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By: Max Good
The black porcelain enameled lid and base of Weber’s Smokey Joe and Smokey Joe Premium Portable Charcoal Grills has the same tight construction and durable coating you find on Weber’s big kettles. Both have rust free aluminum dampers for air and heat control. The 14.5″diameter plated steel cooking grates provide 165 square inches of cook surface.
The standard model has a small aluminum disc under the bottom damper that serves as an ash catcher. Both weigh only 9.5 pounds. The Premium (shown below) doesn’t have dampers under the coal tray so air flow is not quite as good, but if you’re looking for a small portable to grill burgers and hot dogs, consider spending ten bucks more for the Premium because it has a convenient “Tuck and Carry Lid Holder” for easy transport.
Let’s debunk a myth: The parabolic shape of the Weber BBQ Kettle is not a more efficient heat reflector than other shapes. By far the vast majority of the heat is radiated directly from the surface of the glowing coals with some more reflected from the sides. Very little heat is being reflected off the curved bottom of the bowl. There is a solid barrier in the way: The bed of coals. Any heat that hits the bottom of the kettle just bounces back into the coal pile. So the parabolic shape of the kettle is no more efficient than a square box.
Nothing fancy, just a small version of the grill that made Weber famous.
Weber-Stephen is one of the oldest and most respected manufacturers of BBQ equipment and related accessories in the world. Weber grills and smokers cook beautifully and have great features that are clever, effective and easy to use. As popularity and demand for BBQ gear grows worldwide, Weber continues to earn their long standing reputation for quality, durability and outstanding customer service and support, (7 days a week from 7am to 8pm CST), in an increasingly competitive environment. Even in this crowded marketplace, many consumers are still willing to pay more for the Weber name and they are rarely disappointed. They make a variety of cookers and smokers. Their iconic black charcoal kettles are known throughout the world. Indeed Weber is expanding globally.
Weber-Stephen was family owned since it was founded in 1952 by George Stephen. At the end of 2010 the Stephen family sold a majority stake to Chicago investment group BDT Capital Partners. In 2012, Weber settled a class action suit out of court regarding their use of the phrase, “Made in USA”. Weber previously qualified the “Made in USA” statement by specifying their products are assembled in the USA with some components that are sourced globally. Here is an excerpt from Weber’s statement “Weber believes that because all Weber grills and the disputed accessories are designed and engineered in the USA, and all grills save for one line [Spirit]* are manufactured and assembled in the USA using component parts primarily made in the USA, it did nothing wrong and therefore has valid defenses to plaintiff’s claims. The court has not held a trial or ruled in favor of either party on any disputed issues. Weber and the plaintiff have agreed to settle the matter to avoid the costs of continued litigation.” As a result of this suit, Weber can no longer claim to be made in America.
Since then Weber, like many others, has outsourced manufacturing of more product lines. Things change, but we believe Weber’s commitment to quality and innovation has not.
The biggest barrier for many folks is price. Webers are not cheap, but when you consider that they last decades, the price is easy to justify. Many some cheap grills fall apart after three years or so.
Our main complaint: All Webers have the obligatory bi-metal dial thermometer in the hood that gives you a ballpark reading of what the temperature is high above the meat. Since we cook on the grates, though, it’s always better to bring your own digital thermometer and place a probe there. It appears this is beginning to change as Weber enters a new era of digital technology and software based products.
Published On: 2/21/2013 Last Modified: 9/23/2021
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