Purists will tell you they prefer charcoal to gas because it infuses meat with a smoky flavor. What they leave out is the fine print: the dirty (and time-consuming) work of preparing the coals. That’s why we’re such big fans of Weber’s Performer Platinum: you get the flavor benefit of cooking with charcoal without the hassle. The Platinum accomplishes this feat by incorporating a propane bottle and push-button ignition. No more chimneys, lighter fluid, or matches—you just flip the switch, wait for the charcoal to cherry, and get to grilling. Weber stuck with the same porcelain-lined kettle it has used since 1951, but it made cleanup easier by adding a detachable ash-catchment system. The whole unit is embedded in a rolling table big enough to accommodate a large cutting board—a perk that makes it easier to sous-chef while flipping steaks. And that bin beneath the table? For charcoal ... or beer.
BOTTOM LINE: Solidly built, though a touch overpriced. If you want the taste of charcoal and the ease of gas, however, it’s worth the expense.