Thinking about a Weber Kettle Charcoal Grill?
Can't Go Wrong with a Weber
My son grilling on a Weber Kettle.
It’s hard to beat a Weber Kettle grill. The design is good, and it’s a style that almost anyone can use with great results. Other charcoal grills have less head space and place the grate closer to the charcoal which is fine for skilled grill chefs but means a lot of burned food for many outdoor charcoal cooks (who often just give up).
Head Space on the Weber Grill
The larger space between the charcoal and the cooking grate in the Weber Kettle 22 inch means that it does not get as hot or as fast as some charcoal grills. That, combined with the grate style, means that you don’t get the pretty grill marks very often, but you don’t get meat that is black on the outside and raw in the middle either. So, when you start thinking you need a charcoal grill that makes super grill marks on the meat, think about whether that really impacts on taste. The answer is no, although you may hear otherwise. I say, "Put on a blindfold and really see if there is a difference."
Weber Kettle Shape
As to the shape, the kettle design with a lower grate that holds the charcoal up off the bottom of the grill body and then the high domed lid means great heat circulation. The heat simply circulates well with this type of design.
Many grills were open style or hibachi before Weber came out with the Kettle in the 1950s. Adding the lid made grilling much easier. A steak can be caramelized (kind of like searing) which does add some flavor and color and then finished off to the correct doneness preferred by putting on the lid and convection cooking for a short amount of time.
Having the high domed lid also means that foods can literally be baked in the Weber Kettle. Put foods in aluminum pans or in cast iron, and Weber works as a fine outdoor oven as well as an open top grill.
Venting on the Weber 22 Incher
The top and bottom vents on the Weber Kettle are well constructed and allow for excellent heat regulation. Fire needs air to burn, so if things get too hot literally, put on the lid and partially close the vents. This will knock out flare ups and reduce heat levels as needed.
On the flip side, open the bottom vents full and leave the top off to get great air flow and easy to start charcoal lighting and a fast burn to gray which is where you want the coals when you’re grilling over charcoal.
Once grilling, the vents combined with the lid with vent can be used for really good control over the grilling process.
Quality of Weber Grills and Support
The first grill I bought after burning through some $10 models in college was a Weber 18 inch. I upgraded to the 22 inch, and the only issue on the old one (which was over 15 years old) was that the wooden handle on one side cracked. That was when it blew out of the truck. Long story. And, it did not impact on the grilling.
I also have the tailgate Weber – the Smokey Joe which is probably 17 or 18 years old now, and it’s still in great shape.
So, yes, you will get years of service out of a Weber charcoal grill. And, with a long history, they do have replacement parts as needed. For example, some people do not take good care of their grates and get some rusting and can easily buy a new set or a single (charcoal grate at bottom or top cooking grate). I've personally never had to replace any Weber parts.
On top of that, the service is second to none at Weber. They have a call in help line, and they are helpful and do know their products.
Which Weber Kettle Grill is Best?
All the Weber Kettle grills are excellent. The most popular and best seller is the 22 inch model. Actually I liked the size on the 18 inch a little better, but that’s because I’m 5 foot 4 inches, and it’s harder for me to get my arms around the 22 incher. The Performer is nice for those who like the table included for work space and super easy start up with gas used to light the coals. I use a chimney starter instead and find that to be the best way to start charcoal, but others like the gas fire up help. The little Smokey Joe is fabulous for a single person, a couple, or for tailgating.
Basically, you can’t go wrong with a Weber Kettle. It’s the best selling grill in the world for a reason. It’s an easy-to-use charcoal grill, high quality, classy looking, lasts for years, and the Weber grill company is easy to work with too.