Is OTG For Me?


norman beal

New member
New guy here and I think I'm about to spring for an OTG, but thought I might ask some questions before I do. A little background first:

It's the wife and I and maybe another couple on occassion. No big family or party BBQ's.
I have a WSM I use for long cooks like brisket, butts, ribs or sometimes a standing rib roast on holidays.
The Holland grill we've been using for 10 years is great but not for hot seared steak.
We're not into gourmet cooking or spending hours preparing exotic meals.

With that in mind here's a few questions that have crossed my mind...

  • Is a 22" OTG overkill for just the two of us? I have some interest in the new 18" Jumbo Smokey Joe.
  • Is the One Touch Ash Cleaner really effective? If I thought I could just dump the ash without having to clean the entire kettle after each use it would probably be worth it. I am getting less and less tolerant of having to turn eating into a hobby.
  • Are the Weber paraffin fire starters the best solution for lighting the canister? Do they melt and make a sticky mess where they were sitting? I've been using paper, but don't like the mess that blows around.
  • Can you cook chicken on a Weber OTG without it burning unless yoy stand over it constantly monitoring for flare ups? That was why we switched to the Holland years ago. Pros and Cons to each grill type.

I'll stop here trying to stay focused on whether the OTG is a good choice for us. We'll appreciate any comments you might have.
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Dear Norman - Here's my two cents!

I have a Smokey Joe, Weber Go Anywhere and an OTG 22.5. Here's what I have found -

The Smokey Joe is great for one or two people - I'm a fancy griller who loves to do a lot of vegetables and then one or two main meats, and it has been fine for that, especially if you are all right with timing everything out instead of getting everything done in one batch. For example, I'll do a load of vegetables, put them in the oven at 175 or throw them in an insulated bag, then do my steaks or other meats. It's perfect for just me, fine for two people, I can make it work for 3 but for the kind of grilling I do, it is tough past that.

The OTG has been great for grilling parties, or low slow or whole chickens, etc. I tend to grill my whole chickens indirectly. I grill chicken pieces, depending on the recipe, over direct or indirect. If you get a good medium heat going, it should be fine. If you have tons of marinade, then look out for flare ups.

I find the OTG is too much for just two person grilling, unless you really want to grill everything at once and are able to save your charcoal leftovers for another grill. My grilling situation has been where that has not been ideal for me so I have saved the OTG for bigger parties or grilling a ton of food, and using my Smokey Joe for when it is just me or me and another person.

I swear by the Weber parrafin fire starters now. I did newspaper for a long time, and now I just use one or two cubes, depending on if I am using my normal chimney starter or the smaller one. They are fairly inexpensive - buy a pack and see how you like them. I love them.

I live somewhere where there is wind enough for me to value highly that ash catcher. I would spring for that for sure if you go for the OTG. Worth every penny to me. For my Smokey Joe I line the bottom ash plate with tin foil, and dump it after and just keep an eye on it.

I went and explored the Jumbo Joe myself to buy it. I would love to have it, and think it would work great for 2-4 person grilling. I live in SF where it is difficult to find space for more than my four grills so I chose eventually not to buy it right now. But I would go look at it in the store, compare it to the Smokey Joe and the OTG.

And I would also consider Craycort Cast Iron Grates for whatever grill you choose. I swear by mine. I love them!

I also like to go and read Amazon reviews, see what people think over there.

So, in conclusion, I would consider getting both the Smokey Joe and the OTG 22.5! ;) Or just get the Jumbo Joe and that might suit you just fine.

Hope that is helpful, and best of luck. Happy grilling!

Laura gave a very good assessment of the Weber charcoal grills. I have the OTG and the Smokey Joe. Both are great, but for limited use and for only two people, I'd go with the Smokey Joe. Considering how much I use my OTG, I'm a bit surprised to hear myself say that, but it is great for a fast hot fire to grill on. My wife uses it regularly to do pork bbq on a stick (Filipino thing).

The OTG is very good for all sorts of things, but it is bigger and more of an effort to clean. However, I smoke bacon, do smoked pork chops, and even do our holiday turkeys on it. If I only had one Weber, the OTG would be it. But I'm more of a foodie than it sounds like you. I love trying new things and perfecting old favorites. I have started using mine to do wood fired pizza too. The OTG has the ash catcher which I consider a "must have" on a charcoal kettle. I don't get nearly as much ash falling out and it is much easier to clean. I might get a used Silver for special application, but for my primary kettle, it will be a Weber 22.5 OTG for the foreseeable future.
I have the both Jumbo Joe and a 22.5 Performer...

Although I have catered for 4 on the JJ (on holiday) - its low lid and smaller base reduce the capability for cooking whole chickens.

So I would say go for the OTP (and get the rotisserie option too for amazing roasts of all kind)
The ash catcher is great, I don't have gas ignition and the weber starters are fine.

I'm cooking for two now on a 26" kettle but that's just because I like the space. The 22" kettle is simply awesome in whatever configuration you buy it in but the ash catcher One Touch system is great. I like everything about the 22 One Touch. Craycort cast iron grates were mentioned. Another option is the Weber Grilling system only available for the 22. It also has advantages worthy of consideration. I love the interchangeable centre pieces along with the ease of adding wood or coals.
I do not have an SJ and was actually looking at the JJ last night as I was thinking of an 18" for appetizers and sides when the grandkids come but I think I still prefer the kettle design over the Joes series. You have the space to cook indirect with the kettle design more so than the Joe series. I would also need a table then to put the Joe on. In the wind I don't like the ash catcher either.
I use Timber-lite fire starters, they're fibrous material and they work great. I cut them in half and get double the amount.
As for chicken, it's all about keeping the lid down and controlling the air flow.
Good luck with your choice.
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I have (had) a 22 OTG and a 18 OTS kettle. I find myself using the 18 more often than the 22 because like you, I'm only cooking for the wife and I. I sold the 22 yesterday and ordered the gold series ash catcher for my 18.
^^^^^All of the above. I don't have a SJ, but I do have the 22.5 OTG. The ash catcher is definitely worth the extra investment. I have bought "lesser" things over the years and thought that they will do, but invariably went out and upgraded to what I should have bought in the first place. The adage, go big or go home, is apropos here.

I find that I use the OTG more than I thought I would, even at the expense of my Spirit gasser. It is incredibly easy to use, even for an incompetent, like myself. I did chicken wings on it last night (indirect heat) and had to leave for town (needed to get some Frank's) and was gone for 40 minutes. Came home and the wings looked absolutely amazing. I just finished cooking them over the coals and they were by far the best wings I have ever had.

You may not think you will use the extra size, but will probably find that you indeed do use the space for added cooking delights. Especially, if cooking indirect, the extra space is a boon.
You might want to consider an 18.5 OTG.
I think that would be the perfect choice, but I believe the 18.5 only comes as a SILVER w/o the ash catcher and hinged food grate, both features are why I'm thinking of the 22.5 GOLD. (When I say ash catcher I mean the POT that holds the ashes not the crank thingy that will spew ashes onto the ash plate and 5' around it.) I have read where some set a can or pot on the ash plate, but I really like the idea of a somewhat "sealed" design like the Gold. Please point me to the 18.5 GOLD if I am wrong.

Mike M---Does adding the ash pot to the 18.5 really turn it into a factory equivalent or are there compromises like things don't fit quite right because it wasn't designed for the smaller tub? What is the cost? I think the hinged food grate is available in 18.5 size. This interests me as a better fit!

I know the Craycort grate is a popular (but expensive) option. Aside from making grill marks on meat what makes them better than the hinged Weber grates? I understand the need to add charcoal, but at what price?

Thanks for the great feedback so far!
I think that even for 2 there are times I wish i had the 26. I like to cook several things at once on my 22 and find I run out of space often. The ash system for the OTG is worth it without a doubt. Just a few sweeps of the lever and the ash is all deposited in the ash catcher below it.
I would get the 22.5 OTG.
You can do anything on that grill. You can add the pizza conversion kit and the rotisserie.
I bought the 22.5 OTG for the 4 of us. That is 2 adults and 2 kids. I can tell you that you run out of space fast. I set my grill up for one side direct and one side indirect so having anything less than 22.5 would be too small. Cooking chicken in this way is ideal as i can cook indirect for most of the cook then crisp it up a bit with direct. This way i don't have to watch it the whole cook. Other cooks i might start out over direct and move over to indirect.

I wasn't sure about the ash catcher myself when i was looking. I thought 50 bucks more was a steep price for it. However, with how much ash that is created i think it is worth it. I just emptied mine after 3 cooks.

I suggest the 22.5. If i could afford the 26.5 i would have done that instead but double the price of the 22.5 for 4 inches was not an option.
It's become clear that the ash catcher system is a MUST HAVE for me. So many positive comments it must work well.

So it seems to be down to the 22" OTG or 18" OTS (assuming adding the feature to the 18 works well). The 26" is not on the radar due to size and cost.

I'd like to hear more from those that converted the OTS 18.5 to the ash catcher. Also would like to hear more about the Craycort option and user experiences. I'm curious what the cost difference is between the $150 22.5 OTG and to convert the 18.5 OTS with an ash catcher and add the Craycort. My guess is about $125 more.
I would say "Absolutely".... Or look around for the OTP on clearance, but I think I got lucky!

I would go with the 22.5. you can cook more than your main course on the grill. Adding corn, potatoes, veggies and your grilling space gets used up fast.

The One touch system is the bomb!!! It works great!

Weber starter cubes are great and leaves no residue behind but a propane torch or Mapp gas torch is even better!
I cook chicken indirect the whole time. I will put a whole chicken or thighs on the grill, put the cover on and won't touch the lid for at least an hour to check internal temps. Comes out great every time!!
A new 18 OTS retails for $80 at the big box stores. I haven't received the gold ash catcher yet, but I ordered it from

Part number 63092 $22 plus shipping. I'm pretty sure the model number for the 18 OTG is 451001.

The tabs on the ash catcher housing are supposed to just snap into a void in the leg sockets on the bottom of the kettle. Shouldn't be a problem on newer models, but mine is a 1998 model do I need to modify mine.

Hope that helps!
Thanks to all who contributed to this thread. I placed an order for the 22.5 One Touch Gold and a couple charcoal pans for indirect use. Initially I was concerned that the 22.5 might be a little big for us, but most comments were that it was a good choice and would offer more room for indirect cooking. I thought that made sense and eliminated the need to retro fit the ash catcher on the 18.5 OTS as well as lose the hinged cooking grate and lid thermometer. Lots of constructive comments and you all set my mind at ease that the 22.5 OTG is the right choice.
Glad to hear you have made a decision. I think in time you will be glad you chose the 22OTG. Now some things to think about; two fire brick for indirect cooking and in time maybe Weber's grill system. Great birthday, Fathers Day gift and oh by the way don't be surprised if cooking becomes more fun!