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Weber Smokey Mountain

This Bullet packs a punch!

The Weber Smokey Mountain comes in two sizes, 18" and 22", and quite possibly might be the best smoke for your dollar of any entry-level smoker out there. Am I biased because I use one regularly? Perhaps, but to put it bluntly, if it was crap, it wouldn't be on my patio.

 


It runs a little pricier than other budget bbq pits, around $300 compared $150 - $200 for others, but this little champ makes up for its higher price with outstanding temperature stability and ease of use.


The Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM for short), has three basic parts. The bottom (or firebox), the body (cooking chamber), and the lid (exhaust vents). It comes with two cooking racks and a water pan that hangs directly below the bottom cooking rack.
It's built to to the Weber high quality standard, with a sturdy steel body, stainless steel racks and relatively tight fitting parts. I have routinely been able to get 8 to 10 hour cooks on one load of charcoal. Thus is the benefit of vertical smokers.  It takes me about 30 to 45 minutes to go from unlit charcoal to a smoker that is warmed up and ready to cook on. About half of this time is waiting for the coals in my chimney to get hot. 


If well taken care of, this bbq smoker will last for many, many years.  I've been using my 18" WSM for about 4 years now, and not a speck of rust anywhere on it. Granted, I clean mine out after each use. Ashes left in the bottom of any smoker will speed up the rusting process.


For all it's bulleted glory, the WSM does has a couple of drawbacks. Some of which are easily overcome with simple modifications.


For starters, the biggest gripe is the stainless steel door on the side. It latches with a simple turning knob and does not feature any form of gasket that would improve the seal. While not a huge problem, I strive to get the most efficient fuel usage with the least amount of smoker maintenance during the cook. Check out my WSM modifications page to see the simple solution to this problem.


The other easily overcome problem is adding fuel during a very long cook. BBQ brisket and pork shoulders routinely take 12 hours or longer to cook. To add fuel, you must remove the body and lid from the Weber Smokey Mountain, to get to the fire chamber. Since there are no handles on the WSM to easily lift it, you are required to firmly grab the entire body and lift it off. With a full water pan and 15lbs of succulent bbq cooking on there, this can be a problem. 

 

The Solution: Add handles. Garage door handles can be found that fit perfectly to the bolts already in place on the weber. You will find a step-by-step on this simple two-tool mod on my Weber modifcation page.
All in all, this is an outstanding little bbq pit for the price. It is used regularly in bbq competitions of all levels by master teams, and it is well-known for its ease of use, and long stable cook times. With a couple of modifications this smoker becomes a near-perfect choice for the beginning or budget-minded bbq enthusiast.