Smokey Joe vs Jumbo Joe: Which Grill Is Best for You?

Smokey Joe vs Jumbo Joe Which Grill Best for You

When it comes down to finding the best portable grill for camping and outdoor activities, there are two models that are far above the rest of the pack in my opinion.

These are the Weber Smokey Joe 14” Portable Grill, and the Weber Jumbo Joe 18” Portable Grill.

Two models that anyone with experience camping, outdoor cooking, and so on will at least have heard of, it not owned one or both.

But which is the best when comparing the Smokey Joe vs Jumbo Joe?

There isn’t a one-answer-suits-all. It depends what your requirements are from a grill. How many people you cook for, and a few other small details.

Which is why I’ve put together this article comparing the pros and cons of these models, who they are best suited to, and which will offer you the best value for money.

Smokey Joe vs Jumbo Joe: Which Is Best for You?

Weber Jumbo Joe Review and Specs

Weber Jumbo Joe Review and Specs

The Jumbo Joe gets its name because it’s a Jumbo sized portable grill measuring 18” in diameter. This means you have a 240 square inch cooking area to play with.

Being a Weber grill, it comes with all the features and excellent buildmanship we expect from Weber. So, it’s no surprise this is one of the best-selling grills of this size.

How Much Can You Cook on the Jumbo Joe?

This is where you realize that every extra inch makes a huge difference in the square inches of grilling space.

I haven’t tested the maximum amount of burgers or steaks you can fit on the Jumbo, but it’s safe to say it’s a lot.

I’d say up to 10 steaks and 15-20 burgers is easily realistic. 240 square inches of space is huge!

This is a grill capable of keeping a huge party of people happy.

Size and Portability

A Jumbo grill comes with Jumbo dimensions, but don’t let this put you off considering this grill it’s still lightweight and very portable in my opinion.

With the lid closed the Jumbo Joe measures 19.7 x 19.7 x 20.5 inches, and it weighs around 18 lbs.

So, you’re not going to pull a muscle carrying this big boy around. It’s super easy to assemble too, just screw the legs in and you’re ready to go.

How Easy Is It to Grill on the Jumbo Joe?

All Weber grills are great for beginners and experts alike. Just load it up with charcoal (see this post for how much charcoal to use), light the coals and start cooking.

You can adjust the temperature with the dampers on the lid and bowl. They allow you to restrict or allow more airflow to change the temperature.

If you’re new to grilling it’s a good idea to use a thermometer (see end of post) to keep an eye on the temperature inside the grill.

But it quickly becomes easy to have a good idea how to manage the airflow and keep the coals at an optimal temperature.

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Weber Smokey Joe Review and Specs

Weber Smokey Joe Review and Specs

The Smokey Joe is one of Weber’s best-selling grills. They’ve made some changes over the years to keep it up-to-date and it’s an absolutely superb grill.

It’s light for its size, has that modern, sleek look you associate with Weber products, and best of all excels where it should – grilling tasty food easily.

How Much Can You Cook on the Smokey Joe?

With a diameter of 14.5 inches on the grilling surface you can comfortably cook 6 burgers at one time, or 3-4 steaks.

This means it’s suitable for 4 people, maybe even 5 at a stretch if you want to cook for everyone at the same time.

Although, if you’re anything like me you will typically end up cooking for an hour or so and keep the food coming.

Let us not forget it’s a round grill too. If you’re used to rectangular grills you’ll notice how much easier it is to add more food and move it around while it’s cooking on a circular grill.

Size and Portability

It weighs just 9 lbs and measures 15.6 x 15.6 x 9 inches. Plenty easy enough to take with you with or without transport.

The legs attach with screws and wing nuts. No tools needed, just finger tight is recommended by Weber. It only takes a few minutes and you can remove the legs while in transport to save a little space.

How Easy Is It to Grill on the Smokey Joe?

Let me put it this way – it couldn’t be any easier!

You add coals to the bowl (see this post for how much charcoal to use), light them, place the cooking grate on, then your food and you’re underway.

There are aluminum dampers on the lid and bowl allow you to adjust the heat of the coals by letting in more air or restricting the airflow.

If it’s our first time using a grill like this there is a little trial-and-error regarding finding the optimal temperature but you’ll get the hang of it in no time.

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So, Which Grill Is Better for You – the Jumbo or Smokey Joe?

This comparison has been a lot easier than some product comparisons I do from two different manufacturers.

They are both Weber grills. So, the build quality is the same high standard, they are equally easy to use.

It really comes down to just how many people you want to cook for and how much grilling space you need.

The Jumbo weighs just 18 lbs, so the weight and portability isn’t even a factor that should hold you back. It’s great for tailgate cookouts, grilling and BBQ’s at home, and unpacking at a campsite.

For me, it comes down to this – cooking for up to 4 people I recommend the Smokey Joe, 5 and above I’d go with the Jumbo Joe.

Either way, they are both two of the best portable grills on the market so you can’t go wrong with either.

Jumbo Joe Mods Worth Considering

Weber Thermometer for Grills

Weber Thermometer for Grills

Like I mentioned above, a thermometer can help give you that peace of mind that you’re looking meat at the right temperature and there’s no risk of food poisoning from undercooked food.

This thermometer is designed for use in both gas and charcoal grills. It has a protective sleeve for probing, and a digital display that rotates for easy reading.

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Weber Compact Rapidfire Chimney Starter

Weber Compact Rapidfire Chimney Starter

Chimney starters make igniting charcoal and charcoal briquettes easier. You place the charcoal in the chimney, light it from below, then pour the coals into the grill when they are lit.

This chimney is designed for use on both the Jumbo and the Smokey Joe. It’s also an added measure so it’s worth considering.

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