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The Wonderful Weber Kettle Grill

webergoldI’m not a member of the cult of the Big Green Egg. And truth be told, it’s because I’m cheap.

Even though I know all about the low-heat/high-heat advantages of ceramic kamado-style cookers, I’m simply not willing to invest $700 when I can get so much more bang for the buck for $100.

To me, the kettle-style charcoal grill, pioneered by Weber, is one of the most perfect, durable and affordable devices ever invented for capturing the cooking power of live fire and smoke.  I have a Weber right now that’s lasted for over a decade and is still going strong.

The basic 22.5-inch Weber model is $99 at Lowes, though you can spend $299 for the One-Touch Gold 26.75-inch model, which includes nice features like an enclosed ash catcher.

It also includes a hinged stainless steel cooking grate that lets you easily add charcoal or wood chunks when you’re indirect grilling or smoking. That’s a $29 upgrade for the basic model that I would highly recommend, along with a chimney starter and a rib rack.

You can use almost any outdoor cooking technique on a kettle grill, including direct grilling, indirect grilling, smoke-roasting and smoking.

I grill steaks and burgers, make beer-can chicken and chicken under a brick, smoke pork shoulders and use a combination of smoking, indirect grilling and direct grilling to make baby back ribs.

My guru is Steven Raichlen, who is sponsored by Weber. But being a Weber fan, myself, that’s OK.

I think Raichlen is a really smart guy, especially when it comes to translating grill and barbecue techniques for home cooks. I’ve interviewed him several times and tested a whole bunch of his recipes with near perfect results.

If you’ve never figured out a foolproof method for cooking ribs, Raichlen’s First-Timers Ribs recipe is a go-to. You can find it on his website here:

Are you a Big Green Egg head? A cheapo Weber devotee, like me?

We’ll be talking about this stuff all week, during Food and More Grill Week.

Let the arguments and discussions begin.

— Bob Townsend, Food and More blog.

21 comments Add your comment


July 1st, 2013
3:57 pm

Weber all the way. I have a Smokey Joe that I use most of the time for steaks, burgers and boneless chicken. A 22.5″ for whole chickens, pork tenderloins, turkey breasts, rib roasts, Boston butts or if I’m having guests and need more cooking space. I also have an old 28″ in case I need even more room. Lastly I have an 18″ that I picked up from a neighbor that moved thinking I would use it under my deck in case it rains, but the Smokey Joe placed just under the eaves works just fine.
I love my Weber!


July 1st, 2013
4:32 pm

I agree 100%. I am a huge Weber fan. In fact, I am not sure a Big Green Egg is better than a Weber kettle if you know what you are doing. I am on my second (after 15 years) Weber Performer and also have the Weber 22.5″ Smokey Mountain Cooker. I can certainly afford a ceramic cooker but why bother when the results are excellent from the Weber? The kettle grill is very versatile from smoking meats like brisket or pork shoulder to high heat searing like tuna or beef steaks.
We rarely eat at a high end steakhouse because the results are so good at home. I cooked some awesome Chicken alla Diavola last night.

We have guests coming over on Wednesday evening for steaks and I know they cook on a gas grill at home. The will be blown away by the flavor from the Weber.

Although you don’t mention the Weber bullet smokers (Smokey Mountain Cooker) they are awesome as well. I have used the Smokey Mountain Cooker for just a few racks of ribs or 16 hour smoked pork butt for over 100 people. I would put my Weber smoked pork up against just about any BBQ restaurant in town. In fact, proving you don’t need high end equipment, some of the major BBQ contests have been won with Weber equipment.

Doc Hollidawg

July 1st, 2013
5:01 pm

I have had Weber’s myself over the years and still have a 22.5 incher. Unforuntately, what it is used for now is to hold my extra Big Green Egg grates, plate setter and other random items. I also use it to light my chimney starter for the BGE. Love my BGE…but my first grill love was my Weber. Like Primal Grill too….that dude can cook.


July 1st, 2013
5:28 pm

Weber all the way. Great for steaks, pork chops and loins, chicken, burgers,hot dogs, etc.. I have a 22″ that is over 30 years old and is still going strong. The family gave me a new 22″ for Christmas that I’m working into the rotation. If it lasts as well as the first, it will be going stong long after I’m gone.


July 1st, 2013
7:07 pm

As you can tell, most real barbeque people have numerous grills. Gas for easy and quick, Weber 22 1/2″ for when they have more time and a smoker that may be a barrel type. And those with big money will go Big Green Egg–which cost more like $1,100 for the large model.

In the middle is Weber’s $300ish Smokey Mountain Smoker. The Bradley Smokers powered by an automatic wood puck burner is also a great product.

But if you invest in a set of GrillGrates and a Smokenator to go in the Weber 22 1/2″ grill, you’ve easily got the best all round barbeque machine available. These items are available on, and they’ll do it all. It just doesn’t get better than that.


July 1st, 2013
8:45 pm

Getting ready to slap a juicy rib-eye on my Weber kettle grill right now…am on day 4 of 7 Days of Grilling, leading up to the 4th of July. All hail the Weber kettle :)


July 1st, 2013
9:03 pm

iPhone 5, MacBook and Mac Mini all the way! Oh, wrong thread.


July 1st, 2013
10:42 pm

I have a Smokey Joe for tailgating and a BGE for home. I agree that you can do a lot in a Weber kettle if you know what you are doing. I stuffed a 5 lb. pork loin with fruit and pecans, wrapped it in bacon, and cooked it in my Smokey Joe at a car camp site in May (had to modify the lid with foil to make it work). It’s a lot easier in the Egg.

My problem with Raichlen’s First-Timers Ribs Recipe is that I don’t see how you can smoke baby back ribs properly in 90 minutes of cooking. I don’t care if it’s cooked in a kettle or an Egg, it won’t be done. Maybe in a pressure cooker, but then you have major texture issues. It takes twice that long, even if you braise in foil for a while.

The myth of soaking wood chunks is another topic.

[...] The Wonderful Weber Kettle Grill [...]


July 2nd, 2013
6:28 am

one of thebest resturants ever is the weber grill in chicago founded by the company they have


July 2nd, 2013
6:30 am

one of the best resturants ever is the weber grill in chicago where they are from company owned, it has massive industrial webers in the kitchen and it is all charcoal and smoked best steak and pork chops i hae ever had


July 2nd, 2013
7:58 am

Weber. Leave the BGE for the typical Atlanta Yuppies…..


July 2nd, 2013
8:33 am

I have that exact grill and I love it. Nothing like sitting on my deck waiting on my 3 beer fire to get ready.

Finn McCool

July 2nd, 2013
8:58 am

Nope, not a fan. My house has electricity and gas so we cook our food inside.

jk. hehehehe

Tokyo Tom

July 2nd, 2013
9:37 am

I’ve never used a BGE so I can’t really compare- but I have been using my Weber now for nearly 12 years without complaint. I use my Weber for grilling/smoking as well as smoke curing bacon, salmon, and even cheese! When a big group comes over I grill for entrees and then, while all are eating, cook dessert in a cast iron dutch oven that I place in the coals (shoveling some on top for all around heat).

Weber Grills do need constant attention when smoking to keep a consistent temperature and there are air blowers designed for that purpose but I don’t have one. One other advantage- when finished cooking/smoking, closing the air vents keeps the leftover coals from burning- so they can reused the next time I grill.


July 2nd, 2013
9:57 am

Yeah I love my performer . It’s versatility is incredible . If you put fire brick on one side and put a foil basket with water over the brickets (heat sink ) you basically have a Smokey Mountain Cooker . Actually I can cook Q better on my kettle than anything else . Yeah I love BBQ U . Funny I got Raichlen’s Barbeque Bible on a FP slickdeal last week for 5 dollars to my door last week . I think the site was . Jamie Perviance also does a great job with Webers grilling books .

Big Grill Daddy

July 2nd, 2013
1:29 pm

I agree with the comments about Webers. In defense of the BGE, the BGE retains heat better than just about any kind of grill in cold, windy conditions.


July 3rd, 2013
8:29 am

Weber, no doubt!!!

I am in the market for a new smoker, Was told the ‘Old Smokey Electric’ for $199,00 was a good product in that price range ($200 to $250). Any suggestions. Thanks!


July 4th, 2013
9:45 am

Hey Baltisraul: I second the notion of a dedicated smoker. I know that a Weber can be used to smoke, but the notion of having to tend it, adding charcoal and regulating temps for 6, 8, 10 hours just doesn’t work for me. And even the BGE requires an add-on temp control unit like the BBQ Guru and DigiQ controller to make smoking a hands-off operation.

So I’d personally recommend a hands-off unit. Pellet smokers are the trendy choice, but quite expensive. Personally I use a SmokinTex electric smoker. Out of your listed price range but clearly outperforms the Old Smokey from what I can see of the comments. I know purists are not big fans of electric smokers, but I find the “turn it on, set the temp, and come back 8 hours later” means I actually use it on a regular, near-weekly basis. I know there is the romance of constantly hovering over a wood or charcoal smoker, but at least for me, I just don’t have the time or patience to sit by a smoker all day.

Really though, the best suggestion by far is to go to Meathead’s site is THE definitive resource on all things BBQ and includes in depth reviews of an amazing number of smokers, grills, thermometers, accessories, etc. Not to mention fabulous recipes and how-to guides. He has not reviewed the Old Smokey yet but there are some very detailed comments from current owners.

BTW: If I were to buy another electric smoker, I’d go Cookshack rather than SmokinTex. They are essentially identical in design, but the CS is built in America and has the reputation of being sturdier, for about the same price. Though I will say that my ST has held up great over four years now.

But the bottom line–check out Meathead at He answers posts reliably too if you have specific questions.


July 8th, 2013
8:56 am

Mark…….thanks a lot, great info for me to follow up on. My daughter wants to start learning to use a smoker. She is getting my 3 year old Masterbilt to get started. I have till Aug 8th to get a new one. Don’t want to have any gaps in my outdoor cooking schedule. I purchased her first grill (Weber) last year and she is hooked.