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Weber Original Kettle review (57cm): The iconic charcoal BBQ

Maggie Holland
11 Jun 2016
Our Rating 
Price when reviewed 
119
inc VAT

Well-made, easy to use and clean, the Weber Original Kettle remains good value for money

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Specifications

Fuel type: Charcoal, Cooking area: 570mm circular diameter, Dimensions (HxWxD): 990x590x660mm, Weight: 15kg, Accessories: none Buy the Weber Original Kettle now from Argos

Weber is not only the best-known barbecue brand in the UK, but also the most readily available. We tested its most popular model, an entry-level classic kettle-style barbecue, designed for cooking for six to eight people. Having invented the modern Kettle design 65 years ago (originally from a cutting metal boating buoy in half), Weber has had plenty of time to perfect this model.

Assembly & build quality

It's no surprise then that the Weber was both the most intuitive to build and had the best instructions of the models we've seen. A lot of thought has clearly gone into the ease of assembly and it's almost Ikea-like in its user friendliness. Having said that, the finished product was only good, not great.

It would be better if it were made of thicker metal, although we should remind you this is Weber’s base model, plus members of our team have been using such Weber's for decades without any issues. Another minor niggle is where to put the lid when not in use; there's only a small hook to hang it from the side of the barbecue to store it whilst in use, some of weber's more upmarket models have integrated lid holders.

Looks and style

The Kettle-style barbecue is familiar to most people, mostly thanks to Weber. The Original Kettle looks good and is nicely finished with a black enamel coating, which adds to the ease of cleaning. Not only will it look good in your garden, in use or not, but being Weber, there's a range of covers and accessories available to enhance it further, not to mention easily obtainable spare parts, should the worst happen. In fact the huge range of accessories is one of the best reasons to buy a Weber, though only for the dedicated user of course.

In use and features

The Weber is large, as might be expected for a barbecue that is designed to cater for a family. This does however mean that a lot of charcoal is needed. Unlike others we tested, we found this really needed a lot of charcoal to make it usable, although it does come with a handy measuring cup.

On other Weber models there is a hinged cooking grate, making it possible to add charcoal easily during cooking. In our opinion, this feature would make the Original Kettle much more usable. The charcoal grate is also quite far below the cooking grill, with no height adjustability. Although with enough charcoal this does lend itself to indirect or zonal grilling, where coals are piled on one side, to provide the user with a hotter side and a cooler side.

It is also worth noting that grill bars on the Weber are quite thin, as is the case on many entry-level barbecues. Although this is fine for cooking sausages and kebabs, the bars are too thin to get really nice chargrilled lines on steaks, which are not only pleasing to look at, but also add a great deal to the flavour. Other than that it cooks well, though of course it's up to you to arrange your charcoal so as to get the correct temperature where you want it.

Cleaning and Storage

One of the selling points of the Weber is the 'one touch cleaning system', a little device in the bottom of the kettle that looks a bit like a propeller and scoops the ash out. This is quite a nice feature, which makes cleaning easy, but sadly, as with all barbecues, the cooking grate itself still needs scrubbing. Storage-wise, the kettle is large and bulky, enough so to make storing in a smallish shed a bit impractical. You can store it outside, but we'd recommend the purchase of one of the very nice Weber covers, these start at around £20.

Conclusion

The Weber is solid, looks good and is made for catering for larger families or groups. However, it isn't without fault, The grill bars are a little too thin for our liking, as is the steel the body it is made from and the latter means heat retention wasn't as great as it could have been. It picks up points though for the superb instructions and ease of assembly.

Overall, it's a safe bet if you're not entirely sure what you want from a barbecue. An RRP of £180 is too steep for what you get but the competition between retailers is intense and so you'll pay little more than £125 online - where you may also find it called the 'Original One Touch'. The Original Kettle certainly does its job as a no-nonsense barbecue and remains a sound buy if the excellent Char-Broil is beyond your budget. For other options see our Best BBQ roundup. 
Buy the Weber Original Kettle now from Argos

 

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