The History of Weber BBQs

By: JohnJones

George was unimpressed with his basic open grill barbecue which often left meat burnt on the outside and raw in the middle. Whilst working at Weber Brothers Metalworks of Chicago, he had his “eureka moment”. He took a metal buoy, sawed it in half, put legs underneath and used the top half as a lid and added the finishing touch of a vent in the top and bottom thus inventing the original Weber kettle barbecue!
This revolutionary lidded design allowed greater control over air flow through the barbecue so that food would cook more evenly and flare-ups would be reduced. Not only did it cook to perfection and protect the food from the elements, it also reflected the optimistic mood of a whole new generation. The 1950s was consumer boom-time in America and George’s new invention was so different, so iconic, so practical and stylish.
George Stephen realised the potential of his new kettle-shaped barbecue and, with the help of the Weber factory, started to manufacture them for sale and employed a team of salesmen to go out on the road to make sales demonstrations across the country. When people saw George’s strange kettle-shaped invention for the first time, most were amused. But that amusement soon became delight when they tasted the food cooked on the barbecue. People knew that this new barbecue would stand the test of time and the difference in quality when you tasted the food was enough to warrant the cost – plus George invented 101 original recipes so people could conjure up the delicious dishes in their own backyards.
The Weber kettle barbecue soon became a household name and by the end of the 1950s, George’s invention was such a success that he was able to buy the Weber Brother Metal Works, which he renamed Weber-Stephen Products Company. George was passionate, excited and enthused about the new company and every new day brought with it new ideas for barbecues, accessories and recipes.

Weber was the first professional barbecue manufacturer to make the leap from charcoal briquettes to gas. The classic Weber Genesis gas barbecue was born in 1985, causing a minor revolution on the market and becoming an instant classic. Since then the Genesis has been the benchmark for all other gas barbecues and is still one of the most popular Weber barbecues.
Weber continues to evolve and develop to suit the needs of the barbecue enthusiast, from small charcoal kettles like the Smokey Joe, to the Weber Q range of compact gas and electric barbecues to large outdoor kitchen BBQs which really do include the kitchen sink!

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