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Weber Smokey Joe - opinions?

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Weber Smokey Joe - opinions?

dxs | Mar 17, 2009 12:10 PM

As spring approaches, my thoughts are turning to outdoor grilling... currently I have a gas bbq on my wooden roof deck, but I'm thinking it might be nice to be able to do some charcoal grilling on the weekends. Nothing fancy, a few lamb chops, red mullet if I can find it, small cuts of meat generally.

I've done some research, and I think the Smokey Joe ( http://www.weber.com/grills/default.a... ) fits my criteria (small-ish footprint, classic design, somewhat portable, good quality, under $100) but I have a couple of minor questions and am hoping some of you hounds out there might be able to answer them. When it comes to charcoal bbq I'm a total novice, so please excuse any mangling I may do of terminology etc!

The Smokey Joe comes in two models, gold & silver. From what I can tell, the gold model is 2 inches deeper than the silver, and does not include an exterior ash catcher - I'm assuming this means the gold's ash catcher is inside, and this is what accounts for the extra depth? I'm thinking there must be a reason for the two different configurations to be offered, but I can't for the life of me imagine what it is. So that's question #1 - is one configuration preferable over the other?

Secondly, the fact that this bbq is called 'Smokey' implies that it can be used for, um, smoking. I don't actually plan on doing any smoking, my main use will be grilling meats and the effect I want to achieve is that nice chargrilled flavour that you just don't get with gas. So am I in fact off base in thinking this is the right grill for me? Is there something more basic I could be using?

My last question relates to lighting the charcoal (and I'm thinking I'll be using hardwood charcoal). I've seen threads here on CH strongly recommending the use of a chimney device over something like lighter fluid, but wouldn't that be overkill for a small bbq like the Smokey Joe? And does anyone have any experience with the 'odorless, non-toxic' lighter cubes that Weber advertises on its site?

Any and all advice is greatly appreciated...

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