How many blondes does it take to light a barbecue? That’s what I was asking myself this weekend as a friend and I were trying to spark up a piece-of-crap grill at a girls’ soiree – right before the click-click-click of the dead starter turned to the WOOF of a propane-fuelled cloud of fire. We both still had our eyebrows but as the unmistakable whiff of singed forearms hung in the evening air… followed by some painfully slow, uneven cooking… all I could think was I LOVE MY WEBER.
A humble Barbecue Bon Vivant, I grew up grilling in backyards, campgrounds, on beaches and boats. Since then I’ve grilled up great meals, made charcoal of others, enjoyed authentic southern barbecue in Memphis, Tennessee and right here in my home-town at Memphis Blues Barbeque House, a fantastic restaurant chain founded by some talented friends.
Barbecuing is like a slice of life… know what I mean? There’s something about the sauce-slathering sound of searing, the smell of the sizzle when heat and meat meet, a gathering of friends and family, a liquid libation in one hand, flipper in the other (sigh…you get the gist).
A burgeoning cooking trend fuelled by Boomers wanting better, faster and healthier, the age-old tradition of grilling has evolved into a full-on sport. One that’s clearly gender-neutral with more and more women happily wielding the tongs (and no gentlemen, we don’t really care about the BTU measurements… please pass the wine).
From cook-offs and cook-outs to grilling cookbooks, cooking shows and restaurants, barbecuing is a trend with serious traction.
Grills range from knock-off, cheap and cheerful (stand back!) models to Cadillacs complete with wood chip shelves, warming drawers, even on-board computers (whoa)… but the best known brand of outdoor barbecues in the world is Weber. “Everyman’s barbecue” so to speak, Weber is positioned as a mid to high-end, quality gas and charcoal grills with stylish, functional grilling accessories.
Whether you’re a grill greenhorn or an iron-chef Weber.com is an eye-opener:
Fun basics – tons of recipes online and emailed weekly, free downloads, shop for cookbooks, accessories/apparel, tools and replacement parts, easy registration and online manuals.
1.800.GRILLOUT – available 7 days a week/364 days a year, barbecue experts are ready to assist with grill troubleshooting, cooking tips, food prep, etc. (I test-drove it and had a great chat with Jean who told me all about the art of grilling fruit!?)
iPhone app – On the Grill is a “mobile grilling companion” with 250+ recipes, grocery lists, grilling tips and a cooking timer.
Dealer locator – an easy “where to buy” worldwide directory.
More? You won’t believe Webernation.com – “The site for real people that love their Weber grills” you can join the Weber Nation and get free, exclusive access to online grilling classes, audio/visual podcasts and forums and an interactive recipe box with other grilling fanatics (aka “Weberheads”).
All this and you haven’t even cooked on your grill yet!
HERE’S THE (STANDING O) STICKING POINT:
A full-scale Web 2.0 brand experience, Weber has created a community of close to 33,000 Facebook followers and umpteen thousand Weber Nation members sharing stories, recipes and photos.
They have made it fun to own a Weber by building a brand strategy around an interactive platform for raving fans to pitch the brand for them using positioning statements like: “Weber grill owners always say they’re the ones who truly sell our grills, and we totally agree”.
And with Weber owners posting comments like “Friends don’t let friends buy cheap barbecues”… I’d say it’s working.