If you look at most any list of the best charcoal grills on the market, you will typically find towards the top of the list, a Weber kettle grill, and a kamado grill. The Weber representing the more reasonably priced product, and the kamado the most capable product. Weber is, of course, recognized as the largest and most well-known charcoal grill manufacturer in the world. In some places, Weber means grill, much like Kleenex means tissue. The Weber Summit Charcoal Grill is their entry into the world of kamado grills, but with a distinctly Weber approach. This cooker combines the grilling capabilities of a very large kettle grill with the smoking power of the ever popular Weber Smokey Mountain, and it does it with all the bells and whistles that can be added. It also does it at what would appear to be a ridiculous price, starting at $1,500USD. With the features and the size, the Weber Summit is comparably priced, but without the ceramic shell, the question is, is it worth the price?
- Equally excellent grill and smoker
- Fantastic cooking abilities
- Easy ash removal and cleaning
- Gas powered charcoal ignition system
- Very expensive charcoal grill
- 452 square inches of total grilling/smoking area
- Porcelain-enameled, air-insulated, double-walled bowl and lid
- Gas powered charcoal ignition system
- Two position fuel grate
- Stainless steel Gourmet BBQ System cooking grates
- Stainless steel vents and diffuser plate
- Large ash catcher with easy clean out system
- Hinged lid assembly
- Total weight is 111 pounds
- Stainless steel handles and hardware
- Made in the USA
Guide Review - Weber Summit Charcoal Grill
With a starting price of $1,500USD and a table mounted version well over $2,000USD the obvious question about the Weber Summit Charcoal Grill is, is it worth the price? One argument is that for less than half the money of the base unit a person could get a fully feature Weber Performer Grill and the largest of the Weber Smokey Mountain Smokers. Another argument is that for this price one could purchase a very good kamado grill with a table, albeit a small table. So why buy the Weber Summit?
The Weber Summit Charcoal Grill is a metal, kamado style grill, and smoker. Instead of the traditional ceramic body, this unit has an 'air insulated' body, meaning there is an inner and outer body that is separated by a sealed space that promises the same heat retention. Before anyone tries to argue that this won't work, let me assure you that it does. This unit can easily hold low and slow smoking temperatures for well over 10 hours without refueling. Depending on the charcoal and how the fire is built it can go even longer. The design is highly efficient, and as a smoker, it has the space (452 square inches) and smoke production capabilities of Weber's best smokers.
And then there are the features. The typical Weber kettle uses a lot of plated steel and aluminum parts that while durable, are a lower grade of quality. The Weber Summit has the same porcelain coated body, but all the parts, including the cooking grates, vents, and heat diffuser are stainless steel. This improves the appearance as much as the quality and is part of the reason for the high price. Add in the gas-powered charcoal ignition system, and this unit has everything to get it fired up, keep it going, and be easily cleaned.
This charcoal grill and smoker also offers a hinged and spring-loaded lid that is easy to lift (though making a rotisserie kit impossible) and Weber's Gourmet BBQ System cooking grates. This stainless steel, hinged grate has a removable center section that can be replaced with a wide range of accessories to give the grill greater versatility. From the pizza stone to an Ebelskiver pan. Of course, all these accessories are sold separately and range in price from $35USD to $55USD.
This is a kamado grill. It can do anything that most any kamado grill does with the addition of a premium cooking space (the typical kamado is much smaller and to get this size requires a pretty hefty downpayment). It is excellently constructed and does everything it promises. While there is a small learning curve, it is very small and firing it up a couple of times is sufficient training.
Ultimately, this is a bit of an aspirational product, and Weber knows it. This cooker is not going to be sold at your local hardware store or in the more general online retailers. It is a specialty market item for people who have the money, like the Weber brand, and want something that can do everything. It is not a luxury item in appearance, but it is a luxury item in capability and capacity. It can grill steaks at the same high temperatures as a kamado and quickly be dialed down to a low temperature to smoke a couple of briskets. It promises to do it all, and for the most part, it delivers.