Weber Jumbo Joe
For all of you fans of Weber grills this is a very exciting time. Weber just quietly launched a new line of kettle grills. These new grills appear to only be available on Amazon at this moment (November, 2012) but should be in the big box stores in time for the 2013 grilling season.
The biggest change to the Weber grills is the relaunch of the Weber Jumbo Joe. The earlier version of the Jumbo, the Smokey Joe Platinum, was discontinued in 2008 and you had to be fast and aggressive to buy a used one on eBay.
To understand why the Jumbo Joe is such an exciting grill you have to understand the weaknesses of the other small Weber kettles. For reference, in the picture on the right the Jumbo Joe is in the middle. On the right is the Weber Smokey Joe Gold and on the left is the Weber One Touch Silver.
1. Smokey Joe Silver: This is a great grill but has two problems. The first is that is has a 14 inch cooking grate which is a little too small to do any serious grilling. The second is that is does not have a carrying handle which means it is not portable. The Silver is a fun little grill to mess with on you back porch but that is about all it is good for.
2. Smokey Joe Gold. Again, two problems with this grill. The first is, like the Silver, this grill has a 14 inch cooking grate. The second problem is the air intake vents which are located slightly above the charcoal grate. Every other Weber kettle has the air intake below the charcoal grate. Once you learn how to use this grill it works fine; it is just different and if you are used to Weber kettles this is a little frustrating. On the positive side the Gold does have a locking lid which means this grill is very portable.
3. Smokey Joe Platinum. This is an 18 inch grill with a locking lid. Large and portable is a nice combination! The problem is that Weber stopped making these in 2008. Even if you could find a used one on eBay it also has the goofy air intake like the Gold.
4. 18 inch One Touch. This grill is a waste of money. It is mounted on long tripod legs and lacks a locking lid. The grill is not portable which means it is a backyard grill only. If you are going to have a backyard grill then spend a few extra bucks and get the 40% larger 22 inch kettle.
This brings us back to the Weber Jumbo Joe. The Jumbo Joe has the 18 inch grate like the One Touch and the Platinum. It has the air intake located at the base of the kettle like the Silver. It has the locking lid like the Gold and Platinum.
The Weber Jumbo Joe literally has the best of all of the smaller Weber kettles and none of their defects. This is the perfect portable grill for tailgate parties, trips to the beach and camping.
Well done, Weber. Well done! You can click here to read more of my Weber grills reviews!