small meals, but on the 36″ I feel like even if I use only one part of the griddle, I have to clean the entire unit after each cook, not to mention the 17″ is easier to carry around for traveling.
I have three smokers that I use in rotation nowadays, as of August 2018. I have a 22.5″ Weber Smokey Mountain that can hold more food than what meets the eye when you first see it, and then I have two Barrel House Cookers — the 14″ and the 18″. I use the Barrel House Cookers more often due to using less charcoal compared to the WSM (the WSM is an absolute charcoal hog; nothing wrong with that, but if you aren’t doing huge cooks then you are wasting charcoal).