The Charcoal @WeberGrills Go-Anywhere- Theorizing The Evolution Of Portable Charcoal Grilling From The Cast Iron Hibachi

The Weber Go-Anywhere has been around for a while.

Read this excellent post detailing the history of the Go-Anywhere on the Weber Kettle Club Website-

Weber GO Anywhere History

 

This history article was researched and put together by Weber Kettle Club forum member Neil_VT00

 

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If you look at the timeline, the rectangular portable Go-Anywhere was introduced in 1979 and not a whole lot has changed since then.

What I think is genius about it and how it advanced portable charcoal cooking was how it differentiated from the popularity of the open cast iron hibachi.

Cast iron hibachis were popular in the 60s.  They are heavy, they require maintenance to avoid rusting and they are open topped which limits the type of cooking to direct grilling.

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My guess is that the engineers that designed the Weber Charcoal Go-Anywhere took on all of these issues by making it out of their porcelain coated steel to avoid rust issues and be a whole lot lighter to transport.

The Lodge Sportsman Cast Iron Grill has roots dating back to 1941.  It’s heavy, it requires maintenance to keep from rusting and again, it does not have a lid.

I’m not saying they are not interesting or fun to cook on.  I’m just saying the Weber Go-Anywhere is a whole lot more versatile.

When you light up a bunch of coals on an open hibachi you need to be cognizant of factors such as wind and how much time you have. The coals don’t get snuffed out quickly as there is not lid or vents to regulate air needed to sustain the coals being lit.

Here’s my Lodge Sportsman grill/hibachi on action at the dock-

On the Go-Anywhere the legs flip up and lock the vented lid to the base making it easy to transport.  It can also be used to smoke on a small scale and regulate air flow with the vents on the bottom and in the lid.  With a traditional hibachi you’re pretty much limited to open grilling.

Here are a couple of the other cast iron hibachis that I’ve collected-

Queen Hibachi Japan

Cast Iron Bull Hibachi

Lodge Sportsman vs Weber Go-Anywhere: Pros and Cons

First off I should say that I don’t own a Lodge Sportsman although I’ve been wanting to cook on one.  The only thing that’s been holding me back from purchasing one is the lack of space and knowing that the cast iron construction would likely be completely rusted as I cook on my Weber’s all the time and the Sportsman wouldn’t get enough use to stay greasy and seasoned properly.

In this post I will attempt to point out perceived pros and cons vs a grill I know fairly well, the Weber Go-Anywhere.

Lodge Sportsman

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Weber Go-Anywhere

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If you own the Lodge Sportsman grill or Weber Go-Anywhere I’d love to hear your opinions on this review and how you agree or disagree.

One thing I’m interested in hearing about the Sportsman is if the bottom vent really controls the heat.  The entire top is open without a lid or top vents so it doesn’t seem to me like opening or closing the bottom vent on the Sportsman is going to have a dramatic effect on temps.

The Go-Anywhere and it’s porcelain are obviously much easier to clean than the cast iron Sportsman and less susceptible to rust.

The Go-Anywhere’s vents can be completely closed down to snuff out coals while the Sportsman you would need to find a way to safely remove and contain the coals before moving it around.

The Go-Anywhere’s legs that lock over the lid to keep the entire grill together for transporting make it easier than the Sportsman that tilts to one side when lifting by it’s handle.  The Go-Anywhere weighs much less making it more portable.

I’m guessing the Sportsman’s cast iron grates leave better sear marks than the Go-Anywhere.  The Go-anywhere can be used to smoke small amounts of food by adjusting the vents with it’s lid on while the Sportsman pretty much limits you to grilling or using it to cook with a cast iron pan on top.  The sport’s man does not have a lip along it’s top edge making it more even to put a cast iron pan on for cooking while the Go anywhere’s grate sits down in a groove which makes cast iron pan cooking on it doable but less even.

I know people that love their grills really love their grills.  I’m really interested to hear from Sportsman fans about what I might be missing or wrong about in this comparison.

Tell me some things that the Sportsman can do that I haven’t considered better than the Go-Anywhere.

Here’s cooking a revers sear steak and sausages on the Weber Go-Anywhere-

 

 

 

Stuffed and Breaded Chicken On The @WeberGrills Go-Anywhere

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Mix sour cream, parmesan cheese, basil paste, feta and sun dried tomatos for the stuffing.

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Roll 1/4 inch thick EVOO coated chicken breast (pound flat between two pieces of wax paper) around the stuffing, secure with toothpicks then coat with Italian bread crumbs.

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I used a deflector plate.  Under which I put a half a Weber chimney of lit coals on the opposite side of the grill where the chicken would go.  Vents all wide open.

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Cook for 25 minutes until chicken is golden brown.

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@WeberGrills Charcoal Go-Anywhere Indirect Chicken Wing Set-Up

This is how I set up my charcoal Weber Go-Anywhere for high heat indirect cooking.  Here we cook a full package of chicken wings offset the coals using tin foil and a foil tray to catch the drippings.

Link for the foil trays that fit perfectly inside the Go Anywhere at this link

(120 Pack) Premium 2-LB Takeout Pans with LIDS l Standard 8.6″ x 6.1″ x 2″ l Top Choice Aluminum Foil

Technique for perfectly cooked steaks on the @WeberGrills Go-Anywhere

Perfect grill for reverse searing a couple strip steaks.

What I’ve learned in grilling steaks is that it’s not necessary to sear the fuck out of them right from the get go. In fact the steaks don’t have to be on the grates from start to finish. Best results having the coals to one side, vents half way open and let thick cut steaks come up to about 20 degrees from desired temp offset the coals then take the steak completely off the grill for at least five minutes. Open all the vents get the coals glowing and then place them back on the grill over the coals. Criss cross hash marks and probing with instant read thermometer til 5 degrees from desired temp. Rest again. Done perfectly.

Weber Charcoal Go-Anywhere Lid Temp Test

Here are my unscientific findings on a reverse sear ribeye test.  The reason for the test is because I modified on of my Charcoal Weber Go-Anywhere grills with top lid vent knobs.  The knobs are rated up to 400 degrees.

Not having any idea how hot the lid would get I tested on a WGA that did no have the knobs installed, in case the lid got so hot it would ruin perfectly good knobs.

I left both bottom vents wide open, the top vent over the coals closed and the top vent on the opposite side wide open.

This is the grill I modified with the addition of the top vent knobs-

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About a quarter of a chimney of coals and 12 coals on the charcoal grate will be the amount of coals we are using.

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Lid temp before dumping the lit coals 82 degrees F

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After dumping the coals, the temp of the lit coals registered 975 degrees F

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Here’s the WGA set up for the reverse sear.

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Four minutes with lid closed 387 degrees F

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Fifteen minutes with lid closed 469 degrees F lid temp.  $451 degrees grill grate temp.

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Finit.  (No whale butter dishes were harmed during testing)

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I think that if I use a washer between the knob which has a metal threaded insert and the vent tab that it will work out fine.  I plan to test tomorrow with the modded unit.

Here’s a link to purchase the knobs on Amazon-

https://amzn.to/2KcL5hF
Product description
Strength, durability, and heat resistance are some of the benefits of this broad range of phenolic handle. Extremely versatile range of mountings. Female insert machined to suit. Mounting type: female insert. Thread length/depth: 3/8″. Mounting diameter and threads per inch: 1/4-20. Plastic material: thermoset; insert material: brass. Measures 7/8″ diameter by 2-41/64″ height.

And a link showing the mod directions-

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill Vent Knob Mod

 

Weber Go-Anywhere Charcoal Grill Vent Knob Mod

Here’s a link to purchase the knobs on Amazon-

https://amzn.to/2KcL5hF
Product description
Strength, durability, and heat resistance are some of the benefits of this broad range of phenolic handle. Extremely versatile range of mountings. Female insert machined to suit. Mounting type: female insert. Thread length/depth: 3/8″. Mounting diameter and threads per inch: 1/4-20. Plastic material: thermoset; insert material: brass. Measures 7/8″ diameter by 2-41/64″ height.

Smoked and Braised Beef Shanks on the @WeberGrills Go-Anywhere Grill

Set up the Weber Go-Anywhere for indirect smoking with a drip pan on one side under the deflector plate slot and 7 or so lit coals in the opposite corner with a bunch of unlit coals.

Purchase the BBQube deflector plate here It makes the small Weber Go-Anywhere into a perfectly capable charcoal sipping machine.  This whole cook might have used 25-30 briquettes and there were plenty left over to go longer!

A simple rub of black pepper, salt, garlic powder.

Place a cup of beef broth, sliced up red bell pepper, sliced up half onion, and pepperoni rings in the drip pan

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Goal is smoking the beef shanks for about an hour and a half between 250-275 to get color and smoke.

Wrapped the deflector plate in foil for easy clean up.

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Placed beef shanks over the side of the grill that has the slot for the drip pan and the remote temp probe in the middle of the grill.

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After an hour and a half at 250 the shanks had the color I wanted and were probing internal temps of 150 degrees F.  Pulled out the drip pan and placed the beef shanks with the beef stock and veggies in it and wrapped in foil to braise for another hour and a half.

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After an hour and a half braising all of the hard connective tissues and sinewy renders down into delicious tender fat for flavor and the bone marrow renders into the beef stock as well creating an intense beefy deliciousness.

Time to take it out-

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Time to eat!

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BBQube DEFLECTOR DEMO FOR WEBER GO-ANYWHERE

Link to purchase the heat deflector plate on Amazon- https://amzn.to/2DW5Hqw

Link to purchase the aluminum drip trays/ to go containers on Amazon- https://amzn.to/2DWsse4

They are so versatile. I use them on my kettles and also in my airfryer.