Weber’s Smokey Joe Premium is a compact, portable BBQ with a classic kettle design. Despite its small stature, it’s an incredibly effective on-the-go BBQ, with a handful of interesting features that elevate it above your bog-standard kettle. These features include an “tuck and carry”It is used as a lid handle and holds the lid. The porcelain enamelled bowl lid provides additional protection against heat, cracks, scrapes, or extreme temperatures.
While it’s one of Weber’s most affordable BBQs, it’s certainly not inexpensive. However, the Smokey Joe is worth splashing out on if you’re an avid camper looking for a high-quality portable option that won’t need replacing a year or two down the line.
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Weber Smokey Joe Premium Barbecue: What’s the deal?
The Smokey Joe Premium is a 37cm lidded BBQ, which will set you back a reasonably substantial £100 at full price. There are no additional accessories in the box and you’ll need to assemble everything yourself. You can do this on your computer in 30 minutes.
The Smokey Joe’s design is similar to what you might expect of any kettle-style BBQ, with a lid on top and three small curved legs on the bottom. Three aluminium dampeners are included on the lid, which allows you to adjust your barbecue’s airflow. The lid also features a strong plastic handle. There’s also a secondary metal loop attached to the body, which clips onto the lid handle allowing you to easily transport and store the BBQ. This secondary loop also acts as a lid holder when the BBQ is in use, so you don’t have to place it on the floor.
Smokey Joe can be used as a portable BBQ in many colours. It’s not like other basic BBQs. It’s also one of the most compact portable BBQs we’ve tested, measuring 36 x 42 x 43cm (WDH). However, it’s worth noting the lid and legs don’t fold away, meaning it can still be a little space-hungry in small car boots. The Joe is light, however, at just 5.48kg, meaning it’s easy to carry from car to campsite.
As well as the Smokey Joe Premium, you can also get your hands on the slightly cheaper original Smokey Joe (£90), which has a similar shape, size and weight. Original Smokey Joe has two dampeners, and an unlockable lid. Both the base and lid must be taken separately. You can also purchase the model in black for as low as $70.
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Weber Smokey Joe Premium BBQ review: What’s good about it?
The most notable thing about the Smokey Joe Premium is that it’s well designed for outdoor, on-the-go use. Not only is it lightweight, but it’s also easy to carry thanks to its lockable handle, which doubles as a lid rest. Jonathan Bray, Head of Reviews, still uses the original Smokey Josephs that he purchased almost twenty years ago.
Its fuel grate is particularly sturdy and doesn’t budge or shift during use. It allows coal to evenly distribute around the bowl. This ensures that the grill heats quickly. The grill held heat very well, even though it was small. In testing, I was able to cook four hamburgers in about 10-15 minutes. Even though I could quickly lower the temperature after cooking with the three dampeners, it still took some time before it was cool enough to use gloves.
It is very large, too. This was spacious enough to grill four burgers or three chicken breasts of medium size. The grill also accommodated five small skewers. Weber states you can fit up to six burgers at once and, while this is possible, I wouldn’t recommend overloading it, as this can lead to uneven cooking.
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Weber Smokey Joe Premium Barbecue Reviews: What could be better?
One small issue I came across when testing the Smokey Joe is that some foods would stick to the grill if it wasn’t kept well oiled before and during use. This can be a tad frustrating if you’re out and about without an oiling brush, and did make the grill fairly tricky to clean off afterwards.
Another issue with the barbecue was its dampeners. The Smokey Joe is a great barbecue, however, I did find the dampener mechanism to be a bit awkward and fragile. While this certainly isn’t a deal breaker, it’s a little disappointing given its price. And speaking of price, there’s no denying this is expensive for what is, on the surface, a basic kettle BBQ.
If your car’s dimensions are small, you might want to look into the Smokey Joe. While it is compact, there’s an awkward bulkiness to it, as the legs and handle are fixed in place and not easily removable or foldable.
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Weber Smokey Joe Premium barbecue review – Should I Buy It?
Overall the Smokey Joe Premium Portable Barbecue is a good choice. Its robust design and useful features mean it’s certainly a step up from the majority of cheap and cheerful kettle BBQs, and these extras go some way to justifying its high price. Although you could save money by opting for the original Smokey Joe kettle, the premium model’s lockable lid makes it well worth the extra cost.
It’s also easy to carry and lightweight, making it the perfect travel companion for most people. It’s a great portable BBQ, with a few minor issues like the damper mechanism that is a bit fragile, food sticking, and fixed legs and handle.
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