“Awe, it’s so cute!” At first I was a little offended for this grill, since that was the first reaction from my wife. “Cute” isn’t something that comes to mind when I think of a tool that is built to fullfill one of our most primitive needs; to cook over an open flame. But she’s right, the Weber Smokey Joe is pretty “cute”. More importantly though, this thing can cook!
I originally bought it only for my mini smoker project, but I find myself using this thing quite a bit. The Smokey Joe comes in either the Silver or Gold models and looks just like a full size Weber Kettle Grill that got hit with a shrink ray (built out of the same materials too). The Silver is pretty easy to find in your local stores, but the Gold seems to only be available online (at least in my area). Each model has it’s pros and cons, as you might have imagined. The Smokey Joe Silver makes for a better grill, due to the better air flow created by placing the vents on the bottom. The drawback to this design is that the vents tend to clog up with ash, so you may have to poke the holes while cooking to make sure air can flow easily through the vents. The Smokey Joe Gold is designed with the air holes on the sides, allowing the ash to collect at the bottom of the chamber without risk of clogging the air flow. This is a better design for longer cooks, which makes it an ideal grill to start your mini smoker project, but the side air vents don’t provide as much air flow as the Silver. Still the Gold gets plenty hot and I cooked an awesome filet mignon alongside a flat iron steak (it was on sale) the other night. The grate is very close to the coals, due to how small this thing us, so searing wasn’t a problem. The Gold also has a nice carrying handle to lock the lid in place. The position of the vents, combined with the handle, makes the Smokey Joe Gold my favorite, but it is hard to go wrong with either.
So they both have thier pros and cons but really, for around $30, either model is a must have in my book. They fit in the trunk of the car easily, making them an awesome take along grill for tailgating, camping or boating (or for a balcony). Even if you aren’t traveling, the Smokey Joe is a great grill if you only grill small amounts of food or just want to grill over charcoal every once in a while. Weber even makes a really nice carrying case for the grill. At around $22, it is pretty close to the price of the grill, but it is handy if you are transporting the grill often enough. It has a shoulder strap, so you can more easily throw your back out trying to carry everything in one trip.