Weber Smokey Mountain

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Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby British BBQ Society » 10 Oct 2010, 13:09

Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

I purchased my first WSM in Sept 2007, this is the older model without the temperature gauge in the lid. My initial view was that this was a Weber and the price reflected its ‘name’. However, based on other Bullet type smokers I have used I quickly came to the conclusion that the price is more of a reflection of build quality than brand.

The bowl and lid are porcelain enamelled and come rain or shine it will maintain the fresh out of the box look. The smoker itself has three sections, a bowl where the fire is lit, the body section which houses the water pan and two cooking grates and a lid.

None of the sections are fastened together and the only handle that comes with the unit from new is on the lid. There are no handles on the body section of the unit. The base has three daisy wheel vents and another daisy wheel vent on the lid. There is an access door on the main body for refuelling, adding smoke and checking the water pan.

I have used a variety of bullet smokers now including the Proq Frontier, Excel 20, Amigo and the Brinkman units and found foibles with all of them including the WSM.

What the WSM lacks in mods it more than makes up in stability. I have cooked on these units in -5 Deg C and found they still hold solid at 256 Deg F and maintain this for a good 6-7 hours when using water.

I was so impressed with my WSM I gave up all of my other units and purchased the new 57cm WSM with the lid thermometer. This unit behaves slightly differently to its smaller counterpart in that it does burn hotter and the ability cook at lower temperatures is a little more difficult.

Common issues with bullet smokers is the temperature spikes that occur when the lid has been lifted, this is something that the 57cm unit has more difficulty in recovering from. I have modded my unit by adding some of the Guru eyelets, and I no longer use water in the water pans. The method of choice for me is to use a foiled clay saucer. This gives me burn times of upto 18 hours with one load of charcoal at temperatures of 225 Deg F.

All WSM’s come with a high quality cover which in itself is £40’s worth of equipment. These units are probably the best investments I have to date in my BBQ portfolio. Be careful when using these for competitions and moving them around on a frequent basis. It is very easy to knock them “Out of Round” (a problem with all bullets) which can affect the airflow and disrupt cooking temperatures.

In my experience I have found the lid thermometer to be at least 50 Deg F to low, this would be something I would test with a high quality digital probe such as a Redi Chek or a Thermapen.

If I were to mark these units out of ten I would give them the following:

Temp Stability: 8/10
Verstility: 5/10
Usability: 6/10
Build Quality: 9/10
Durability: 9/10
Value for Money: 9/10

Mods I would make:

Add the eyelets from BBQ Guru –
Use an Extra cooking shelf available from Wilkinsons at a cost of £2.25
Avoid water in the pan and go for the Clay Saucer Method.

Given the bullet smokers on the market today, the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is at the top of the list and I would definitely check one out before making a new purchase.
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Re: Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby lakemirror » 11 Oct 2010, 04:50

Excellent review of the WSM.

I might add that a very excellent website exists that is dedicated to the WSM, virtualweberbullet.com and it is a good reference site for discussion of low-and-slow in general.

I have an 8-yr-old WSM back home in Florida, and bought a new one to bring with me on the move to England. There are improvements in the new (2009 and later) models that include a built-in thermometer and a larger water pan. The older models suffered from the water pan issue, which could be corrected by replacing the pan with a charcoal pan from a Brinkmann cooker, which doubles the pan's volume.

Also, as an alternative to either water or a clay saucer, I fill the water pan with sand and it works very well. If I wish to collect drippings for gravy, I put a foil-lined baking dish on top of the sand.

The WSM is the only smoker I have ever owned, although I have had the pleasure of using a Stumps smoker once. It is a rock solid performer and will hold a steady temp for 10 hours easily on one load of charcoal.
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Re: Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby SR-71 Blackbird » 29 Nov 2011, 14:53

Hi British BBQ Society,

That is a brilliant review and it is exactly what I was looking for. Can you give me the good and bad points that you mentioned with the Excel 20 as that is the main competition to the Weber as far as I can see at the moment. What did you not like about it and also what did it do well?

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Re: Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby Steve » 18 Dec 2011, 22:40

Having owned three Pro Q's and now owning two WSM's I can honestly say it's a close call between the two with pros and cons for each that can make a big difference on a per user basis.

To answer your question about good and bad points for the Pro Q though...

The good:

1. Price
2. Size (the Excel is a great size).
3. flexibility of being able to add stackers.
4. Ability to pop lid and stacker off to get access to food on the lower grate without reaching in and inevitably burning your forearms at some point :lol:
5. Lots of Pro Q users on this forum can give you advice.
6. build quality - for the price it's very good.
7. It doesn't have a tendancy to spike, it's more work to keep temperatures up but this can be easier to work with than spiking.

The bad:

1. Build quality - not as good as the WSM
2. It leaks, particularly around the stacker joins, so it can be less stable than a WSM - tends to top off.
3. The Excel is heavy on charcoal (Frontier not so much). I find I use half as much charcoal in my WSM.
4. QC isn't as good in my experience, two of the three Pro Q's I had arrived with manufacturing faults and i had to get exchanges
5. I've always found it needs a bit of nursing through long cooks, I never managed to hold temperature for more than four hours with my Excels without having to stir the coals or give it a Weber boot. Once I dial in my WSM it holds like a dream.


Overall though, I loved using my Pro Q's and I love using my WSM's, they're just different beasts.
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Re: Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby davidb » 25 Apr 2017, 06:34

I've pretty well decided that the middle-aged (47cm?) WSM is the way to go. I've also seen the Cajun Bandit and BBQ Guru bits and pieces which look like they will increase its usability etc. My question now is..... where to buy? I'd appreciate recommendations please. Also a UK source of the other bits and finally a recommendation for a dual display thermometer with probes I can leave in the meat during the smoke. Thanjs in advance!!


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Re: Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby davidb » 25 Apr 2017, 06:35

Middle aged should say "middle sized" darned autocorrect!


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Re: Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby BraaiMeesterWannabe » 30 Apr 2017, 18:49

gardens 4 less often have good deals on
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Re: Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby davidb » 01 May 2017, 15:56

I managed to negotiate a staff discount from Riverside where a friend's sister-in-law works. It's in the garden being seasoned as I type!!


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Re: Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby TakingtheBrisket » 02 May 2017, 11:16

Cajun door and hinge from go cook outdoors bbq. Digiq guru from macsbbq, don't think they advertise it but give them a ring
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Re: Weber Smokey Mountain

Postby Toby » 03 May 2017, 19:02

so random coming across this topic, search for weber and proq improvements on google and hit it, nice to see people refering back to such an old post!
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