If you are looking to bring the great taste of charcoal grilling with you to a campsite, on a hike, or to a tailgate, the Jumbo Joe is the grill for you. This grill features rust-resistant dampers and a rust-resistant ash catcher so that it can remain with you even if it takes a beating from the weather.
The portability of this grill is evident in its size and the built-in lid-locking feature. It is lightweight and easy to carry even for the weakest among us. I love that the shape is representative of the original Weber Kettle, so it is easily identifiable as a fantastic, high-quality product.
The Jumbo Joe is the largest portable charcoal grill Weber offers. It features the same size cooking surface as the smaller Original Kettle as well, so you won’t want for space even while you are traveling the country.
Jumbo Joe Specifications and Dimensions
To get a better idea of this grill’s identity, let’s take a look at some numbers.
- Grilling Area: 240 inches of primary cooking area
- Grates: Plated steel cooking grate, heavy-gauge steel charcoal grate
- Dampers: Two rust-resistant aluminum dampers
- Materials: Porcelain-enameled bowl and lid
- Heat Source: Charcoal
- Dimensions (with lid closed):7”H x 19.7”W x 20.5”D, Diameter: 18”
- Color Availability: Black
- Warranty: 10 years on bowl and lid, 5 years on one touch cleaning system and plastic components, and 2 years on remaining parts
On Weber’s website, this grill had 16 reviews with 100% being 5 or 4 stars.
With compliments on easy temperature control, excellent portability and a large cooking surface, the reviews on the Jumbo Joe are almost all positive. There are a few negative comments on Amazon reviews that reflected on delivery or non-product related issues rather than accurate marks for the grill.
What Makes the Jumbo Joe Great
This grill is fantastic because it has a large grilling surface but remains entirely portable. The lid-locking feature works wonderfully and adds to the ease of use you would expect from a Weber product.
Unlike many larger grills, the Jumbo Joe is a quick and easy grill to assemble for even a novice. The ease of this process means you can get grilling faster, which is an excellent thing to have in a portable grill.
Finally, the temperature control on the Jumbo Joe is outstanding. The vents on top allow enough air out to control the heat as you cook, but when you seal them completely, they easily put out the burning coals underneath.
The Down Side
What I don’t love about this grill is the limited space under the lid. You won’t want to assume you can cook a whole chicken in the Jumbo Joe. It is strictly for thinner items like burgers, pork chops, and skewers.
If the Weber team had opted for an additional one to two inches of clearance, this grill would have it all. Unfortunately, that is not the case, so it is best suited for your typical tailgating foods, not a large, bone-in feast.
Versus the Original Kettle 22”
The Jumbo Joe’s look is based on the look of the Original Kettle charcoal grill, but there are some key differences. First, the Jumbo Joe is made for portability, where the Original Kettle is built to be your go-to home charcoal grill.
The Kettle is portable if you want to bring it to a BBQ or tailgate party, but it would be best suited for a permanent campsite or moving only as often as you swap apartments.
The other big differences are the size of the grates and clearance under the lid. The Kettle also has a one-touch cleaning system that is lacking in the Joe.
Overall, if you are looking for a great portable grill, I would still recommend the Jumbo Joe. However, if you would like a charcoal grill for mainly home use, the Original Kettle is the way to go.
Versus the Go Anywhere
The Go Anywhere charcoal grill is a great option for portability but is quite a bit smaller than the Jumbo Joe. It is also a different shape, featuring a rectangular body. Because of the Go Anywhere grill’s size, it is slightly lighter than the Jumbo Joe and features more handles for more comfortable travel.
I can’t say that there is a lot wrong with the Go Anywhere grill. It is simply smaller and thinner than the Jumbo Joe. Unfortunately, that does leave a bit to be desired in terms of effortless cooking of things other than burgers and hotdogs.
The closeness of the coals on the Go Anywhere is not as desirable as the space you get with the Joe. The distance to the coals makes a large difference when cooking to get an even doneness, so the Jumbo Joe is a better option for cooking things like steaks and burgers.
Overall the cooking surface size, as well as the even cooking of the Jumbo Joe are well worth the extra ten to fifteen dollars you will spend over the Go Anywhere.
The Go grill is lighter and a nice shape for packing during travel, but the Jumbo Joe will accommodate much more food, and is still worth any small hassle it may cause based on shape alone.
Versus the Smokey Joe Premium 14”
The Smokey Joe Premium is more or less a smaller version of the Jumbo Joe. It has the same body style in a more compact size and weight. It even features the same tuck-n-carry lid style that the Jumbo Joe has, so the products are incredibly similar.
The reason that the Smokey Joe is a great portable grill is the same reason that I don’t recommend it: the size.
If you are concerned about how much room you have in your trunk or on the picnic table at the beach, it might be worth the size downgrade. In most cases you could efficiently use the Jumbo Joe in the same situations as the Smokey Joe, while cooking a more significant quantity of food at a time.
The Smokey Joe features only 147 square inches of cooking space versus the Jumbo Joe’s 240. Nearly 100 fewer square inches is a big difference, especially if you’re grilling for a crowd.
There is nothing wrong with the Smokey Joe. It is a solid grill. Both it and the Jumbo Joe feature the iconic Original Kettle shape, so people will know you opted for the consistency and legacy of the Weber name. The Jumbo Joe is a simply a better value for the size and will work for you in more instances than the smaller Smokey Joe.