The Weber Smokey Joe charcoal grill beats all other small grills in comparative reviews. This inexpensive, no-frills grill comes in two models: Silver (*Est. $30) and Gold (*Est.$35). Both have a 14.5-inch-diameter cooking surface and short legs; expect to do a lot of bending or squatting if the grill is not placed on a table. Owners warn that there's not much distance between the grill and the coals, so you have to watch the food carefully to keep it from burning; however, one expert reviewer says this small kettle's proportions put the food exactly the right distance from the heat source.
The Smokey Joe Silver lacks the Gold version's locking lid, which makes transport simpler; some owners say the lid lock is worth spending $5 more for the Gold model. However, experts and users alike say the Silver version actually does a better job of cooking than the Smokey Joe Gold because the Silver version's vent is positioned at the bottom of the kettle instead of the side. One expert points out that the Smokey Joe Silver's small cooking chamber means the bottom vent can get clogged; cleaning the kettle well helps keep the vent clear. The Smokey Joe Silver also comes with an ash pan for easier cleanup, which the Gold model lacks, but this feature didn't draw much attention from reviewers. Both Smokey Joes are basically scaled-down versions of the Weber One-Touch Silver (*Est. $80 to $90), which reviewers say is the best budget charcoal grill.
We found the best review of the Weber Smokey Joe Silver charcoal grill at About.com, where barbeque expert Derrick Riches mentions the difference between ventilation for the Silver and Gold models. We also found helpful user reviews at Amazon.com, Walmart.com and ExpoTV.com.
Derrick Riches is the guide to barbeques and grilling for About.com. He notes that even though the Weber Smokey Joe Silver's lack of a lid lock makes it a little awkward to transport, he prefers it to the Weber Smokey Joe Gold. (Note: ConsumerSearch is owned by About.com, but the two don't share an editorial affiliation.)
Review: Weber Smokey Joe Silver, Derrick Riches
About 120 owners post reviews of the Smokey Joe Silver. The Silver model gets a very high average rating -- 4.5 out of 5 stars -- although a few mention that having the grill so close to the coals makes it easy to burn your food. Note: Even though this listing is described simply as "Smokey Joe Grills" in the search result, the Smokey Joe Gold has its own separate listing.
Review: Weber Smokey Joe Grills, Contributors to Amazon.com
About 40 customers review the Smokey Joe Silver at Walmart.com, giving it a score of 4.9 stars out of 5. At the time of this writing, every single reviewer says they'd recommend this grill to a friend. "It may seem small," says an owner who used the grill while camping in the Rockies, "but it's got a lot of heart."
Review: Weber 147 Sq. Inch Smokey Joe Silver Charcoal Grill, Black, Contributors to Walmart.com
Two owners provide video reviews of the Weber Smokey Joe Silver. One reviewer gives the grill a 5-star rating, the other 4 stars out of 5. Both note that the Smokey Joe grill is small, but otherwise have nothing negative to say about it.
Review: Weber Smokey Joe Charcoal Grill Reviews, Contributors to ExpoTV.com