Category Archives: General FAQs

Buying your first Gas Grill

Gas grills, as with most things in Singapore, don’t come cheap. We don’t manufacture many things here because labour is expensive and so is land for factories. So when you’re looking for a gas grill, you’ll want to make sure you can get the most bang for your buck.

Here is a check list of things to look out for when purchasing your first gas grill:

  1. What does the BBQ come with? What are you REALLY paying for?
    The price tag can be quite deceiving at times. Why does one 2 burner BBQ cost so much less than the other? Before deciding, find out if the BBQ comes with some essentials like a gas hose and regulator, and a rain cover (which is very necessary in Singapore weather!). Sometimes you’ll be getting a motorized rotisserie – it’s good to check on this one, especially if your BBQ comes with a back burner. Also, don’t forget to check on the local warranty period and what the warranty covers. Some local companies cover transport, service as well as replacement parts under their warranty.

  2. Why buy a grill in Singapore when it’s so much cheaper overseas?
    It’s not always the case that it’s cheaper overseas – take one of Napoleon’s more popular models, the Triumph T325SB. It’s USD499 (SGD698) on amazon, and after adding the standard amazon shipping charges and import fees, you’re looking at about USD840, which equates to SGD1174. It costs SGD999 to get it locally (or SGD1199 with the rain cover and rotisserie unit). For this amount, you will be getting your BBQ with a gas hose and regulator suitable for use in Singapore, 1-2 day delivery straight to your door, free assembly, and a local warranty which covers repairs, transport and replacement part costs.
  3. Materials!
    A BBQ grill can be made out of different materials so you have to know if the materials you’re paying for are justifiable. Standard materials for the bulk of the BBQ are usually stainless steel or powder-coated steel, but can also come in die-cast aluminum (usually for the fire box), chrome-plated steel (for the warming rack), and of course, cast iron (for the cooking grids and griddles). 304 stainless steel is probably the highest grade of stainless steel you can get for a standard gas grill, but most will be made of 430 or a mix of both materials. Why does it matter? Singapore’s humidity and rainy weather means lots of moisture everywhere, and moisture is bad for metal, especially when the grade of stainless steel is low. You’ll find corrosion and rust are a common sight.

    How do you know what kind of steel you’re getting? Do the magnet test. Magnets don’t stick to 304 stainless steel, but they do to 430 and powder-coated steel. Sometimes a BBQ will have a double-skinned hood, which means two layers of metal – the magnet test can be tricky here, because the hood could have a layer of 304 on the outside, and 430 on the inside. It’s designed this way to protect the more moisture-exposed areas of the BBQ.

    If you’re looking at a BBQ, and it has a steep price tag, check if the materials are 304 stainless steel or die-cast aluminum. That might be what you’re paying for.

  4. Other features – Burners, side burners, foldable side tables…
    Other parts you could be paying extra for are the burner power, so compare the BTU/kW with other similar BBQs. Some BBQs come with a side burner or back burner, and some will even be infrared types which are more expensive. Check if the side tables are foldable (if you have a space problem) and if the LPG tank can fit in the cabinet (not necessary, but helpful if you want a sleek integrated look). Other little features such as condiments racks, chopping boards, lights, hooks… these could be small little extras that make the BBQ special.

  5. Lastly, where is it made?
    Where the BBQ is made can contribute to the final price point just because it’s cheaper to ship from China than North America. Some brands will have factories in both locations producing different model ranges. For example, you might have Weber manufacturing their lower end range in China, and their higher end range in the USA, while Napoleon manufactures their entry-level range in both Canada and China, while their high-end Prestige and Rogue R425SIB models are all made in Canada.
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BBQ Question Time!

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Get ’em Online: Liberty Patio

I can’t tell you how much I love online shopping. It’s almost an obsession! Which is why I felt it was about time I introduced you readers to Liberty Patio.

You can pretty much get any kind of barbecue accessory from this e-store. From rain covers to digital meat thermometers, smoker pipes and wood chips, to the BBQ grills themselves! Price-wise, this site matches up to the prices of local stores around Singapore, with some bargains under the sale section.

What’s cool about this site is that you can actually get rare barbecues that you won’t be able to find in physical stores across the Island. For example, the Napoleon Prestige Series and the Masport Ambassador, as well as some grills from older seasons.

Here are some screen caps of the site:

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YES! Napoleon has hit Singapore!

I’m really stoked that we’ve finally brought Napoleon to Singapore because we’ve been using our Masport Maestro Deluxe gas grill for almost 5 years now, and I think it’s time to retire it (it’s still in great working condition even though I’m really lazy when it comes to maintenance).Image

I have to say that they really had me sold on the whole infrared sizzle zone concept. This isn’t new technology. I say this because the original infrared cooking actually derives from the concept of burning charcoal, where you would have all those glowing red bits on the charcoal, instead you get 10,000 tiny little ports with tiny little flames on each burner. So really, similar cooking method to charcoal, but less mess. Hooray!

There are lots of other features on the Napoleon LEX485, but what really caught my attention is this accessory you can get called the Napoleon Charcoal Smoker Tray. Lots of customers come in and they ask, “hey, can I put charcoal inside my gas barbecue?” The answer is NO! Gas barbecues are built to take that kind of heat. Don’t confuse Lava rocks with charcoal. Lava rocks heat up, charcoal sets on fire!

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Anyway, let’s continue. The Charcoal Tray is a brilliant way you can convert your gas barbecue into a charcoal one, simply by placing the tray above the burner (without the flame tamers) and adding in the charcoal. You’d light them simply by switching on your burner and leaving it for about 5 minutes, then switch it off (but leave the hood open the whole time). You can even add woodchips to the mix because it’s got a triangular slot on one corner with holes in them. This tray is made of cast iron, so it’s sturdy and takes heat really well.

Available from Liberty Patio.

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A Gassy Problem

Picture Credit: http://www.exxonmobil.com.sg

“Grrrrr! Why doesn’t my gas tank fit into my barbecue cabinet?!”

I’ve heard that complaint a few times from my customers. I know it seems like an obvious thing, that the gas tank should be able to fit into the cabinet of your portable grill. Unfortunately, barbecues aren’t always made to fit tanks approved under Singapore regulations because they’re not from here.

What I’ve picked up from gas companies is that Singapore approved gas tanks come in the following sizes: 4.5kg, 11.3kg and 12.7kg. The 9kg gas tank which is used in Australia and New Zealand are not approved here (don’t ask me why, I don’t know). I think some companies still offer them, but I doubt insurance would cover you if there were to be an accident.

We get lots of gas related questions, so here’s what I can tell you just based on experience:

1. Your gas tank isn’t going to explode if you leave it outdoors. I’ve left my gas tank outside with my barbecue for years and nothing weird has happened. It’s still there. The barbecue is still in tact. And my house has not burnt down in the process. We leave it under the side table of our barbecue and pull the vinyl cover over to cover both grill and gas tank.

2. I know it looks unsightly to have your gas tank on the side of your barbecue instead of inside the cabinet, but in actual fact, it’s not advisable for one to have their gas tank inside their barbecue when they’re using it as you don’t want the tank too close to the burner flames. All other times, you would have your vinyl cover over the gas tank.

3. How long does a gas tank last for? On a 2 burner barbecue, a 4.5kg tank would last approximately 8 hours of non-stop barbecuing. So, I guess if you do the math, a 12.7kg tank would last about 20 hours on a 2 burner barbecue and 10 hours on a 4 burner. We usually just advise our customers to get the large tanks because they’re cheaper and last longer. You get more bang for your buck! Seriously, a 4.5kg gas tank costs about $190 whereas a 12.7kg tanks costs about $70 (it’s a $40 deposit for the tank and $30 for the gas itself).

It’s funny that the large tanks are cheaper than the small ones, but there’s less demand for the small ones, so they’re pricier. Also, large barbecues with at least 4 burners can’t take the 4.5kg gas tanks as your burners will cut off when you turn all of them on at same time.

4. Gas regulators. One thing to note about gas regulators is that they don’t all fit the same brands of gas tanks. Some gas regulators only fit Esso Mobil tanks, while others fit Shell tanks. So if your BBQ supplier has given you a regulator, make sure to ask which brand of tanks their suitable for or you might end up having to buy a new regulator.

Alright, that’s all the questions I can think of so far. If you have a question, just shoot it over and I’ll see what I can do about getting you your answer! Till next time!

For more information, you can check our the exxonmobil site:  http://www.exxonmobil.com.sg/AP-English/about_who_profile_lpg_safety.aspx

Order Gas from Tan Brothers Gas.

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