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Weber Summit Charcoal Review

by Burning Brisket
Weber-Summit-Charcoal-Review

The Weber Summit Charcoal Grill and Smoker takes the tried and true Weber way to the next level by adding dual layer insulation to convert the standard kettle into a kamado. And, the effect is brilliant! This combined grill and smoker performs well compared to ceramic kamados as a versatile and surprisingly large barbecue that’s durable enough to handle years and years of cooking. But, before you buy one, here’s our comprehensive Weber Summit Charcoal review…

Features

  • Dual layered, porcelain-enameled steel design with an insulating air gap for excellent heat retention and efficiency
  • Gas powered, automatic charcoal ignition system
  • Two position fuel grate
  • Hinged cooking grate
  • Hinged stainless steel heat diffuser
  • Two stainless steel dampers
  • Hinged lid
  • Large, separate and removable ash catcher
  • Sturdy stand with wheels

Specs

Barbecue type: Kamado

Fuel type: Charcoal

Barbecue material: Double-walled porcelain-enameled steel

Grate material: Stainless steel

Cooking capacity: 452 sq. in.

Price guide: $$$$

Model: 18301001

Assembled size (in): 45.5″(H) x 39.5″(W) x 35.8″(D)

Weight: 111lbs in box

Warranty: 10 years on body, 5 years on grates and plastic, 2 years on everything else

Weber Summit Charcoal Review

Firstly, we’re going to start off by saying that we love this barbecue!

The Weber Summit Charcoal Grill (or kamado, as it really is), is the first major upgrade of any Weber ‘cue that they’ve put out for years. And, it’s safe to say that the only reason that this baby exists is that it is indeed an improvement on what was already a top of the market product.

To put it simply, the Summit Charcoal takes the best of both worlds, combining the two power horses, the kettle grill and the ceramic kamado, into a durable, efficient and effective combined grill and smoker. With a dual-layered, porcelain-enameled steel design, the Weber Summit Charcoal uses an insulating layer of air to lock the heat into this kettle-shaped ‘cue, transforming it into a powerful low and slow smoker that can also bake and roast pretty much anything you desire.

And, if you’re not so sure about how effective a steel and air insulated body is, do not fear! This ‘cue can seriously run for about 10 hours on one load of charcoal before it starts to lose heat. You don’t need to babysit it either. Once you’ve got the temperature right (it does take a bit of fiddling until you learn what works), just load up your meat and relax. The cool thing about having a steel-based kamado instead of ceramic is that if you do overshoot your target temperature, it’s much more forgiving and won’t take so long to cool down.

The other benefit of the steel kamado body is that the Weber Summit Charcoal only weighs a fraction of what a ceramic one would. This not only makes it possible to move it around your yard without running the risk of cracking the delicate ceramic. But, it also makes it easy to lift the lid. Even then, Weber have included a hinged, spring-loaded lid to make access easy and you don’t need to even think about where to leave the thing when you do take it off.

Cooking on the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill and Smoker

In terms of the actual cooking itself, the Weber Summit Charcoal Kamado offers a surprisingly generous 452 square inches of cooking space on it’s 24″ grate. That’s enough to cook for 6-8 people in one go and is large enough to throw a pork butt, chicken or even a smallish brisket on there.

To set you up for success, Weber have included a handy manual that’s got pretty detailed instructions on how to smoke on this ‘cue. Basically it outlines how much charcoal to use, how to set the dampers to get the temperature you want and how long to leave it in there. All depending on what you’re cooking. And, while you probably won’t follow it to a T, it’s a good guide to help you learn your way around the Summit Charcoal, especially if you’re new to smoking.

When it comes to grilling on the Weber Summit Charcoal, it’s a pretty similar experience to grilling on a Weber Kettle. There’s two positions that you can set the charcoal grate up in; one higher and one lower depending on how hot you want it. Just make sure you set the coals out as evenly as possible. Otherwise you’ll end up with hot spots and will need to move the meat around in order to get an even cook.

Because access to the coals is difficult at best on a kamado, Weber have added a hinge to both the cooking grate and the steel diffuser plate. This means that if you do need to add more charcoal or wood chips mid-smoke, you don’t need to move your food and remove the hot plates. Instead, simply shift to the side and use tongs to gain access to where you need it.

But, that’s not all that the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill and Smoker has going for it!

Hate how long it takes to light charcoal? Well, Weber have fixed that problem too by adding a propane-powered ignition. Now, it’s simply up to pressing the button and waiting until your coals get up to heat.

If you’ve ever cleaned a regular kamado, you’ll really appreciate this feature too… The Summit Charcoal Kamado has a large and removable ash catcher, just like their kettle’s do. So, instead of trying to scrape everything out of the bottom of an egg, you simply remove and tip the contents into the trash.

And, because it’s a Weber, the Summit Charcoal Grill still works with their Gourmet BBQ System of quality accessories. This means you can expand the versatility of your Weber Kamado even more by adding the lock-in pizzas stone, a porcelain-enameled cast-iron wok for stir fry’s or a poultry roaster.

Price-wise, the Weber Summit Charcoal Kamado is in-line with other high-quality kamados on the market. Some might argue that it is quite a step-up from Weber’s regular kettle grills. And, while you can still smoke on a kettle grill, the Summit Charcoal has been specifically designed with this dual purpose in mind. This makes it so much easier to get excellent results smoking on the Weber Kamado. It’s also just a bigger, better and more efficient all-rounder.

So, if you want a barbecue that offers bucket loads of versatility along with the durability and reliability of the Weber name, the Summit Charcoal Grill really is THE only unit you need in your backyard.

Pros of the Weber Summit Charcoal Kamado:

  • Combined grill and smoker that does a great job of both
  • Surprisingly large cooking capacity for a kettle-shaped barbecue
  • Snap jet ignition system makes lighting charcoal very easy
  • Double layered air insulated steel bowl and lid gives great insulation
  • Efficient fuel usage
  • Dual position charcoal grate allows for more flexibility in terms of grilling heat
  • Hinged cooking grate makes it easy to add more fuel and/or wood chips mid-cook
  • Hinged heat diffuser also makes it easy to add to the fire mid-cook
  • Steel body is lightweight and durable so it’s easy to move and won’t crack if dropped, knocked or run too hot
  • Rust-resistant porcelain-coated steel with stainless steel extras for durability
  • Large removable ash catcher makes whole kamado easy to clean
  • Backed by Weber’s industry-leading warranty
  • Compatible with Weber’s large range of accessories

Cons of the Weber Summit Charcoal Kamado:

  • You will need to eventually replace the gas canister in the auto-ignition if you want to keep using this handy feature
  • It is expensive when compared to a standard kettle grill. But, if you want to smoke as well, it’s good value for a very high-quality combined smoke and grill barbecue

Our Verdict on the Weber Summit Charcoal Review

Just like everything else Weber do, they haven’t skipped a beat when it comes to designing a hard-wearing, practical and easy to use steel kamado. While the price tag on this ‘cue is reasonably high, it’s comparable with other high-quality kamado grill and smokers on the market and with the versatility this unit will offer you for years to come, we think it’s well worth every penny!

You can also check out our review of the best kamado grills which also features the Weber Summit Charcoal as the best upgrade of an old favorite.

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