Weber Q 2800N+ BBQ review: a great gas BBQ for under $800?
Weber has revamped its popular Q range of barbecues with a fresh design incorporating several improvements. We compared the new Weber Q 2800N+ barbecue to the outgoing Q2200 Premium model to see where the key differences lay.
Consumer NZ has purchased the new Weber Q 2800N+ barbecue ($719) and accompanying Portable Cart ($200), intending to put them through their paces over the coming summer and see if this barbecue is worth the money.
In the meantime, it’s the perfect opportunity to explore the major differences between the new Q 2800N+ and the former model, the Q 2200.
I have a Weber Q Premium 2200 at my house that’s served me wonderfully over the past 5 years. I absolutely love it! It cooks superbly and even survived the time I accidentally set it on fire while roasting a chicken. How different can the new model be I wondered?
Well, as it turns out, Weber has really improved things this time around.
The first thing you notice when you line the old and new Q up next to each other is the hood. The new model has a higher domed lid that rises more steeply. That gives more space underneath, providing more room for larger roasts. The overall size of your cut of meat will be less of a concern with the 2800N+, whereas I’ve always had to think carefully about it with my current barbecue.
The second thing to take note of is the new position of the thermometer. It’s moved from the front to more on top. That makes it easier to see how the temperature is tracking when you’re standing right in front of the barbecue.
The new grill is very similar in design and a little bit larger than the old one. There’s nothing much to get you excited here. But I don’t think anyone (other than myself), has ever got excited about a barbecue grill design before.
The burner and burner controls
The key difference for the 2800N+ is the addition of a second burner. If you’re familiar with the old design, you’ll know it had a single rectangular(ish) continuous burner, which looped around the base of the barbecue.
The new burner has the same shape, but the holes are placed to make the flames shoot towards the interior along the longest sections. Weber must’ve done their homework and decided it's better for heat distribution to do it that way.
If you wanted a second burner previously, you had to fork out for the larger Family Q model.
The additional burner in the 2800N+ consists of a straight tube that runs down the centre of the barbecue. It can be run independently of the other burner, meaning you can do low-and-slow cooking (at less than 120C°), which you can’t do on the older model. The lowest temperatures I can hit with the Q 2200 start at about 150C°, but they often level out closer to 200°C on still days.
The additional burner also means you can hit some seriously high temperatures.
The first time I fired the 2800N+ up was on a windy day. My house sits on top of a hill and gets absolutely smashed by the prevailing northerly – this affects my current Weber Q to the point where some days I can’t use it. Fortunately, the new model has some serious grunt with the additional burner running, and consistently maintained over 300°C despite the wind. That opens up outdoor cooking for me in more trying conditions, albeit while burning a bit more gas.
Another difference is that the burner controls are now front facing rather than on the side. You could argue that it makes them easier to read, but I can’t say they’re either better or worse, just different.
The side tables
The biggest departure in design from old to new is that the plastic side tables no longer fold. Instead, you can attach and detach them, without tools, in a few seconds as needed.
The new system is much sturdier than the old floppy design, although the latter did let you quickly flip the tables away to store them, once the barbecue had cooled sufficiently. However, the sides then sat on the grill and inevitably got disgustingly grimy very quickly.
The detachable side tables meant I was able to quickly pop them off to clean them after cooking. But I was then left wondering where I could store them. I could bung them under the hood again, but then I’d make them dirty. I ended up biffing them into a cupboard.
My overall first impression is that I prefer the old design, purely from a convenience point of view. I do recognise, though, that the tables will keep much cleaner now, and they don’t struggle to shoulder the burden of a Pyrex dish full of sausages.
The grease pan
My favourite design change on the new Weber is the improved access to the grease pan. The old model’s pan is pretty fiddly to access – you have to reach around the side and lift it, and I’ve spilled plenty of grease when I’ve done this in the past. Weber has now moved the access to the front, where you simply pull the pan out like a drawer. It’s a huge improvement!
There’s also now a little baffle the fits above the grease pan in the 2800N+ to stop drips from the grill then splashing up on the underside of the barbecue. You clip it in place when assembling the Weber for the first time. Again, it’s a good improvement over the last one.
The new barbecue cart is sturdier than the old one. Once set up, it didn’t sway around as much.
If you’ve ever experienced the old Weber Q folding cart, you’ll know it loves to demonstrate its folding ability by collapsing when you’re moving it around. The new one, despite feeling sturdier, is no different.
The key difference I didn’t like was that the new model has done away with the folding handle. The previous model cart turned into a handy little trolley and the folding handle made it easy to wheel the barbecue along behind you. Although admittedly, I had to do an extreme back bend to use the handle, to accommodate the fact that you can’t lift it high.
You can’t do that with the new cart, and that’s a bad thing. Maybe Weber have decided that you can just buy its Traveler model if you intend on wheeling your barbecue around in the great outdoors.
If you only ever barbecue at home, you’ll be better off having a dedicated spot for the Weber to sit at a comfortable height. Either that or pay $290 for the Premium Cart that doesn’t fold down, rather than going for the portable one. I should’ve done this too, but I’ve always been too much of a tightwad to pay for it.
The new Weber Q really does feel like an improvement over the last model. My first time out with it involved cooking a rack of ribs for over 4.5 hours on a low heat, followed by a pack of sausages at a medium heat. In typical Weber fashion, it nailed both attempts, which gives me plenty of confidence to try out different recipes over the coming summer.
Is it worth ditching your old one for? It’s hard to make that case. But if you have always wanted a Weber Q, or want to sell your current one and upgrade, then you won’t live to regret your decision.
This model is currently undergoing testing in our laboratory, and we hope to have the results online by the end of the year. In the meantime, this specific barbecue will be used extensively in my backyard, to see how it goes cooking a myriad of different dishes over the next few months.
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