This is your basic 22 in kettle with a lot of bells and whistles. If cost is a factor you can get the same culinary results on a cheaper model. If not this is a pretty good option to spend your money on to reap the flavor of charcoal with as little hassle possible. Assembly is pretty easy, took me an hour including unpacking. The propane fired charcoal ignition system is very nice. 7-10 min burn to light the charcoal and another 10-15 min for the coals to develop and you are ready to grill. Yes it is not as easy as propane but the payoff is in the added flavor charcoal brings to the party. You could use a chimney to achieve the same results, but it’s pretty nice to open the gas hit the ignition button and walk away in the rain and snow. The ash collector is well sealed and has good capacity so you can grill on your deck for hours even in windy conditions without the worry of burning little holes in the finish. Another great feature is the attached work surface. It’s a solid and stable piece of heat resistant plastic, something you would expect to be Weber quality. It is very smooth so it’s easy to clean if contaminated. The cooking grate is hinged on both sides so you can add charcoal during cooking with out removing the food from the grill; this is great for smoking large pieces of meat. The charcoal hopper is nice to help try to contain your grilling operation to one place, but when full it really inhibits this grills mobility with the added weight on substandard wheels. The thermometer in the dome a nice feature and is fairly accurate. There is a top and bottom air vent for temperature control. They are well insulated for easy adjustment. The bottom one can be tricky as there are no markings to indicate a true open and close of the vent. I took a sharpie to mark out the exact location of a full close and open position. This kettle holds high heat like a champion, so you can grill and sear to your heart’s content. Holding the temperature stable at lower temperatures is more of a challenge, so smoking is a bit tricky. I did a 12 lb turkey for thanksgiving at 220 F no problem, but it was warmer out with no wind. If you want tight low and slow temperature control for smoking, go for something ceramic like a green egg or a true smoker. One last advantage is that this grill is sealed pretty well. When you are done cooking you can close both vents and put the remaining charcoal out for use in the future. I would buy this grill again, but I will not have to because it’s a Weber and will last forever. Enjoy!
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