Thinking about a WSM 18.5in...would love feedback

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by blaw, May 22, 2015.

  1. blaw

    blaw Newbie

    Hi SMF, this is my first post and I'm excited to be here.

    I currently have a MES30, and have been using it to smoke ribs, pork shoulders, and brisket (with great success) for almost 6 months. I'm giving serious consideration into a WSM 18.5in as my first leap into charcoal/wood. I've done a lot of research and read many reviews that rave about the WSM in it's ability to keep consistent temperatures, have great smoke and flavor, and produce quality food from a backyard bbq to competition smoking. 

    I wanted to reach out to all WSM owners and hear what you like/dislike about your smokers, and what I should know about making the decision to click "Buy Now" on AMZN. I'm a big "measure three times, cut once" kind of guy, and all feedback and information is welcome.

    Appreciate the help
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
  2. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    I have a homemade version.... You'll love it go for it!
  3. pineywoods

    pineywoods Smoking Guru Staff Member Administrator Group Lead SMF Premier Member

    Great smoker but buy the bigger one you never can have "too much" room
    fraro likes this.
  4. blaw

    blaw Newbie

    I've looked into the 22in, but I've heard that temperature is hard to control (and get under 275), and you go through a lot of charcoal?
  5. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Found an easy way to expand the capacity and it will only cost 3 dollars if you already have a hinged Weber grate.

    If you have 2 Weber hinged it'll do even more.   Just thought of this concept yesterday.  I was going to buy a craycort CI insert and pull some sections to be able to grate cook and hang meat at the same time.    I think i'd like this hinged grate concept much better anyway plus it didn't cost anything. 

    With different combinations i'd guess you can do ...

    6-8 racks of ribs and 2 large pork butts

    Maybe 4-6 chickens and the grate area to cook whatever

    The possibilities are endless but all I know is the 18.5 could cook a crap load of food and the 22.5 could do even more....or 30 and 55 gallon UDS
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
  6. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I recently purchased a 18.5 off craigslist. Works great, easy to run but compared to my mini-WSM's it eat charcoal too. Since I typically don't cook for more than 4 i probably won't use the 18 often.
  7. fwismoker

    fwismoker Master of the Pit

    Case look how much charcoal i used on that kabob cook (1/2 chimney and half of that was partial burnt stuff) and this CSR cook from today (1/2 chimney) and have some left over..... and tell me it's not efficient compared to the mini.   God knows i love the mini but 18" aint too bad in efficiency if it's used right.  

    I wanna see you hang some meat from it and use it more!   ...that's an order. ;)  [​IMG]  
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
  8. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    I have the 22.5 WSM, mini-WSM, 22.5 kettle and a weber genesis gasser. I use the mini and the kettle the most but it's nice to have R2D2 and the gasser when I need them!

    I'd say build yourself a mini and watch craigslist for a WSM for half price or less. There are some great threads on mini builds in the mini-WSM section.
    Last edited: May 22, 2015
  9. aggie94

    aggie94 Smoking Fanatic

    After looking at both the 18.5 inch and 14 inch in a store, I plan on going with the 18.5.  The 14 inch looks tiny, it may not use much charcoal but I think it would be hard to put a brisket or ribs on it.  Sounds like those who have it make it work.  Have seen a few different listing for a new 18.5 WSM on ebay, they're around $280 with free shipping and no tax.  How does that compare to the deal with Amazon?
    Last edited: May 25, 2015
  10. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I "think" sometimes I should have bought the 22.5 but outside a whole packer everything usally fits well in a 18.5 WSM. Craigslist would be great if you found one on there!
  11. waterinholebrew

    waterinholebrew Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have an 18.5 & a mini WSM.... I like them both but tend to use the mini more often ! I have to agree with Woody, build ya a mini & look on CL for a deal on a bigger one if ya need it ! Usually mini builds are $100 at most !
  12. trueteam

    trueteam Smoke Blower

    I started with 18.5 and ended up getting a 22.5 too. I usually use the 18.5. I love the WSM. You can't go wrong with any size.
  13. chevytech77

    chevytech77 Fire Starter

    Love my 18.5 WSM. I take ours camping with us and I wanted something that didn't take up a ton of room under the tonneau cover of the pickup and the 18.5 fits great by still gives me enough room for most everything I cook.
  14. I am newer to smoking also and that is the same route I went. I used the MES for about a year and then wanted to try a charcoal smoker so I purchased a WSM 18.5. I love it! Very easy to use. So far I've smoked ribs, chicken, pork shoulder, brisket, and a meatloaf on the WSM. It has become addicting over the last few months. I would recommend the WSM to anyone and you can also Google the virtual bullet to get a lot more info on the WSM.

  15. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    I have the 22.5.  If you try to run it like the smaller ones( minion method,) you will chew threw the charcoal, and it will run hot.  However, if you use the "fuse" method it runs at 225 all day long. 
    Last edited: Jun 1, 2015
  16. jp61

    jp61 Master of the Pit ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Ever since I purchased my 22.5" WSM the only thing I use the MES 40" for is smoking sausage and cheese [​IMG].
    Last edited: Jun 7, 2015
  17. blaw

    blaw Newbie

    This is great feedback everyone, thank you. Drew, can you help me understand (or point me in the right direction) of a Minion vs Fuse and why you would want to use one over the other?
  18. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I still don't understand why people waste fuel and heat lighting a chimney. Especially you the king of the side light method. Probably one of the most efficient ways to light s charcoal smoker. No spent fuel and all the heat remains in the smoker.
  19. Lots of good info you got !!

  20. drewed

    drewed Meat Mopper

    the fuse will use less fuel. Also the 22.5 can have an issue of staying at lower temps, especially when new.

    You can google up minion method and fuse method. There is good info on it, but it links to another site and that might be frowned on

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