Charles Department Store Owner Jim Raneri’s Five Favorite Barbeque Grills



Jim Raneri, president and co-owner of the Charles Department Store in Katonah, has sold thousands of home barbeque grills in the 44 years he’s been working in his family shop. Here, just in time for Father’s Day and BBQ season, he offers his top five recommendations for the best models.

Weber Genesis ($749-$949)
Raneri is a big fan of Weber grill products, in part because they are backed by excellent warranties. “Getting new parts tends to be an issue for other grills,” he says. He recommends this gas barbeque as it offers extra side burners for faster sear-cooking than other models. “The faster you sear something, the more moisture you hold in it and, thus, the better the taste,” he says.

Weber Summit ($1,499)
One step up from the Genesis, Weber’s Summit, another gas grill, features heavier stainless-steel cooking frames and four to six larger burners. A big perk of this model, says Raneri, is that you don’t have to push an ignition button or light a flame to start it. “When you turn the on button on,” he says, “it creates its own spark.”

Weber Charcoal ($150)
Although Raneri says they burn slower than gas grills, he still prefers grilling with charcoal. “What you lose in convenience you gain in taste and that smoky flavor,” he says. “Plus, it’s more natural.” Raneri calls this charcoal grill a great, reasonably priced option that’s backed by the superior Weber name.

Large Big Green Egg ($999)
Raneri has been grilling on his own Big Green Egg for the past 12 years and raves about it. “You don’t need to be Bobby Flay to use this ceramic charcoal grill,” he says. “The focused heat of its ceramic shell lets it produce high temperatures while still keeping food moist, and it can also hold low temperatures, thus making it a great smoker.”

Primo Oval XL ($1,799)
Another ceramic charcoal grill, the Primo also keeps grilled food moist and flavorful. So how does it compare to the large Big Green Egg? It offers more cooking space—about 400 square inches versus 280. “I recommend it for families who regularly grill for eight to ten people,” Raneri says. The Primo Oval XL also features a divided firebox for indirect grilling and comes with its own chrome, cypress, or metal table.