Separate names with a comma.
Vertical Charcoal Smokers item created by bmudd14474, May 24, 2010
Pros - Ease of use.
Maintaining constant temperature.
Cons - Flimsy aluminum access door.
Accuracy of temperature gauge
Overall, excellent smoker. Very easy to use. This is the first smoker I bought many, many years ago. Still use it today. Holds a steady temperature for a long, long period of time.
I recommend this smoker to anyone, a first timer or veteran of smoking.
The only two complaints are: 1. flimsy aluminum access door. It leaks and or is bent. Knew this when I was in the process of buying it. So, I went with the stainless steel door, from a well known bbq vendor. Issue solved.
2. Temperature gauge. Prone to be inaccurate. I went with an after market temperature gauge.
Pros - Easy to clean, very roomy, & not much of a learning curve needed
Cons - Leaks smoke, access door is flimsy, so-so waterpan, & handles on the mid-section really should be standard.
After MUCH research & the inability to build my own U.D.S. yet, I chose to buy a Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker because my 22" Weber kettle can only do so much. Overall, I'm glad that I bought it, I enjoy using it, but here are some valid gripes after a few cooks on it.
1. Access door: the metal used for this door is VERY flimsy. A 2 year old can easily bend/warp this door, & smoke leaks from it something fierce. I tried a gasket kit, but it didn't help. Weber was nice enough to send a replacement for free, but this didn't help. If I ever opt for the Cajun Bandit's stainless steel upgrade, then I'll gladly share my findings.
2. Dome lid: The lid overall seems solid, but it leaks smoke where it rests atop the grill. Read several posts online stating that the culprit is the lid being out of round. Installing a gasket slightly helped, but still leaks smoke. Weber sent a replacement for free, but it didn't help. You could try gently bending it, but I don't feel this should be necessary after spending $400. Also, bending the lid might cause damage. Try @ your own discretion.
3. Water pan: The pan's solid, easy to clean, holds nearly 2 gallons of water, but water needs refilling after 8hrs of smoking @ 200-225 degrees.
4. Handles: For easier handling & GREATLY minimizing the chance of dropping it, I don't see why Weber hasn't mounted handles on the drum. I see posts about installing universal garage door handles. A cheap, simple idea, but why should the consumer have to do this.....after spending $400 for a quality smoker? Just my 2 cents.
5. Temperature stability: I have 3 firebricks @ the very bottom under the charcoal grate to eliminate temperature fluctuations. This works nicely just as it does for my Weber kettle. Based on experience, I'm a huge believer.
6. Vinyl cover: Again, Weber fell short here. Didn't have the WSM for 1 full year, & the cover is riddled with cracks & pinholes allowing rainwater all over & inside my beloved WSM. Unacceptable.
Apart from these gripes, I'd pick the WSM again because vertical smoking seems to make more sense than horizontal smoking, & I'm quite pleased with the results. Takes a little learning curve, but it smokes some mighty good BBQ. I was able to fit 4 20-25lb turkeys @ once last Thanksgiving. Hopefully this'll offer insight before a WSM purchase.
Pros - generous capacity, metal not as flimsy as other brands
Cons - fit isn't very tight in some spots, design is relatively inconvenient
I saved up my Cabela's points for a long time, then found a WSM 22.5 floor model at Cabela's that just happened to be the last one in the store, and it just happened to be missing some pieces and have some very minor damage. I ended up paying less than 100 actual dollars out of pocket and out the door. I promptly called Weber and explained my missing parts situation which, much to their credit, they remedied free of charge with no shipping.
The smoker holds a decent amount of food. I can easily get 6 whole chickens (3 on each rack) in mine. I haven't pushed it any farther because I don't want my food rubbing the inside of the lid.
The "fire box" holds enough fuel to last more than 8 hours without adding any more.
The smoker is made from a heavier gauge metal than some (most?) other brands, resulting in better heat retention and durability.
The fit of various components is not great. Around the lid, around the door, around the air vents, and even around the thermometer all leak smoke -- which also means that there are air leaks in the same spots.
The design is somewhat inconvenient, relative to the larger tank-type smokers. For example, it's nearly impossible to reach in and get food off the lower grill without getting a face full of heat / smoke or your arms singed. Likewise, and again relative to the larger tank-type smokers, it's inconvenient to add fuel to the fire -- especially if you want / need to add it to the far side.
Overall, for the level of smoker (i.e., not industrial scale and not generally considered professional level), price point, and the design type (bullet), this is a fantastic smoker. Once the heat is regulated, it can go a long time without any sort of intervention. Also, given proper care, it should have a long service life.
Better fit of various components could be accomplished by adding gaskets where appropriate.
It would be very helpful to have two handles on the lid.
It would be very helpful to add a hinge between the lid and the body.
It would be nice to have more than one fuel door, even if the doors were smaller, to allow for easier / more precise fuel placement when if / required.
Doors should be made of stronger metal and have a more precise fit.
It would be nice to have handles on the center section.
It would be nice to have either (a) heavy duty locking wheels, or (b) latches to secure the bottom two sections together along with handles on the middle section, to allow for easier movement of the smoker.
Four air vents in the bottom (instead of three) might be nice, and would provide more accurate heat and air control.
*A number of the improvements listed above can be accomplished via 3rd party add-on products.
Pros - With the right accessories, it's almost idiot-proof. Well constructed
Cons - Kinda pricey for what it is.
I bought this on a whim after eating some smoked ribs a buddy made on his WSM.
After reading forums and watching YouTube videos I took a chance and smoked a pork loin. It was amazing and people raved about it.
Next came ribs then salmon then pork shoulder and so on and so on. The results have all been moist and flavorful.
Can't imagine how I made it this long without one.
Pros - Quality, ease of use, great tasting foods
Cons - Front door
This is the fourth smoker I have owned and the best by far.Once it is assembled, it is almost foolproof. First smoke took some time to get the temperature adjusted. Once it hit the correct temp it was smooth sailing. I have cooked a turkey for Thanksgiving and once I got it to temperature it sailed along without touching anything. A brisket smoked for 9 hours and half of the charcoal was left. Hint fill the charcoal hopper and then light about ten to fifteen coals in a chimney and put that on top. When it gets to temperature close two vents on the bottom. I have a remote temperature device with meat and grill temperature probes, this is not necessary with this unit, but was with all of my other smokers. We smoke year round with no problems as I keep it against a stone wall built just for grilling and the wind is never a problem. Why did I wait so long to get this?
Pros - Quality of Weber product and Quality of the smoking process
Cons - Front Door
I assembled the WSM 22.5 just like the videos and recommendations I read and it was perfect. The outstanding quality and workmanship were amazing. The only drawback was the door for a lack of seal. I bought the gasket kit and the one for the lid worked great but the door seal just wasn't that good. It did not fit and align itself with the way the door was assembled. This did not affect the way it worked or smoked. It was the first product I have had in a long time that worked and produced without any disappointments or problems. I would highly recommend this smoker to anyone that is in the market for a new smoker. I did four 12-15 pound pork butts that were awesome for the first try. I also did not "season" it either - it went box to action in a couple of hours.
Pros - Inexpensive, High Quality, Easy to use.
Cons - Not sure of the correctness of the built in thermometer.
I bought a 18" WSM about 7 years ago after attending a BBQ competition and almost every competitor had 2 or 3 WSM's on site. About 4 years ago I added a 22 1/2" WSM as I needed to cook for almost 100 people. I was able to smoke 16 racks of pork back ribs in about 6 hours. I used the BRITU recipe from the WSM web site, and had rave reviews. My only concern is related to the accuracy of the built in thermometer. It reads about 15 degrees lower than a candy thermometer inserted in the top vent. I generally try to smoke at 225 degrees and the WSM does a great job! I've added an Auber Instruments thermocouple system to help maintain a relatively even temperature. This has mad it easier yet.
Pros - Holds your desired temps for HOURS! That is the key to smoking meats, beef, pork,poultry,fish.
Cons - Super windy days, over 20 knots, will make you work a little harder to maintain your temps. No Cons beyond that.
New to smoking? This is the smoker for you. Veteran smoker? Spend $800 bucks on an Egg or get this for half the price!!
Pros - Holds temp well, construction is solid, easy to set up and use.
Cons - None
Just bought this and have done one smoke on it and looking forward to many more. Just from one smoke I can tell that the construction quality is great and well worth the money. I will never purchase a different type smoker when this one gives out in about 50 years.
Pros - Ease of Use, well constructed, holds temperature well.
Cons - The access door can be improved upon; Needs a modification for insertion of Digital Thermometer Temp Probe.
From the first smoke, my WSM 22.5 has performed superbly, producing great smoked meat. I spritz and mop my meat - I only remove the lid for a short time in the process, but the WSM will rapidly pop back to my desired smoking temperature. I am away from home on vacation right now and when I return will modify my WSM to add temp. probe access. I ordered my WSM from Lowes - The normal price is $399.00, but I received a 10% Military Discount. For the temp. probe modification, see -- http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/94076/wsm-mods
Note: The threaded insert must be kept short in order to insert temperature probes that are curved. Here is the type hardware I bought at Home Depot for about $6 -- http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/94076/lightbox/post/819257/id/149012