Why I Love the Weber Jumbo Joe
I am a Weber grill fanatic and the world’s largest fan of the Weber Jumbo Joe. I put together a Fanatic’s Guide for this grill to help folks understand what you can accomplish with this grill.
Update 9/27/13: I have created a G+ Community for the Weber Jumbo Joe that is open to anybody on G+. If you have some pictures you would like to share, questions to ask or just want to join up I would love to visit with you over there.
There are three defining characteristics of Weber grills. The first is that they are built to last. The second is that they come with amazing customer service. The third, and most important, is that it is incredibly easy to control the temperature. When you consider long term cost of ownership combined with the pleasure derived from using a product that actually works you will find the long term cost of ownership of a Weber grill to be extremely affordable.
I cook on Webers, write about Webers and tell my friends to buy Webers. I have been cooking on Weber grills and smokers for a decade and have assembled a small collection.
I currently have a 14 inch Weber Smokey Joe Gold, an 18.5 inch Weber Smokey Mountain, an 18.5 inch One Touch Silver, a 22.5 inch Weber Platinum, a Weber Genesis 1000 LX and a Weber Jumbo Joe.
When I cook for my family and friends at their houses I get the chance to play with the Weber Genesis Silver, Weber Genesis 310, Weber Genesis 330 and the Weber Q-100. I love Webers.
So let’s talk about the Jumbo Joe, where it fits into the Weber product line and why I think this is an awesome grill.
Way back when I first started looking at Weber kettles and all of the different choices (there were at least 12 different kettles at the time) I was a bit overwhelmed. My initial attempt was to classify the Weber kettles as either “small”, “medium” or “large”. Although this taxonomy looks rather simplistic, I found its application to be problematic.
It was obvious that at 14 inches the Weber Smokey Joe should be called “small”. It was equally obvious that at 37 inches the Weber Ranch Kettle should be called large. My mistake was in calling the three sizes in between the two extremes (18.5, 22.5 and 26.75) “medium”. By combining the three intermediate sizes into a single category of “medium” I incorrectly started considering them as roughly equivalent.
My muddled thinking resulted in the purchase of the 18.5 inch One Touch Silver. This kettle works great but I quickly realized that it was not big enough to meet my needs. I became upset with myself for buying a grill that was too small. Although I know it isn’t rational I ended up channeling my frustration with myself into anger towards the 18.5 inch One Touch.
When the Weber Jumbo Joe became available in October of 2012 I bought one for amusement. “Hey, let’s add another Weber to the collection!” I had very low expectations for this grill because it also has an 18.5 inch cooking grate and I already disliked this size grill. However, I was building a website and needed some content so I decided to write some posts about putting the Jumbo through its paces. I thought I would write about the pros and cons and highlight the pitfalls of an 18.5 inch grill.
What I soon realized was that I loved this little grill. Sure, it has a few shortcomings, but I started looking at the shortcomings as challenges we could overcome together. I got really confused as to why I hated my 18.5 inch One Touch Silver and loved my 18.5 inch Weber Jumbo Joe. I kept cooking with the grill, writing posts, trying new techniques and building modifications until suddenly I understood.
The 18.5 inch Weber Jumbo Joe is honest. The 18.5 inch Weber One Touch Silver is a liar.
I hated the 18.5 inch One Touch Silver because it is actually a small grill designed to look like a medium grill and it fooled me. The size difference between the 18.5 inch and 22.5 inch grill is HUGE but you do not realize this through casual observation. Not only is the grate on the 22 inch grill 46% larger but the dome is 37% taller. The trick is that when you put them both on tripod legs they don’t look all that different.
I love the Jumbo Joe because it is a small grill that is designed to look like a small grill. If you buy a Weber Jumbo Joe you know exactly what you are getting. I don’t mind small. There is a time and a place for small and if small is what you need then here you go!
I also love the Jumbo Joe because it is a small grill that is big enough.
The 14.5 inch Weber Smokey Joe grills are cute. It is fun to tinker with Smokey Joes and I consider them an essential component to any Weber grill collection. I love my Smokey Joe Gold because of the beauty of its design. It is like a non-annoying kid brother who just wants to hang out with the big boys. But the truth is, despite being cute as heck, the 14.5 inch Weber Smokey Joe just isn’t big enough.
If you need a small grill that can feed a crowd with serious barbecue then the Jumbo Joe is where you need to be.
This guide was developed to help you get the most out of this great little grill so you can come to love it as much as I do.
Here are some fun Accessories for the Weber Jumbo Joe!
Updated 6/20/14 for Oso’s question below.
The lid from the 18.5 OTS will tightly fit the body of the Jumbo Joe. However, the handle on the lid of the OTS is much shorter than on the Jumbo so the lid lock mechanism will not work. I hope this picture explains it better.