Weber Original Kettle Premium Review

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Weber Original Kettle Premium Review
Bottom Line

The Weber Original Kettle Premium is an upgrade to the basic Kettle that adds an enclosed ash catcher, built-in lid thermometer, hinged cooking grate and four tool hooks to the basic design. It's a versatile, excellent performer but ease of use is superior to the stripped down version.

Pros
  • Ash-handling system
  • Can grill or smoke foods
  • Easy to use, clean
  • Lasts for many years
  • Fairly small footprint for its cooking surface
Cons
  • In lid thermometer is inaccurate

Breaking it down

Performance

Can grill or smoke a wide range of foods. Experts love the versatility of the Weber Original Kettle Premium, saying the circular shape, large cooking space and superior venting give owners a high level of heat control, enabling both grilling and smoking. Users overwhelmingly agree, saying the Original Kettle Premium can cook virtually any type of food, using indirect or direct heat as well as long, slow cooking with superior results. This grill is as popular with those who are new to grilling and just exploring the various methods as it is with those who are experts at even the most challenging foods to grill. The Weber Original Kettle Premium has a 22-inch cooking surface with 363 square inches of total cooking space, large enough, most users say, for a family of six. It also comes in an 26-inch version as the Weber 26-inch Original Kettle Premium (Est. $300) [B00N65AAW4], and in three finishes, black, green and copper.

Ease of use

Nearly foolproof. Owners report that the Weber Original Kettle Premium can be assembled in about 15 minutes -- although we saw a few complaints that the legs were hard to attach. While some users say they felt there was a learning curve when first using this Weber, many of them had simply never used a charcoal grill before -- quite a few came back and edited their review once they were more experienced to rave about the grill. Most also agree its "one-touch" ash emptying makes it easier to use and clean than the more basic, open ash catcher on the more basic Weber Original 22-inch Kettle (Est. $100) [B00004RALU] and is worth the upgrade -- especially if you live in a windy area. Other upgrade features from the basic model that users appreciate are the extra handle on the kettle, four tool hooks, hinged cooking grate and built-in lid thermometer. However, Max Good at AmazingRibs.com notes that the thermometer is wildly inaccurate, as are most thermometers integrated into grills. We suggest heading over to our report on meat thermometers to find a better choice.

Durability/safety

Minimal safety concerns. We saw very few complaints about safety issues with the Weber Original Kettle Premium. The dampers make shutting down the fires easy and safe, and there are very few reports of flare-ups -- users say the design of the grill makes the occasional grease flare-up very easy to handle. A handful complain that the handle gets hot to the touch, but others sensibly point out that using a grill mitt should be standard operating procedure when grilling. Many say their grill works perfectly years or even decades after purchase. Annual maintenance involves removing the grates and cleaning with mild detergent and water. The warranty runs 10 years for the bowl, lid and handle; and two years for the grates and other parts.  

Our Sources

1. AmazingRibs.com

2017 Best Value Charcoal Grills, Max Good, Not Dated

This is the fifth year the Weber Original Kettle Premium has appeared on Max Good's roundup of the best grills of the year. The Kettle Premium also earns a Best Value Gold Award. Elsewhere on this site, he gives a more in-depth review of the Kettle Premium. He does warn that in lid thermometers are very inaccurate.

2. TheSweethome.com

The Best Charcoal Grill, Séamus Bellamy, May 6, 2016

The Weber Original Kettle Premium has been the top pick here for several years. Séamus Bellamy praises its performance, versatility and durability. The runner up is another Original Kettle-based grill, the Weber Master-Touch, and the portable pick is -- you guessed it -- the Weber Smokey Joe Premium, a miniature version of the larger Kettle.

3. Cook's Illustrated

Charcoal Grills, Editors of Cook's Illustrated, May 2015

Editors of Cook's Illustrated evaluate seven charcoal grills, including the Weber Original Kettle Premium 22-inch grill. Testers judge them on factors including grilling, heat retention, cleanup and quality of construction. Each grill is assessed as either highly recommended, recommended or not recommended.

4. Lifehacker.com

Five Best Grills, Alan Henry, May 27, 2016

The Weber One Touch Kettle Series is number one in this "Best Grill" roundup based on a poll of LifeHacker.com readers. It's accompanied by a review that gives an overview of how it was chosen by those who voted for it. This review encompasses the entire Original Kettle line.

5. Amazon.com

Weber 14401001 Original Kettle Premium Charcoal Grill, 22-Inch, Black, Contributors to Amazon.com, As of April 2017

More than 745 owners post reviews for the Weber Original Kettle Premium on Amazon.com, giving it an overall rating of 4.7 stars out of 5. Many rave about its performance and ease of assembly, with quite a few reviewers noting that they have owned one for more than 5, 10 or 15 years and it's still going strong.

6. HomeDepot.com

Weber Original Kettle Premium 22 in. Charcoal Grill in Black, Contributors to HomeDepot.com, As of April 2017

Nearly 95 owners post about the Weber Original Kettle Premium on Home Depot's website, giving it a high, 4.8-star rating; 100 percent would recommend it to a friend. It earns praise for cooking and smoking food excellently and assembly is reported as quick.