A country known for the famous lechon, the Philippines has two major grilling seasons — summer and Christmas. Yet, this family-bonding cooking activity has been limited to open-fire roasts and barbecues, which can be maximized by using a closed-lid grill.
Thus, Weber — a global manufacturer of charcoal, gas and electric grills, and grilling accessories — together with its pioneer distributor, True Value, recently held a Thrill for the Grill event at Madison Galeries in Alabang Hills.
“One of the things that we want to have in Asia is the grilling culture. It’s mostly what you see in the streets here, the open-fire direct grilling. When you use a grill with a cover or lid, the roaster becomes an oven where you can bake pizza or a cake,” says Anthony Allarey, Weber commercial director for Southeast Asia and South Korea.
“We’re trying to teach people how to use a grill properly and how to use it for different dishes, not just the usual liempo, barbecue, hotdogs and chicken wings. Weber is basically a kitchen. You can take this entire kitchen to your balcony or backyard so the smell will stay outside, and you can do eveything — fry, roast, grill, bake — and it’s a very healthy way of cooking because you don’t use oil.”
Singapore-based chef Desmond Tan flew in to the weekend event and joined the senior citizens of Alabang, who gamely volunteered to cook beef steaks, crispy pork belly and banana tarte tatin using Weber grills. One lucky participant took home a Smokey Joe.
The chef who admits to have fallen in love with the local sinigang shares Weber’s edge over other grills, “Every Weber grill comes with a lot of R&D. The built-in cover really retains the heat and lets the food cook a lot faster, retaining a lot of nutrients. Meanwhile, the flavorizer system creates the charcoal flavor, which no other grill can give you.”
The flavorizer system consists of tent-like bars underneath the grill. “When the juices and oil drop into the grill, they vaporize and the smoke goes back up. Since the lid is closed, all the flavor stays inside, which also explains why today’s roasted pork belly is a lot juicier than the typical lechon kawali,” explains Allarey.
He adds that Weber invested the flavorizer system in 1985 and has continued its legacy of innovation by going over and above in terms of product quality and customer service. The brand offers a 10-year warranty for its big grills and a five-year warranty for the smaller ones.
The brand continues to sell charcoal grills but admits to be embracing the future of grilling. “We were the inventor of the charcoal kettle grill, so we love charcoal. But honestly, if you go with a blind taste test, nine out of 10 people will not know which one is grilled with charcoal and which one with gas. That’s because of the flavorizer system that we have,” he furthers.
Although tagged with a premium price, the brand aims to bring back the time when people would gather around to cook and eat together, and create a renewed culture of family and friends.
True Value’s Thrill for the Grill was made in partnership with Robinsons Supermarket and sponsored by McCormick Philippines and Ajinomoto.