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Weber Kettle Grill Review: A Hands-on Overview

By Dylan Clay
Last Updated 
May 12, 2022

Of the Grills I own, the Weber Kettle is the one I find myself using the most. Weber is also a company that's essentially synonymous with barbecue at this point.

The short of it is - the Weber Kettle is what I believe to be one of the best grills and even smokers to exist, especially at a fair price-point.

To Preface this Review

The Weber kettle was the first grill I ever learned on and is perfect for beginners.

The last Weber kettle I owned was given to me by my father and lasted 10+ years; The grill is so old that it doesn't have newer features like a lid thermometer, handle heat shield, or lid hanger.

old weber kettle

Nevertheless, it works and has put out some of the best barbecue I've ever eaten.

However, one of the blades on the one-touch cleaning system broke and rather than replacing it, I opted to buy a new one.

While there are a number of different Kettle grills these days - it's hard to beat the price of the Weber kettle. I also know the grill will last me another 10+ years because I don't treat my grills poorly and Weber doesn't skimp on materials.

Weber Kettle Revew: What to Expect

I purchased the Weber Premium Kettle on November 21st, 2021. The color I opted to go with was Green as my last Kettle was black; The only other color choice for the premium kettle is copper.

weber kettle purchase receipt

The grill arrived on December 3rd, 2021 and I set it up the same day.

Weber Kettle Assembly

Assembling the Weber Kettle is a super straightforward process - the manual is fairly easy to understand. If you're more visually inclined, they also have a video that goes over the process.

weber kettle inside box
Parts Inside the Weber Kettle Box

Overall, assembly took me 20-30 minutes.

The only thing extra that you need for assembly is a mallet or hammer to tap the wheel hub caps on. Everything else that you need to assemble the grill comes packaged.

Gripes with Assembly

weber kettle fully assembled
Weber Kettle Fully Assembled

The only problem I had with assembly is with the legs and getting them installed correctly. This is sort of hard to explain without you physically setting up the grill.

It almost feels like the legs aren't made flush to fit well into their holes. This results in you getting upset - or in my case mad - inevitably scratching the legs slightly near their base (not capable of being seen).

With that said, the above is a common problem that a lot of folks have trouble with.

My best friend actually just bought a Weber Kettle for the first time and asked me if I had trouble installing the legs and triangle leg support - which I said yes!

So if you're experiencing trouble, just know that you're not alone.

Once you get the legs in though, everything else is straight forward and you never have to deal with it again.

What I Like About the Weber Kettle

There is a lot to like about the Weber Kettle.

For starters - the price.

You'd be super hard pressed to find a more affordable grill with 22 inches of grilling space, engineered from decent materials, for the same price, with a long warranty.

At the time of purchase, the Green Weber Kettle Premium was $194.00; However, the prices of grills changes regularly as seasons change.

Typically, prices drop in the Winter months when demand is low and increases in the Summer when demand is high - If you're in the market for a new grill, always wait till Winter.

Secondly, the Weber Kettle is built to last - truly.

The first Weber Kettle I used was my Dad's and it lasted what seemed to be forever. He then bought me a Weber kettle that lasted roughly 12 years.

This durability is due large in part to Weber using nearly the same exact design since 1952. The bowl and lid are both made of steel that's coated with porcelain enamel.

The enamel is baked on at 1,500F - which is enough to hold up to any heat you throw at the grill as well as potential rust and burn through problems.

The dampers are made of aluminum and the hinged grill grates are made of heavy-duty plated steel.

The Weber Kettle is also very easy to use. Simply light a charcoal chimney of charcoal, arrange your briquettes or lump charcoal based on what you're grilling/smoking, adjust your vents, and you're off to the races.

Lastly - it's super versatile.

The Weber Kettle is capable of searing steak, grilling hamburgers and hotdogs, vegetables, etc. It can also be easily transformed into a smoker through the strategic arrangement of charcoal.

weber kettle searing skirt steak
Searing Skirt Steak on My Old Weber Kettle

The biggest piece of meat that people will smoke is a brisket and the 22" kettle can fit a 10-13 lb brisket no problem. The hinged grates also make adding charcoal or wood chunks much easier.

weber kettle brisket
Smoking Brisket on My New Weber Kettle

What I Don't Like About the Weber Kettle

A lot of the issues I had with my old Weber Kettle were entirely rectified with the newer iterations.

With that said, I really only have one problem with the Weber Kettle and it's with the way Weber opted to setup their lid thermometer.

The current setup looks like this:

The image above demonstrates the issue. The lid thermometer and the exhaust damper are placed on opposite sides.

Rather the exhaust damper and the lid thermometer should be on the same side.

The above is the most basic arrangement for charcoal when smoking meat. You have a hot zone (where the coals are) and a cool zone (where the meat is placed).

The exhaust vent is placed over the food because you want to pull smoke over your meat.

In this setup, the lid thermometer is measuring the temperature of the hot zone (above the coals) rather than the cool zone (where the food is place).

Smoking meat implies lower temperatures of about 225 - 275F.

If you're someone who has never smoked meat before and you look at the lid thermometer, you might panic when you see 400F on your lid thermometer.

Just know that 400F over the fire is roughly 250F in the cool zone.

To make this even simpler, you could buy another thermometer to upgrade the kettle and install it on the exhaust damper side at grate-level.

Upgrading the Weber Kettle?

Due to the issue above, one of the only modifications I'd make is adding a second thermometer to the lid at grate-level.

tel-tru thermometer installed

A popular brand for thermometers is Tel-Tru. I opted to buy one and used a drill and a step drill bit. The Tel-Tru then threads in the hole and secured via a locking nut.

The stem is 2.5 inches and the thermometer measures 0 - 500F.

The lid thermometer that comes with the grill goes up to 600F. There are other thermometers that can go up to 700F but in my opinion, the "smoke thermometer" you're installing only really needs to measure between 225 - 275F for smoking.

Having said all of this, this upgrade is not necessary to smoke on the weber kettle.

To reiterate, roughly 400F over your fire is 250F over the meat.

Competitor's to the Weber Kettle?

Truly, the only real competitor to the Weber Premium Kettle is Slow N' Sear's 22" kettle - which they launched in 2020.

If you're someone who doesn't smoke meat and has no interest in doing so, I wouldn't even consider buying the SNS Kettle.

The Weber kettle is perfect for backyard grilling.

However, if you're someone who is interested in smoking meat, it's definitely worthy of consideration.

The only reason I say that is because if you're like me, you may enjoy experimenting with different add-ons and accessories.

A good example is the Slow N' Sear deluxe (read my review here) - which is an add-on for kettle grills that essentially creates a quintessential two-zone fire (pictured below).

slow n' sear weber kettle

After testing and reviewing it for over 6 months, I can safely safe I'm a big fan of the Slow N' Sear, however, I don't think it's absolutely necessary to make smoking feasible on a charcoal grill.

For over 15+ years I simply used the minion method or charcoal snake to smoke (pictured below) with and that still works perfectly fine. I mean I didn't even have the fancy lid thermometer that I have now and did everything with a old meat probes hanging from exhaust vent near the meat.

weber kettle snake method

Over time though the accessories you buy start to add up. Where-as with the Slow N' Sear Kettle you essentially get everything you need to smoke with.

To illustrate, we can look at the added features and determine if they're necessary:

  • Easy Spin Grill Grate - Not really necessary. A pair of tongs accomplishes the same thing.
  • Slow N' Sear Deluxe - Can be mimicked with the minion method or charcoal snake.
  • Side Shelf - Weber also offers other models with a side shelf.
  • Lid Cradle - Weber has a lid hanger.
  • A Probe Port for Your Meat Probe - Most probes have flexible wires that can go under the lid while maintaining a tight seal; They are also heat resistant. There are also great wireless probes these days.
  • A smoke hole for adjusting airflow - This is aside from simply adjusting the intake and exhaust; I can personally dial in 225 - 275 with no issues.
  • Correct orientation of lid thermometer - Fixed with a $30-50 Tel-tru thermometer and a drill.
  • Strong Warranty - Both the Weber kettle and SNS are similar in terms of parts and long warranties.

Add-ons like the above quickly take the Weber Premium kettle to roughly the same price-point; At the time of Writing this article, the SNS Deluxe kettle is $379.99 on their website.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there is a lot to like about the Weber Kettle. It's relatively inexpensive as far as grills/smokers go and it will essentially last a decade or longer. Products like that in the barbecue world rarely exist.

The Weber Kettle is versatile in terms of being able to sear something like skirt steak or smoke something like brisket for 12+ hours.

Dylan Clay
I've grilled and smoked meat for roughly half my life. While i'm not a professional Pitmaster, I've worked with nearly every cut of meat. Not everyone has a hands on guide to teach them BBQ. It's my hope that Barbecue FAQ can be that helping hand.

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