Weber Smokey Joe [Charcoal Grill Review]


The Weber Smokey Joe is one of the barbecue brand’s most iconic and popular charcoal grills. Does it still hold up? Find out everything you need to know with our Smokey Joe review.

weber smokey joe

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During the summer, there is nothing better than firing up the grill and making a juicy steak or chicken breast.  Throwing some peppers and onions in olive oil to sear up along with your meat is the perfect outdoor treat to make for dinner.  If you have an outdoor charcoal grill, being able to smoke a meal until it’s tender and juicy is one of the greatest parts about having a grill in general.

Some grills are better than others and preferences are all over the charts when it comes to grill masters.

However, there is a certain outdoor charcoal grill that seems to be the most popular among grilling connoisseurs: The Weber Smokey Joe.

Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill, Black
  • Load up the car and hit the road with your Smokey Joe portable charcoal grill. Its durable,...
  • Holds up to five burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go

Similar to the Jumbo Joe, the Weber Smokey Joe is the perfect size for tailgating, camping or sitting on the back deck of your house.  It has a sleek nylon handle that allows you to lift up the lid while you are cooking something and not burn your hand.

This is the perfect traveling grill; it can easily fit a few steaks, a package of hot dogs or a couple chicken wings and vegetables – it even comes with a 10 year guarantee!  This is one of the best outdoor grills in the cooking business.

When it comes to the performance of the Weber Smokey Joe grill, this one tops them all.  The charcoal that is used to cook your food will ensure an even cook and will quickly prepare your meats for you.

Even using it in the winter is an option because this outdoor charcoal grill is small and simple enough to use in a garage during the cold weather.

By replacing your charcoal every so often you will be sure to make everything you cook fresh, juicy and tender every time, no matter what.

The Weber Smokey Joe grill is by far one of the best outdoor charcoal grills in the cooking industry and business and is highly recommended by all users of it.  Whether you live in a small apartment and can use it on your balcony or if you are cooking out before a ball game, this outdoor charcoal grill is convenient and very easy to use.

Even though it may be smaller than a normal grill, it delivers a huge blast of taste to every piece of food that is cooked by its charcoal flames.

I have several go-to grills at home. A few weeks ago, I found myself needing something a little different. It had to be a grill that was easy to carry from one place to another. That led me to do some research and product testing. One of the portable grills that I tried was the Weber Smokey Joe. If you are considering purchasing it, this post will give you some insight into what you can expect from it. 


The Smokey Joe has a 37cm diameter on the cooking area. The first thing that will catch your eye is the shiny finish that it has. It has a polished look.

The handle and the stand are great additions to it. Not only do they play integral roles. They also add to the aesthetics. Do not judge the room in it just by looking at it. It can go either way. It is easy to perceive it as being able to accommodate more food than it can. Or to think it is too small. We will look into its space and what you can fit in it. 


As previously mentioned, we wanted a grill that would be one that could be easily carried. The Weber Smokey Joe has a tuck-n-carry lid. It allows you to take it from one place to another. That lid has a comfortable handle that is heatproof. It means not only can you move the grill to the perfect spot, but you can also move it from one spot to another while the meat cooks. We advise caution for the latter.

The Smokey Joe weighs less than 10 pounds. It has dimensions of 15.37 x 8.75 x 15.12 inches. 

What’s in the box?

  • Assembly Guide
  • Grill User Manual
  • Ash Catcher
  • Legs
  • Pack of nuts and bolts
  • Handle
  • Two Grates
  • Lid 
  • Base

You will need to use a flat screwdriver and a star one to put it all together. The instructions that it comes with are easy to follow. The only cautionary tale would be regarding the handle. Do not screw it on too tight. 

Cooking area space

Portability means that there is also less room on the grill. Fortunately, you can fit up to 5 burgers on the cooking space. That is enough room for two to three steaks. 

Build/construction/durability & heat retention

The body of the grill is made of porcelain enamel. It has then finished off with some rustproof coating. That makes it more suitable for various weather conditions and general outdoor use. 

Heat retention and control is just as simple. There are aluminium dampers for this purpose. Engaging them will allow the free movement of air, which works as a heat control mechanism. It releases heat that will have built up within the grill. You can use the dampers when the lead is closed. It minimises the amount of air going into the grill, which reduces the chances of a gust igniting flames. 

Fuel type

You can use either wood pellets or charcoal in the Smokey Joe. Your choice is based on what you are using the grill for. If you like favouring your meat with the fuel, the wood pellet would be the way to go. Charcoal tends to burn longer. 


  • It is easy to carry around.
  • There is not much setting up involved.
  • There are suitable heat control mechanisms in place.
  • It does not take much to clean it.
  • It has a heat resistant handle on the lid.


  • The handle can be brittle if screwed on too tight. 

How to use it

The first step to using this grill is setting it up. It comes with removable legs that slot under it. The legs provide it with stability. That is a critical feature when you are dealing with heat. There is an ash catcher platform under the legs. It does a great job of collecting ash as it builds up during cooking. That makes cleaning a bit easier. 

Once the legs are in place, you can add your fuel to the grill. My preference would be to have no more than half the container. That gives you some wiggle room later. You can choose to add more fuel if you need it. Getting rid of excess fuel is an unnecessary and risky task. 

Get the fire started and allow it some time to settle before placing the plated steel cooking grate. I would recommend placing the grate over the fire for a few minutes before you start cooking. That gives the heat enough time to get rid of any impurities or bacteria that may be lingering. 

Allow the fuel time to heat up. Make sure that there isn’t too much flame before you start cooking. Use the lead to preserve heat when necessary. It also does a great job of controlling the flame. Shutting the grill deprives it of air, which contains the fire. 

Speaking of temperature control. Do not forget to utilise your dampers. They are made just for this purpose. All you need to do is align the openings and let the air freely move in and out of the grill. Opening the dampers lets some cold air come in when you think it has gotten too hot. 

How to clean it

Cleaning the grill can be done part by part. Here are some things that you will need:

  • Water bowl with soapy water.
  • Scourer
  • Wire brush

Use the water to scrub the exterior part of the grill. You must get rid of any debris. You can do this using the scourer or just a cleaning cloth. What you use will depend on the dirt that you are dealing with. If you use the scourer, be gentle, as it may scratch the paint.

The cooking grate is the most challenging part to clean. We have reserved the wire brush for it. You will not always need to use the wire brush. At times the scourer and some soap will do the job. Introduce the brush for the stubborn burns and stains that are difficult to get rid of. 

It is always good practice to soak the cooking grate for at least half an hour before cleaning it. That will soften the burns and make your life a whole lot easier. 


Based on our experience with the grill and everything covered in this post, we would recommend the Weber Smokey Joe grill. If I had to put a number on it, I would say that it is best suited for a group of up to 4 people at most. Two people could use it. The rustproof coating was the clincher for me. It means that there is durability built into the grill.

Weber Smokey Joe 14-Inch Portable Grill, Black
  • Load up the car and hit the road with your Smokey Joe portable charcoal grill. Its durable,...
  • Holds up to five burgers made with a Weber burger press
  • Compact and lightweight for grilling on the go

Last update on 2024-06-21 / Affiliate links / Images from Amazon Product Advertising API

About the Author

Ben Isham-Smith

A BBQ obsessive, Ben is behind 250+ of The Online Grill’s recipes, as well as countless barbecue guides to help barbecue newbies get to grips with the world’s best form of cooking.

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