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Weber Story

George Stephen Barbecue Hall of Fame

2013 | Barbecue Hall of Fame®

Weber Grills Founder to Be Inducted into Barbecue Hall of Fame

PALATINE, Ill., Sept. 26, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- In the early 1950s, a pickle impaled on a toothpick was considered high-class entertaining and a backyard barbecue typically meant hunching over an open brazier grill—which meant subjecting a precious steak to wind, rain, flying ashes, and an uncontrollable flame.

Married with a growing family, George Stephen Sr. enjoyed tinkering with things, and devoted what little spare time he had to inventing a better way to grill his cherished steak outdoors. As an employee of Weber Brothers Metal Works, George spent his days crafting buoys for the Chicago harbor—those same metal buoys would prove to be invaluable in his quest. The "aha moment" came when George thought that perhaps a grill with a cover on it might be his answer to grilling a better steak. He cut a metal buoy in half, drilled holes in the top to allow for airflow, welded three steel legs to the bottom, and set in to motion the creation of the first Weber kettle grill—a grill that today dots millions of backyards across the United States and throughout the world.

After he began selling his invention as "George's Barbecue Kettle" the grill became so successful that Stephen formed the barbecue division of the Weber Brothers factory. By the late 1950s, he bought out the company and became the sole owner—dedicating all of his professional time to manufacturing and selling the Weber kettle. Soon thereafter, Stephen changed the company name to Weber-Stephen Products Co.

George passed away in 1993, but his legacy lives on as Weber-Stephen Products LLC, the world's leading manufacturer of outdoor gas, charcoal, and electric grills and grilling accessories.

"My father knew that one of the best ways to bring families together was through a shared meal enjoyed in the great outdoors," said Jim Stephen, Chairman, Weber-Stephen Products LLC. "My mom Marge and the entire Stephen family are so proud of what my father accomplished, and we are thrilled that he is being inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame. His vision and dogged determination literally changed the landscape of outdoor entertaining, and Weber will continue to honor his legacy by developing and producing the best grills and accessories available for years to come."

George Stephen Sr., will be inducted into the Barbecue Hall of Fame on October 5, 2013 at the World Series of Barbecue Championship event. The formal induction ceremony will take place on the Main Stage at the American Royal Complex in Kansas City, Mo. at 7 p.m. Jim Stephen will be on hand to accept the award on behalf of the family.

Each year, three individuals are awarded the prestigious honor and are recognized by the Barbecue Hall of Fame for their significant contributions to the barbecue community and demonstration of achievement in barbecue excellence in one of three categories: Pitmaster, Business/Industry, and Celebrity/Humanitarian.

About Weber Weber-Stephen Products LLC, headquartered in Palatine, Ill., is the world's premier manufacturer of charcoal, gas and electric grills, grilling accessories and other outdoor room products. In 1952, founder George Stephen sparked a backyard revolution with his invention of the Weber® kettle. More than 60 years later, the privately-held company remains the industry leader with its Weber®, Weber® Q®, and Ducane® brands. As a leading exporter of grills, Weber brand products are sold worldwide at select home centers, hardware stores, department stores, patio stores, and other retail outlets. Weber has the strongest consumer outreach program in the industry with its Weber Grill-LineSM (1-800-GRILL-OUT®); Weber's On The the Grill mobile application; and a content-rich website with grilling tips, techniques, and original Weber recipes at www.weber.com®. (The Weber Grill-Line and Weber Customer Service are closed on Christmas). Weber can also be followed on Facebook and Twitter.

SOURCE Weber-Stephen Products LLC