Even my hard-core charcoal-grilling husband is a convert. 
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Grilling is one of those things that, for the passionate, gets ingrained in one's identity. The choice of equipment, fuel, style, and seasoning, all play a part in the grilling personality someone wants to adopt, and the type of food they want to create. 

It's true that grilling with charcoal can provide a bit more flavor if you use lump charcoal and not briquettes. But it also adds time to your cooking since coals need time to get to the proper temp; it can be difficult to maintain a good temperature for longer cooks; and cleanup and storage of supplies are both something of a bear. Gas might lose a bit on flavor, but for so many, makes up for it with ease, speed, and consistency.

But there is a new grill on the block that just might convert the most diehard charcoal afficionado to gas grilling. How do I know? It happened to us.

Credit: Courtesy Amazon

Meet the Weber Genesis II EX-335 Smart Grill 

There is a lot to love about Weber's Genesis II Smart Grill, but let's begin with how well it's designed. The generous cooking surface is big enough to serve a large party, and incorporates a super-hot "sear zone", which is great for getting that perfect crust on your steaks or burgers without overcooking them or putting perfect grill marks on a larger protein that has been doing an indirect heat cook. It has a side burner which is great for everything from cooking a side dish without having to run in and out of your kitchen or keeping basting liquids warm but has a cover so that it becomes extra organization space when not in use. Lighting makes nighttime cooking a breeze—which is great for those of us who grill after daylight savings time kicks in and don't fancy buying a headlamp—and the tuck-away warming rack lets you keep finished food warm while the rest keep cooking.

The smart tech that wins the day

But it is the smart tech that really takes this grill to a whole new place. It has an easy-to-read digital display which will tell you not only the temperature of your grill, but also your fuel level. The unit connects to WiFi and your smartphone, so you can get alerts on low fuel or cooking process from anywhere. Using the included smart probe will do more than just tell you what temperature your protein is at, it will prompt you when items need to be flipped, are ready to rest, and when to serve! You can purchase a second probe if you have one of those houses where someone likes things rare and someone likes them well-done, or if you have a tendency to cook different proteins at the same time.

Being able to know what is happening inside your grill without opening the lid or going to check in person is a godsend for entertaining, keeping you with your guests and not minding the food as much, not to mention amazing for cold weather grilling when you want to be outside as little as possible and maintain the heat in your grill.

My husband—a die-hard Weber charcoal man before we tried out the Genesis Smart Gas Grill—has found that making a simple foil packet of soaked chips to tuck into a corner of the grill gives him just as much flavor as the charcoal used to. Meanwhile, all the other bells and whistles have made his overall grilling experience infinitely better. How do I know this gas grill has really been a game-changer for my historically charcoal-grilling husband? The Weber Kettle got moved to the corner, and the Genesis now has the primary place on the porch. Further, he didn't load in the usual giant bags of charcoal for the winter, but he did stock in an extra propane tank. 

Weber Grill
Credit: Courtesy Amazon

Is the Weber Genesis II EX-35 Smart Grill worth the price?

This smart gas grill is an investment—it lists on Amazon for more than $1,200 right now—but if you are already a gas griller, this is an upgrade that is absolutely worth the investment. You will love how the smart technology improves your grilling experience and results. 

If you are not yet a griller, but have always wanted to become one, the tools this unit has will make you feel confident and competent right out of the box. No learning curve, just great grilled food all the time.

And if you think you can't love any grill that isn't charcoal, think again. 

The best part? It's not too late to get one in time for holiday gifting or holiday cooking and set yourself up for amazing year-round grilling.

To buy: Weber Genesis II EX-335 Smart Grill ($1239.00), amazon.com