Man And His BBQ: A Study In The Cheap Vs Quality Debate

man and his bbq - fbI should have known better, I really should have.

Two years ago, our old barbeque finally died. When I say died, I mean it literally fell apart.  It served us well for many years, cooked hundreds of burgers, much chicken, racks of ribs and even the occasional rib eye. Many of it’s original parts had been replaced but this time it was truly cooked and as a result, would never cook again.

So my wife and I went shopping for a new ‘que.  I won’t say what store we went to but it’s favourite colour is orange and its initials are heavy duty.  We parked, went inside, and as soon as the automatic doors swooshed behind us…I saw it right at the front of the store, a glorious sight.

DOOR CRASHER SPECIAL!  FOUR BURNER BARBEQUE WITH SIDE BURNER! SALE PRICE – ONLY $189.00. LIMITED TIME OFFER!

I know, I know, I should have known better. Yes, the metal on this BBQ was thinner than the one I was throwing out. No, I had never heard of the manufacturer before. Yes, I should have realized that there was a reason this BBQ cost a third of what my old one did fifteen years ago. But it was blue. And shiny. It had four burners. And it only cost $189.00.

I bought it.

The next signs of trouble came when I was assembling it. When you are assembling a BBQ, you shouldn’t have to worry about it’s metal frame bending in your bare hands. The side panels of this BBQ could have easily been mistaken for tin foil. But they were shiny. The next warning signal came when we fired it up. The grills on my new BBQ were some sort of plated, razor thin things that warped the first time we used them. And sure, there were a couple of flakes of black metal-plastic stuff peppering our chicken that night. But if you rinsed your mouth with enough cold beer, it was hardly noticeable.

Then, I started “investing” in sunken cost expenses in an attempt to validate my stupid purchase. I bought some stainless steel grills from a different manufacturer to replace the garbage ones. I bought multiple barbeque lighters when the internal one failed after three uses. I bought cans of blue high heat paint as the original crap peeled off. I bought replacement burners by the case.

Last week it died. When I say died, I mean it literally fell apart. It had served us poorly for less than two years, cooked a couple of burgers, three chicken wings, no ribs and one skinny fast fry pork chop. It had been repaired so many times that it looked like something out of a Tim Burton movie. I put it out of its misery.

So last night, my wife and I went shopping for a new ‘que. We went to several stores, shopped around, and did our homework. We spent over $800 on a quality three burner unit. And I’m okay with that.

Lesson learned.

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