New to smoke, Weber 18.5 Smokey Mountain or MES

Discussion in 'Roll Call' started by sparky38, Jul 4, 2015.

  1. Hello, I sort of put the cart before the hours. i bought the ribs and pork tenderloin but have been reviewing smokers for 2 days. would like to get some expert opinions and advice. Any feedback would be awesome. Whats the 4th of July without Ribs and meat. Juicy smoked to be exact. I have been himmin and hawing over the MES 30" digital bluetooth. or a WSM 18.5". I know MES only comes with the 800w element and the WSM would prob be better as the 22.5". but just starting out i do not know which way to go. i love the ease of set it and forget it. but also like the thought of getting out of the house with 2 screaming kids(girls) and drinking beer and tending the smoker. Although i know this may not always be possibly. Thanks in advance for even looking at my post!
  2. Well, if you want to tend a smoker, the WSM is not for you.  I recommend something else.  The WSM is set it and forget it. 

    That settled, I'd go with the WSM.  Get some charcoal, a chimney, some newspaper and go to town.  If the power goes out you can still cook.  If you want to enter a BBQ comp go WSM.  If you want to go direct high heat (300*F+) for PBC style cooks, or low n slow to hang jerky or bacon, smoke sausage, etc, or simply want to cook a rack of ribs, the WSM will do it all with ease.

    Last edited: Jul 4, 2015
  3. [​IMG]   Good evening and welcome to the forum, from a warm & partly cloudy day in East Texas and the best site on the web. Lots of great people with tons of information on just about  everything.

  4. joe black

    joe black Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Welcome from SC. I'm a stick burner, but used to have a WSM 22.5. I would definitely go with the WSM. The 22.5 would be my preference because bigger is better. Seriously, if you want to do a smaller cook, get an 18" charcoal ring and it works nicely. The WSM holds heat well, is user friendly, cleans easily and gives you a good smoke cook. I used Royal Oak lump in mine, an amount equal to the cook need. I started it with about 1/2-2/3 chimney of Royal Oak briqs in a recess in the middle. When it got to cook temp, I would add 3-4 chunks of flavor wood and go for it. I wrapped the water pan for clean up, but did not use any water. Good luck, Joe
  5. brazosbrian

    brazosbrian Smoke Blower

    Ditto on the WSM. I'm new at it and agree with how easy it is to learn and set up. Every cook, right from the very first, has been perfect. And yes, very much set and forget. Get a Maverick digital thermometer and go at it! Mine's the 18.5, and I love it. Plenty of room to cook more than we need. I use royal oak hardwood lump mostly, but sometimes weber blue bag or competition briquettes. It all works.
  6. Go with the Weber WSM.  But don't mess around with the 18 1/2 inch.  Spend the extra $100 and buy the 22".  You will be glad you did in the long run.  You will love the WSM.  It's the best charcoal smoker on the market.  It is very easy to maintain a steady temp.  Happy smoking.
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I love my mini-wsms. For larger cooks I do break out the 18.5 but not very often. I would vote for any of the WSM's. I don't like smokers that need power to run them. Can't take them camping without a generator. I love the portability of the mini.
  8. mcollect

    mcollect Newbie

    I looked at electric, propane and every other kind of smoker, read all the comments and settled for the WSM.WSM 18 is my fourth smoker, and by far the best I have owned. It's just the two of us so that size makes sense. I do a mignon start and full of Kingsford it will keep temp for 12 hrs. I have done a large cook for a large party, full brisket and smoked chickens, and there was meat left over.
  9. I agree the WSM would be great
    They are on sale at Walmart right now too!
    I just got a 18 for $199.99
  10. mike5051

    mike5051 Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member


    I too must vote for the WSM.  I've got the 18.5, and love it.  It is pretty much set it and forget it, but I still am able to go out to "tend" the fire.  [​IMG]

    lucky2163 likes this.
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    WSM FTW! [​IMG]

    .... or some other teenagery text message short hand.... lol.

    Never owned a MES so I can't comment on that, but I have the 22.5" WSM and it is the best smoker I have ever owned - it just plain works. No fuss, no muss, no mods, just right out of the box it works great. I've had mine for about 5 years now and it has never let me down.
  12. obmitch

    obmitch Newbie

    I have no doubt that these are some very experienced people giving very good advice. I've never used a wsm, so I can't compare them. I purchased my MES digital-30  8 months ago. I have copd and am somewhat limited as to what I do physically for longer periods of time. I've smoked ribs, pork butts, chicken and 16 pound batches of homemade sausage. Everything I've done has turned out perfectly and I wasn't even breathing hard. I have the cold smoker unit which allows me to create smoke for 6 hours. 

    My original intent was to purchase this inexpensive unit and learn with it. If I decided I liked smoking meat then I would be willing to purchase an expensive cooker. While I am able to spend whatever I want for a smoker, I am perfectly happy with what I have. I can't imagine something else producing better meats. I certainly have never eaten better. It's just my wife and myself and a few friends, generally; however, last month a catered a cookout for a friend's party with 25 guests. It handled the volume well.If my smoker died today, I wouldn't hesitate to purchase another just like it. 
  13. torp3t3d0

    torp3t3d0 Smoke Blower SMF Premier Member

    I have both..the 22.5 WSM and a MES 40...(along with an "offset barrel smoker and a 4 burner gas grill......each has it's use and all are great.....I consider them"investments"...and use is dependent on what I'm "cooking"
    Last edited: Jul 6, 2015
  14. I also have the 22 1/2 WSM and love it I also have the 2.5 generation 40" Masterbuilt with the cold smoker and love it. In addition I have a 6 burner grill with s searing station and I have a Holland grill that cooks like an oven. All 4 units have specific uses and I wouldn't part with any of them. There are only the two of us but I live in a great neighborhood and have a back yard party every year. Bottom line if I could have only one unit it would be the WSM.
  15. mummel

    mummel Master of the Pit

    The right people to answer this question is the people that own both.  I own an MES 40 BT and I cant see myself owning anything else.  Doing a pork butt overnight while fast asleep in bed is a total win for me (I dont have to touch the MES after putting the butt in, not once).  We do weekday smokes which I could never do with a WSM as I get home late in the evening etc.  Seriously, MES 40 BT + AMPS is genius.   
  16. rperrin

    rperrin Newbie

    Do you wrap the wood briquettes so they last longer or do you keep having to add them during the smoke?
  17. obmitch

    obmitch Newbie

    I purchased my MES a little over 2 years ago. It has been perfect. It was reliable, easy and consistent. This allowed me to concentrate on learning the process of smoking the variety of meats. I just purchased a new Rec-Tec pellet grill which opens a whole new world of options. However, I plan to keep my MES and use it for some things simply because it is so effortless, and it's capable of the real low temps I need for sausage. I'm sure the Webber is fine, but I wouldn't trade my MES.
  18. I've owned my 22.5" WSM for over 5 years and I love it. I would never use another smoker, unless I upgraded to a Lang stick.  It is great at maintaining its temp.  Don't get the 18.5.  Spend the extra $100 and go with the 22.5.  You'll be glad you did in the long run. I do own a Smoke Vault gas smoker but I only use that for cold smoking cheese and fish.  I can't really comment on a MES but they look very small inside.  I don't think you can put a full slab of ribs in it without cutting them in half.  Happy smoking.
  19. phatbac

    phatbac Master of the Pit

    I agree if you are spending 3-400$ then WSM is the way to go its a great smoker.

    Weber also makes some nice accessories you can buy for the WSM like a rib and roast rack for like $25. it can hold 4 racks of ribs or elevate a roast on it above a foil fan to catch drippings but keep smoke around it 360 degrees of area.

    Happy Smoking,

    phatbac (Aaron)

Share This Page