Best Portable Charcoal Grills- Weber 40020 Smokey Joe Premium Review

The grill I’ve found to be best for anyone making their way to a tailgate party or campsite, cooking for a couple or alone, or just grilling at an outdoor location where space is limited, is the Weber Smokey Joe Premium 14.5” grill.


(This name is new since last year (2015).  It was previously called the Smokey Joe Gold in 2014, and that might be the name you’ll still find it marketed as. The grill hasn’t changed, though.)

The standout perk of having a Smokey Joe Premium in your collection is for its portable nature. When empty, it weighs around 9 pounds and when charcoal’s loaded, 11 pounds roughly, not too much weight where it’d be difficult to bring on a beach commute, and moving it to storage and back out is a cinch.

smokey joe weber grill

Weber Smokey Joe Handle (Tuck n Carry)

One feature that’s close to the best in the grill is its handles, but explaining them isn’t that easy. Notice first the main handle, a nylon glass-reinforced grip that’s also of the same style available on the kettle line of Weber grills. This handle is chunky, doesn’t go warm when touched, and stands up against the elements. You then will notice a metal-derived secondary piece (Weber refers to it as the Tuck-n-Carry lid holder and lid lock). During a grill-out, the lid can be tipped back into the Tuck-n-Carry where it’s used to allow the hot lid to be cradled.

When the grill needs to be transported, this bar piece upwardly pivots to the grill’s top point, rests with the lid handle below it, and keeps the lid secure so that the whole thing isn’t out of place when carried, even if its temp is hot. In addition, when the grill’s cool, you still can one-hand carry it without the lid popping off (where ash is inevitably spilled everywhere.) The (non-Premium) regular Smokey Joe does not have this feature, which only costs $30, but it’s much less difficult to deal with this grill when you have it that the $10 extra is worth it easily.

Spoiler alert: What one of these cost on

Weber Smokey Joe holding a chimney starter
Weber Smokey Joe holding a chimney starter

The Premium Smokey Joe’s grated stainless-steel cooking space measures 147 square inches, adequate enough to serve two people grilled, fully cooked meals. You also can barely just squeeze in six ground burger patties at once, but you won’t have any room for the meat to be moved around the Weber so flare-ups can be avoided.

How much heat is cranked out by the Smokey Joe Premium can be controlled by dumping more or less charcoal into it (no brainer..), and having the three aluminum rust-resistant dampers adjusted (built into the top and side of the Smokey Joe). As it goes for kettles with bigger footprints, the heat of the flame can be raised by having the baffles opened entirely, and if you don’t want as much heat or are indirect cooking, the lid can be closed partially and the baffles slid. After grilling is done, the charcoal is extinguished in little time when the handle’s locked in place and the baffles are closed.

I’ve found that the grill’s temp gets low enough sixty minutes after grilling that it doesn’t feel uncomfortable moving it to a car’s trunk space.

All in all, the grill, with its portability, is great, due to the material quality and far-reaching spare part accessibility such as upgrading the cooking grates with new ones (all eventually wear out), you’ll be likely using for the coming years.

But something you should at some point be told- it’s unlikely your Smokey Joe honeymoon will be cut short before you see your cash forked over to replace one of the components in the grill, because the coverage in the Smokey Joe Premium’s warranty goes 10 years (same as the excellent warranty from the other charcoal Weber grills).

Although Weber may have snuck in the name change from Smokey Joe Gold to Smokey Joe Premium, you still get the same hardware, and it’s certainly loveable hardware.’s Derrick Riches in a write-up awarded the Gold one short of 5 stars and explained that other grills (small charcoal portables) can’t do things that the Gold can do. He mentioned that the portable actually has control in temperature and very similarly works like a Weber of full size.

Considering what little there is I don’t like about the Smokey Joe Premium, I can’t overlook how cramped the space can get when you’re wanting about six burgers simultaneously cooked (although it fits them), leaving sparse room to prevent finished slabs of meat going cold or flare-ups from occurring.

And the kettle’s overall smaller size provides limited space near its base for coals to be strategically piled up. Without this limitation the grill would be more ideal for cooking indirectly, but that can be done if you’re only working with a few vegetable pieces or meat cuts.

To further reiterate what I pointed out above, the complaint could be made that the Smokey Joe’s aluminum legs doesn’t make storage any easier, but since the measurements of the grill are only 16 ½ by 14 ¼ by 17 inches, you can tell that its some decently compact hardware from the start.

Joshmt at English Wikipedia [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY 2.5], via Wikimedia Commons

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