WSM 18-22?

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by danbono, Jun 20, 2016.

  1. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi All I'm looking to purchased a WSM either the 18 or the 22..Just me and my wife here.  Pros & cons between the two.

    I do have a RF stick burner, just looking for something to do an over nite cook.Usually cook 2 racks of ribs + a butt or a brisket.

    Thanks Dan

    PS I prefer cooking on the on top shelf only.
    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  2. gomez93

    gomez93 Meat Mopper

    Ribs and brisket will fit better on the 22" so I'd say go big.
  3. chef jimmyj

    chef jimmyj Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator Group Lead OTBS Member

    Standard reply here...Figure what you need and go one bigger...A full packer or rack will mostly fill the 18 side to side. The 22 gives room for better heat circulation and even cooking on the occasion you do load it up. Short of a Lang 120, I don't think I have heard of a guy saying he went too big...JJ
  4. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    22". The 18" is fine for most things but quite quickly you will wish you had gone for the 22"
  5. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I vote for the 22.5 as well.

    BTW, I have all three.

  6. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    HI All Looks like the 22 is the way to go..Just thought the 18 would be more efficient??

    Thanks for the fast replies.

    I've got a Shirley Fab 36 x 24RF smoker, but have to add a split every 45-1hr, not good for and overnite cook.

    Last edited: Jun 20, 2016
  7. tropics

    tropics Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

  8. I had the same dilemma, and I'm pretty happy that I ended up with the 18.  I tend to agree that it's hard to go too big, but I only smoke one brisket or two shoulders at a time.  It seemed like the extra space in the 22 would just burn more fuel when I'm smoking so little.  With the 18 and a guru, I get great, long smokes (16-18 hours) on one load of charcoal.
  9. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Using the good quality briquettes/charcoal either will burn fairly little. The 18" is a great size (I currently have an 18" Pro-Q and have had a 22" WSM in the past. It is just that the moments when I wish I had just a little more space keep creeping up on me.
  10. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I have the 18.5 if you don't want to trim brisket or ribs go 22.5,especially if your only cooking on one rack. I cut a hunk off my briskets and eat the hunk for breakfast I trim my ribs and wrap with bacon for snacks so it works out for me.:biggrin: Now if you get the 22.5 or have a 22.5 Weber charcoal grill I suggest you look into the Ribolator,I got mine with the expansion ring from Cajun Bandit it's awesome so far even using batteries to power.
  11. gomez93

    gomez93 Meat Mopper

    It will burn less charcoal but I can't really say its more efficient. And has been said before, the difference in charcoal amounts to a couple dollars at the most.
  12. krex1010

    krex1010 Smoke Blower

    I was in the same situation and I ended up getting the 18 and have been really happy with it. I bought the weber hanging racks ($25) and that system really works well. I can hang 6 full racks of ribs very easily, they cook right over the coals, pbc style and it works really well, can hang several split chickens (or whole) I've hung 15 pounds of pork belly on those racks. As for butts you can easily get 2 on each rack.....the only wild card is brisket as a full packer gets tricky to fit, I know people drape it over a bowl or rib rack until it shrinks down, I'd probably just hang it on the hanging racks. A word on the hooks that come with the weber hanging system, they are really fish hooks but if you flip them upside down, you can hang large hunks of meat by impaling it on the prongs that are supposed to hold the fish belly open.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  13. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I bought a 18" back in 2005 well before the 22" was available.  I can't bring myself to discard the 18" and move to a 22", but having a choice I would say go with the 22" now.  Yes the 18" is more fuel stingy as you are working with a smaller air volume, and yes the 18" will run longer without refueling the fire ring, but is that really an issue?  Charcoal is cheap and the WSM is consistent so once you figure out the 22" will run X hours on a long smoke you know when to refuel (assuming it's a really long smoke and a refuel is needed).  The main food advantage is the 22" will handle full racks of ribs and brisket without either having to cut them to shorter lengths or roll them or perform some other feat to make them fit due to length.   Both the 18" and 22" will make wonderful smoked food and the 18" can hold a lot of meat without modification.  I regularly do 4 10 pound butts on my 18" for the office.  I have done 6 in the 18" one time.  It worked, but I don't think I want to repeat that as it was pushing the capability of the 18" a little too much.  I had to do a lot of meat rotation and stand them on end like tripods on each grate.  I've seen posts of 6 in the 22" no problem, so again if you need volume, the 22" is clearly the way to go.

    On the flip side, now that both my kids have moved out and it's just the wife and I, the 18" is plenty big for what I need.  I can adapt ribs and brisket to fit.  So depending on the size of the cooks your will likely be going the 18" may work better for you.  You save money up front and on fuel.  I do pulled pork, sausage and snack sticks mostly in mine and occasionally do ribs.  I infrequently will do a small brisket so this explains why I see no reason to discard my 18" and move to the 22".

    And like Richie said, add a BBQ Guru (or similar) to either WSM and you have about as close to set and forget as can be done with charcoal and fire.

    And you can add an e-WSM mod to either by buying an extra door for the body so you can run low temps for sausage and snack sticks as an electric smoker just by switching out the body door.  To go back to charcoal, just put in the other door and smoke on.....
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  14. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Hi Just looking for a WSM to do over nite cooks..I can get a GREAT deal on a used 22" WSM.

    OK the question is so once temps are settle in how long will the 22 go before I have to deal with it?

    Looking for temps 250-275. I know there is No prefect answer just a ball park would be good.

    Thanks Dan
  15. dward51

    dward51 Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    The only time I need to add more fuel in my 18.5" is when I'm doing a 20 hour pork butt smoke.  I've done an entire overnight smoke on a single load of charcoal, but charcoal is cheap so I generally reload and get a good nights sleep.   A WSM will pretty much hold temp as long as it has fuel once you get the vents dialed in.  If you add a BBQ Guru or other similar device, it will absolutely hold the set temp as long as there is fuel to burn with no intervention at all.

    I seem to recall that in another Weber based forum (wink, wink.....) someone from Weber posted they could get 14 hours max out of a 22.5" WSM.  The forum owner found 11 1/2 to 12 about the max he could obtain before needing to refuel.  So even on an overnight smoke, if you refuel, that's a reasonable amount of time.  I know those were reported to be using water in the water pan.  In my 18.5" I get longer times using a clay flower pot base in my empty water pan (I use the old water pan as it is not as deep and I can slightly overfill the fire ring with mounded coals that way).  The main drawback with a clay pot base is if you overshoot your target temp, it's a little harder to get it back down as water is a better temp moderator as it wants to stay liquid at 212* and when steam falls back to liquid water it sucks a lot more energy out of the air column for the phase change (but that's another long thread for another day).   So the 18.5" seems to be capable of running longer with the limitations of having to work around the 18.5" wide body and holding potentially less meat at maximum load.
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2016
  16. danbono

    danbono Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    HI All I was able to pick up a used WSM 22", needs alittle TLC but the price was right and I had to have it. Still learning about it, now I guess I just have to fire it up , and see how things go..This smoker is more for long overnite cooks, Briskets Pork butts., if it holds up.

    Thanks Dan

  17. My 22" usually runs for 6-7 hours before the need to add any charcoal
  18. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    I just did an overnight butt smoke & the WSM went 23 1/2 hours without adding any charcoal or wood.

    However it was being controlled by a BBQ Guru & the temp was set at 210.

    When I took the butt off at 23 1/2 hours the WSM was still holding 210.

    If your interested here is the thread.

  19. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Looks like a trip to the car wash maybe in order! Congrats on the new smoker! Now ou need the Cajun bandit rotisserie,expansion ring and Ribolator!
  20. I've got the 18.5, cooked for lots of folks and it's really efficient (unlike the 22.5). I can fit like 6 or 7 racks of loin back ribs on just the top rack with a rib holder. 

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