Weber Summit 18301001 24″ Charcoal Grill Review
It’s been said that the cheetah gave the gazelle it’s speed. This sort of mutual competition driving innovation also shows up in the world of grill manufacturers. One of the bigger grudge matches you will find in this arena is the duel between Weber and a bevy of other manufacturers who try to put their own spin on the classic kettle grill.
With the Summit Charcoal Grill Weber attempts to take the fight to the competition posed by kamado-style grill manufacturers. This category of charcoal grills typically uses a ceramic body to help maximize heat efficiency. It allows the grill to be used as a smoker or indirect heat grill, while only using a small amount of charcoal. At the same time, many of the kamado style grills can also be adjusted to produce very high heat.
Weber attempts to bring a little added innovation to the summit, while also holding to their reputation for always offering quality products. The double walled ceramic body maximizes heat efficiency.
The Summit also has a jet fire ignition system with an individual propane burner. This spares you having to light the charcoal with a chimney or smelly lighter fluid. You simply load the appropriate amount of charcoal into the body, then fire up the Snap Jet burner. The propane-generated flame can keep burning as long as you need to fully ignite the charcoal. It also helps to preheat the ceramic body for more consistent temperature control in the early stages of a grill session.
There is also a hinged stainless steel diffuser to effectively transform the Summit for indirect heating. The lid also has a tight gasket seal with a stainless steel hinge. Underneath the grill body, there is an aluminum ash catcher to help with cleanup.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
Weber has built its reputation and loyal customer base by making it a point to use quality design and materials throughout their product line. The Summit comes through in spades here with a double walled ceramic body, stainless steel heat diffuser, and the 2-position charcoal grate. Let’s not also forget about the ease and convenience of the Snap-Jet ignition system.
You can set the Summit up to grill on direct heat, or smoke with indirect heat. This involves adjusting the stainless steel heat diffuser, and dampers. Just make sure to give the Jet Fire ignition system a solid 10 to 15 minutes to fully preheat the charcoal chamber.
The grill grate can also be adjusted to two different positions depending on how much heat you want to be directed to the meat being cooked. This allows you to cook just about anything you would like, whether it’s slow and low smoking chicken thighs or a blazing hot sear for a Steak.
Just keep in mind that if you are preparing anything that is “Bone-In” you might want to give it a little extra time on the heat or let it bench rest in advance. This will help the Summit to cook it through all the way, without burning the outside.
Something you might not think of with a kamado style grill is the ability to make a grilled pizza, but they actually do a great job at it! If you are going to make a quality frozen pizza, you can probably skip the pizza stone and go with a 20-inch aluminum pizza screen. This will allow heat directly to the crust.
If you are going to go with a fresh dough pizza, you should spring the extra money for a cordierite pizza stone. Just set it over the fire on high direct heat. The cordierite material is shock resistant, durable, and absorbs heat efficiently. Just give it a good 20 minutes to fully preheat, before sliding the fresh dough pizza from the peel.
The Weber Summit doesn’t have a warming rack. The 24 square inch grill grate provides 452 square inches of cooking space.
Kamado style grills are relatively special in their own right. The thing that separates the Weber Summit from the rest of the competitors in this category is the Snap-Jet Ignition System. Not only does it help light the charcoal, it also contributes to the preheating phase.
The stainless steel, hinged heat diffuser allows you to quickly change from direct to indirect heat.
Ease to Clean
The aluminum ash catcher helps with cleanup. Depending on you have it set up the heat diffuser can become an issue if you are making something with a lot of sloppy marinades, or a greasy piece of meat.
It would be nice if Weber would have made the grill grate out of porcelain coated cast iron instead of their hallmark stainless steel.
Weber Summit charcoal grill is covered by a limited warranty against defects in materials and workmanship. The bowl and lid assembly are covered against rust and burn through for ten years. The stainless steel cooking grates, as well as the One-Touch Cleaning System and all the plastic components, are covered for up to five years from the date of purchase. All other components come with a basic 2-year warranty.
This is a full step ahead of the three-year warranty offered by most of the competition.
The Weber Summit brings its usual level of quality to the kamado style grill. The Snap-Jet ignition system really helps with starting the fire as well as quickly preheating the ceramic fire bowl. Just expect that it might take time to get used to set it for the heat you want. Playing with the heat diffuser, the dampers and the Snap Jet burner for a few sessions will help you make the most of many meals to come.
- Weber’s typical quality
- Backed by a superior warranty
- Snap-Jet ignition system for easy lighting
- Stainless steel hinged heat diffuser
- Aluminum ash catcher for easy cleanup
- Higher price than most of the competition
- Takes time to dial in the heat
- No accessories included