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Smokey Joe vs Smokey Joe Premium

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    Smokey Joe vs Smokey Joe Premium

    So one of these has been calling my name recently. For reasons that are obscure to me, I never noticed that the SJ Premium does not have an ash catcher at the bottom. When I looked into why, I then, of course, noticed that the "bottom" vents are actually on the sides of the lower half.

    That seems like an odd design from a cooking standpoint, but I can clearly see a use case in which you need to move the grill around (perhaps even while cooking) and you don't want to be spilling ash everywhere.

    Has anyone experienced any major (or minor) negatives to the side vent design from a cooking standpoint? I kinda do want that locking lid handle.....

    I miss my SJ. GrillGrates made that thing a champ.


      I know I have to get one of them. They are just too cute. When I was talking aloud about getting/constructing and outdoor table for one, my wife just suggested staging it on my existing 22" Weber Kettle's charcoal grate and.....and.....that just feels weird.


      • Steve R.
        Steve R. commented
        Editing a comment
        It's only weird if it doesn't work.

      • RichieB
        RichieB commented
        Editing a comment
        +1 on SJ in Kettle

      • prepperjack
        prepperjack commented
        Editing a comment
        The only thing weird is that you referred to it as 'cute' ;-) Seriously, though, if you're going to do that (and apparently many people have) why not just use the kettle? Am I missing something?

      I like the 18” Jumbo Joe for portability and extra cooking space. Outfitted with the SlowNSear and the drip pan it can cook an entire meal for two.


      • Texas Larry
        Texas Larry commented
        Editing a comment
        +1 on Jumbo Joe. Vents on bottom & top where God intended them to be. And a ash catcher.
        Last edited by Texas Larry; June 2, 2021, 09:48 PM.

      • Greygoose
        Greygoose commented
        Editing a comment
        The JJ with the SnS rules,,,,,,
        You can cook anything with that set up,,,,
        Indirect cook, reverse sear, direct grill,
        The lil rascal does it all

      • LA Pork Butt
        LA Pork Butt commented
        Editing a comment
        Texas Larry and Greygoose while not necessary the Vortex adds another level of versatility.

      Another vote for the Jumbo Joe for the same reasons.


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ID:	1040067 My son has an SJ premium. With vents on the side he says it’s really hard to get/keep the coals going. I have the SJ “standard” and love it. I bought it off of OfferUp.com and it came with a carry case.


          Which ever one you would enjoy using more, get that one. This is the Smokey joe, cherry smoke on hot dogs.
          The locking lid handle would definitely be a plus, especially if it is a to go grill.
          Attached Files
          Last edited by Richard Chrz; June 2, 2021, 06:54 PM.


            Personally I don't see the side vent being as effective in feeding the fire, since it is above the level of the charcoal grate.


              What will you do with a little barbecue?
              I know--Happy grilling to you and PBR too.


                I read somewhere that the "problem" that the side vents were purported to "fix" is ash falling down and clogging the bottom vents in the original version. I never had an issue until I made the mini-WSM mod to my SJ. After a few hours smoking, the ash did clog the vent holes. An inverted stainless steel cat food bowl with holes in the side fixed it. BTW, for 25 bucks or so, the mini mod is a very effective little smoker.


                • Michael_in_TX
                  Michael_in_TX commented
                  Editing a comment
                  That WSM mod to the SJ is really clever!

                I had the premium and it did fine. You need to open the vents, and yes, they can get touchy hotty.


                  I gave my Jumbo Joe Premium away when I got a 22" Weber Premium Kettle at Walmart for $40 at the end of the season. I liked that little guy--it was the one that Walmart sold that actually was on legs. The legs were shorter than what the 22" came with, but not a bad height for a short folk like myself.

                  Fond memories of JJPremium:
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                  I used a little enamel pot for an ash catcher, a brilliant suggestion from Mr. Bones .

                  That JJ Premium was just right for cooking for two, but when I saw that Walmart deal on a 22" Weber kettle with the One Touch ash system for $40, I just had to jump.



                    I see no real downside with the side vents on the SJ Premium. But I'm using mine strictly for grilling with direct heat, and only put the lid on to smother flareups.


                      With as relatively cheap as these things are, I might actually get both.

                      It also occurred to me that I have two other use cases for these. First, the SJ is so cheap I can practice drilling holes in it for a port probe or adding a handle to the vent. I've been wary of doing these to my existing 22" kettle.

                      The other use case is having a small grill permanently stationed in the garage for a cook in the rain (with the garage door open, of course). (My other grills are on an uncovered patio in the backyard.)


                      • Mr. Bones
                        Mr. Bones commented
                        Editing a comment
                        I find em on Craigslist for ~$20 ish, all the time...

                      I've not had any issues with the side vents. Again, I only used it for quick cooks. I don't recall putting the lid on and haven't smoked in it.



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