Portable Weber Charcoal Grills
If you are interested in a small Weber charcoal grill then Weber offers three; the Smokey Joe Silver, the Smokey Joe Gold and the Weber Go Anywhere. Although the three grills are similar in size and price there are significant differences between them.
UPDATE 4/23/2013....Weber has introduced a fourth small grill that is far and away the best, the Weber Jumbo Joe!!!
The Weber Go Anywhere is unique as it is the only Weber charcoal grill that does not have the ubiquitous dome shape that is associated with Weber kettles.The Go Anywhere offers a rectangular cooking surface with about 160 squares inches of room on the grate.This grill has multiple air inlets on the side as well as two air outlets on the top.The Go Anywhere is the most portable of the Weber grills as it comes with a locking lid and two side handles.
Unlike the Go Anywhere grill, the Smokey Joes are unmistakable Weber products which look like miniaturized version of their larger kettles.The Gold and the Silver are identical in size and come with a circular 14 inch cooking grate which offers about 153 square inches of grilling space.There are two major differences between the Silver and the Gold; the air vent configuration and the presence of a lid lock on the Gold.
A detailed examination of the Smokey Joe Gold reveals a very handy lid locking mechanism which is absent from the Silver.The lock prevents the lid from falling off during transportation and getting spent charcoal spilled into your vehicle.What is exceptionally nice about the lid lock for the Gold is that when it is not “up” in the locked position it serves as a holder for the lid.While this might seem trivial initially you will come to greatly appreciate this feature when you are holding a beverage in one hand, using your other hand to flip burgers and need to put that dang lid somewhere!For the Silver you have to put that hot lid on the ground, on the deck, or put down your beverage and hold it in your hand.
The biggest difference between the Gold and the Silver results from how the air vents are configured between the two grills.The Silver has air vents like a traditional Weber grill; an air inlet at the bottom of the kettle and an air outlet at the top of the kettle.This arrangement of air vents results in air being drawn through the charcoal which in turn insures hot, easy burning coals.The air outlet for the Gold is identical to the Silver and is located at the top of the kettle.However, the air inlet for the Gold is located on the side of the kettle, not the bottom.The location of the air inlets on the side, just slightly above the charcoal holding grate, appears to be designed to prevent coals and ashes falling out of the bottom of the grill during transportation.The downside of this vent arrangement is that air no longer flows directly through the charcoal.Instead, in the Smokey Joe Gold, air flows around and above the charcoal.The result is that some people have trouble starting and maintaining a good fire with the Gold.
All three of these charcoal fired portable Weber kettle grills are great for their own reasons.Be aware of the differences between them and get the one that best meets your needs.
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