Never underestimate what a man will do for steak. In the case of George Stephen, Sr., what started out as an attempt to protect precious meat eventually turned into the company now known as Weber, the winner of the Luxist Readers' Choice Award in the best grills category.
Stephen's inspiration came in 1952. Frustrated by the windblown flames emanating from his open backyard grill-and the resulting impact on his steaks-he decided to take matters into his own hands. He headed over to Weber Brothers Metal Works, his place of employment, and created the prototype of the dome-shaped grill that would become Weber's trademark product.
Gallery: Weber grills
Though nearly 100 million American households now have outdoor grills, the market hadn't yet exploded when Stephen invented his strangely-shaped contraption, which was pricey ($50) compared to the standard open grill ($7). His friends made fun of him-until Stephen's invention started selling. By the late 1950s the product was so successful that Stephen was able to buy his employer's factory and devote it to producing cooking surfaces.