In some parts of the world, the name Weber is synonymous with quality. The products manufactured and sold by this company offer an excellent cooking performance, durability, reliability, as well as the ease of use. Their outdoor grills are popular with beginners and veterans alike, and for a good reason.
In case you’re looking for a portable grill to bring with you on a hike, picnic, or to tailgate, the Weber 18″ Jumbo Joe might be your best choice. The model can take a serious beating – both its ash catcher and the dampers are rust-resistant.
The portability of this model is apparent right from the start. Not only is it small in size, but also lightweight, so it’s pretty easy to move it from one place to another. The unit’s shape reminds of the original Weber Kettle – one can quickly identify it as a high-quality product.
However, the only way to determine its actual value for the money is to take a closer look at its features. In the following paragraphs, we’ll analyze the characteristics of Weber 18″ Jumbo Joe and help you realize if it’s the grill you were looking for. Keep reading and find out everything about its advantages, as well as possible flaws.
This is a portable 18″ charcoal grill manufactured by Weber-Stephen Products LLC (Illinois).
- Small and lightweight – portable
- Easy transport – locking bar holds the lid in place
- 240 square inches of cooking space
- Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
- Three-leg design with an ash catcher
- Two rust-resistant dampers
- Glass-reinforced nylon handle
This is the largest of the portable charcoal grills that the company has on offer. Its cooking surface is the same as the one found on the smaller Original Kettle. It is available in only one color – black.
Why Get It?
The Weber 18″ Jumbo Joe became available for purchase in October of 2012. Its dimensions stand at 19.8″ x 20.5″ x 19.8″ and its weight at 18 pounds (8.1kg). Most portable charcoal grills are too small in size, but not this one – here are the exact measurements:
The distance between the grate and the grill is 3.5″, with the grate being 13″ around. The distance between the grill and the lid is 4.5″. The air space under the model’s grate is around 2.75″. The inside diameter, on the other hand, stands at around 15 inches.
All of this means that the model doesn’t have enough space for, say, a whole turkey. However, that’s not something most people would cook on their camping trips. The model has no clearance issues when it comes to hot dogs, hamburger patties, steaks, or any other picnic food.
When it comes to assembly, we have only words of praise. Putting together this portable grill is exceptionally easy, and doesn’t take more than 15 minutes. The unit is accompanied by an informative, illustrated user manual. You’ll only need the most basic hand tools, such as the pliers, screwdriver, and the crescent wrench.
The design of this model is an iconic one, and immediately recognizable as something produced by Weber’s engineers. Their 18 1/2″ charcoal grill is still among the most widely used products of this type in the world. It really is no wonder that the company decided to design and construct a portable version, too.
The Weber 18″ Jumbo Joe is, actually, successful reproduction of an older model. However, it comes with a couple of better features, as well as with a newly designed bottom vent. It sports the same cooking area of the full-sized variant (240 square inches), although it has a significantly smaller body. With the lid height being limited, you won’t be able to prepare a whole chicken. But, as we said, not many people expect a grill of this size to cook large poultry.
Aside from the size, this product is quite similar to the other Smoke Joes. It has the same lid-mounted vents and the popular three-leg design. As expected, it has a porcelain-enameled bowl and lid, as well as the glass-reinforced nylon handle. The “Tuck and Carry Lid Holder” is there to allow easy transport.
One thing we’re particularly pleased with is the quality of the lid and base. They sport the same durable coating and tight construction found on the company’s big kettles.
The cooking grate is still-plated, while the aluminum dampers on the bottom and the top come rust-resistant. They also provide the user with good control of air and heat, which is vital for successful cooking.
While on the subject of the model’s shape, let’s also debunk a popular myth. Many people think that the parabolic shape of Weber’s kettles is more efficient when it comes to heat reflection. This is not entirely true. In reality, most of the heat comes from the surface of the coals. There’s only a small amount of heat being reflected off the bowl’s curved bottom. In other words, the parabolic shape is, actually, as equally as efficient as a square box.
Ease of Cleaning & Warranty
When it comes to cleaning, the Weber 18″ Jumbo Joe has an aluminum dish. It serves as an ash catcher, and it is located underneath the bottom damper. An important thing here is that the ash-catcher is rust-resistant, just like the dampers.
Although we’re fans of Weber’s One-Touch cleaning system, we’re aware of the fact that it has no place on a portable model. Still, this unit is very easy to keep clean. When it comes to warranty, it’s the standard Weber deal – 10 years on the lid and the bowl.
Versus the Original Kettle
As we said, the design of this charcoal grill is quite similar to that of the company’s Original Kettle. However, there a couple of significant differences between these two appliances. Unlike the Jumbo Joe, the Original Kettle was not made for portability but as a go-to home grill.
Another significant difference is the size of the clearance under the lid, as well as the size of the grates. The Original Kettle also sports the popular One-Touch cleaning system, which is absent on Weber 18″ Jumbo Joe. Those looking for a model that they want to use at home only shouldn’t really consider the Jumbo Joe for purchase.
Pros & Cons
- Great for picnics and hikes
- Small, lightweight & portable
- Quality Weber construction
- Heavy-gauge steel charcoal grate
- Easy assembly
- Tuck & Carry lid holder
- Excellent temperature control
- Ash catcher included
- 10-year warranty
- Overall 96% 96%
- Limited space under the lid
“After spending some time looking for a small, portable charcoal grill, I finally went with Weber 18″ Jumbo Joe. I made the right choice. This BBQ is made from solid materials and is my go-to choice for preparing a few hamburgers or some hot dogs. It also gives me substantially more space than most other portable grills. I was actually surprised by the amount of food that you can grill/smoke with Jumbo Joe.” -Vincent
For a portable grill, the 240 square inches of cooking space is more than enough. If you’re often preparing thinner items, such as skewers, pork chops, or burgers, you’ll have no issues with this grill.
What to Watch Out For
Limited space under the lid
Those who decide to go with this grill have to accept the fact that it was made to be portable. This means limited space under the cover. You won’t be able to cook a whole chicken in it, as it was made for food such as burgers and sausages.
If the manufacturer decided to add a couple of inches of clearance, we’d have a real portable champion. However, that is not the case – the model is best-suited for the typical tailgating meals.
A Piece of Advice
If you’re already using a regular kettle grill and often have picnics, you’re probably concerned about how much space it takes in your trunk. If that’s the case, purchasing the Jumbo Joe would definitely be worth the size downgrade.
Although not as small as most other portable grills, this model is still considerably smaller than the regular BBQs. It doesn’t take too much space wherever you put it while its low weight makes moving it from one place to another exceptionally easy. Portability is the name of the game here, and this model’s primary selling point.
This unit does not have any significant drawbacks. The Weber 18″ Jumbo Joe is large enough to hold up to eight burgers. This is more than enough for any picnic or tailgate. It is lightweight and compact enough for grilling-on-the-go and allows the user to easily control the internal temperature.
Moreover, it features a quality Weber construction, easily withstanding the daily wear and tear. Affordable and accompanied by a 10-year warranty, the model is a genuinely tempting offer. If you’re often taking your family to picnics, you’ll find that it’s one of the best options currently on the market. Its size, construction quality, and useful features are all reasons behind its best-selling status.