Are you cuckoo for kettles? Then hold onto your briquets kids, because I’ve got a doozie for you! Introducing Weber’s 70th Anniversary Edition Kettle Charcoal Grill 22”!
Before we dive into the heart of our review, we feel that it is worth noting that the allure of this particular Weber kettle grill is the numerous retro finishes that are unique to this limited edition collectible edition. If you aren’t swayed by its collectibility or its sense of nostalgia, you can get the same premium performance for less with the standard Premium Kettle which we have previously reviewed and awarded a platinum medal.
So what can we say about the iconic Weber Kettle that hasn’t already been said since it first appeared 70 years ago in 1952? Weber Kettles have been at the forefront of all-American BBQ fun since the first hot dog sizzled on that now familiar round cooking grate. Weber Kettles enjoy evergreen popularity throughout the world. They’re affordable, relatively easy to use and maintain, and capable of cooking everything from steak to cake with great results.
Well…. Before you rush out to grab one of these beauties, we need to mention they cost twice as much as the standard Original Kettle Premium Grill. That double-dollar whammy will stop a lot of grillers dead in their tracks wondering, “Why should I pay twice as much for a few extra ornaments?” If you don’t think these special edition grills are worth the price you probably shouldn’t buy them. There is no appreciable performance benefit over the standard Premium Kettle which we have previously reviewed and awarded a platinum medal.
On the other hand, if the 70th Anniversary edition puts a smile on your face and you’re still interested, you may have reasons to feel like the majority of new owners who gush with praise for their backyard trophies. Some are serious Weber Kettle collectors. For them this is a must-have. One fellow wrote, “There’s a price tag on having your grill double as a piece of art.” Some just want to stand out and be the envy of their neighborhood. Judge not lest ye be judged.
It’s easy to appreciate these cool-looking, colorful kettles. From a utilitarian standpoint, a standard Weber Premium Kettle cooks just as well. However, it’s sure hard to argue that it looks just as good as the retro anniversary model. We’ve seen some complaints about defective enamel and dented or bent parts, but the vast majority of buyers posting reviews of their special commemorative kettles are in love.
Packaging was simple and effective. As with all Weber Kettles, the straightforward design made assembly easy.
For serious kettle collectors, reel your drooling tongues back in your mouths and just pony up the dough. You need these commemorative Kettles. For the rest of us, it depends on the size of your wallet and popping eyeballs.
The bottom line is that Weber’s 70th Anniversary Edition succeeds as a great grill and striking commemorative limited edition. It’s not for everyone, but it’s really not made for everyone. So should we award our Gold Medal or Platinum Medal? To answer that question, I reached out to my pal Ed Reilly. With 750+ vintage grills and smokers, Reilly is the Guinness World Record holder for the largest barbecue grill collection. Without hesitation, he responded with a resounding, “PLATINUM!”
Bowl, lid, and center ring: 10 years, rust through/burn through.
ONE-TOUCH cleaning system: 5 years, rust through/burn through.
Plastic components: 5 years, excluding fading or discoloration.
All remaining parts: 2 years.
We thank Weber for providing a 70th Anniversary Edition Kettle for our tests.
Cooked On It
We have hands-on experience testing this product. We have also gathered info from the manufacturer, owners and other reliable sources.
363 square inches
Mid-Size(about 17 burgers)
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.
Max Good, Full time grill tester - Max Good, AmazingRibs.com's Vice President of Product Reviews & Keeper of the Flame, is the man in charge of finding the best products for the AmazingRibs.com Equipment Reviews section. Max bottles his own barbecue sauce recipes and now sells them around the country.