Originally Posted by FlyFishn
Do you feel over gunned with the 22.5 ? Looking back would the 18.5 have suited your needs well or are you happy you went with the bigger model?
I went through the same 18.5" vs 22.5" debate when my wife said "get any smoker you want" last Christmas. She was flat out of gift ideas and I had got her something she'd been wanting for years. I didn't really feel I needed another smoker but man oh man, the WSM gives a LOT more flexibility for easily smoking things than the Kettle/Smokenator could offer.
The Kettle/Smokenator was so fuel efficient though I was concerned about charcoal consumption with the WSM, whether I got the 18.5 or the 22.5". In the end I decided on the 22.5" just to have the extra volume if I needed it. I'm REALLY glad I got the 22.5". Even though I wear gloves the extra space is nice with the handled drips pans I use and when putting a 9x13" pan of beans on the lower rack.
The WSM I purchased was LEEEEAKKKY!!!! I smoked on it fine for several months but it would go through almost 40 lbs of charcoal a month in four or five smokes, and most of that burned up after I shut it down after a smoke. I was actually still using my Smokenator on some smokes just to conserve charcoal. Then I installed a $25 Nomex gasket kit and that baby is practically airtight. When I shut it down after a smoke it snuffs the fire quickly. In the last month I've done 6 smokes and 2 grillin' sessions and only used 20 lbs of charcoal with lots to spare! If I used only left over fuel in the smoker and grill I could probably get two more smoking and two more grilling sessions out of what's left out there.
Part of that fuel efficiency is due to the BBQ Guru I installed at the same time as the gasket kit. I had some fun money burning a hole in my pocket and my wife convinced me to buy one. The WSM required VERY little attention without the Guru. With it, it is absolutely a set and forget type smoker whether wet or dry smoking. Would I buy the Guru again? Sure. Is it necessary? Absolutely not.
The gasket kit? Buy it and install it when you first get the smoker. I let the kit sit on my desk for months before I took the hour to install it, and more than half that hour was spent cleaning the buildup off the WSM where I was going to install the gasket. Once I had it clean, it probably only took 20 minutes to install the gasket kit.
There's enough gasket material left over I'm going to seal my Kettle lid too. I stocked up on charcoal before I installed the gasket kit, thinking 500 lbs would last me about a year. Well, that's probably more than two years worth of fuel now. My wife makes a cute comment like "How long did you have that gasket kit?" every time she walks by the charcoal pile in the garage.