Choosing equipment

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Mar 21, 2007
I guess this is as good a forum as any to start, so...

I haven't closed the book on other smokers, but I've just about narrowed it down to a Great Outdoors Smoky Mountain, or a WSM. Different animals, I know....and from what I've gathered, either will do a good job and meet the need.

The reason for considering the propane is the amount of time I'd spend tending the fire in the WSM. Learning the details of how to use real fire (temperature control, etc) to smoke seems worthwhile, but can you leave a WSM for a couple of hours if you need to? For that matter, would you leave the propane for that long? (There would still be someone at the house to make sure it doesn't burn down...wouldn't want to leave a fire burning without any supervision for that long).

Any thoughts on comparisons between these models, or your experience with either, especially the time spent checking up on each while cooking, will be greatly appreciated.

Also, any gloats about how well your ribs and briskets have turned out with either would be great.

There are bound to be answers somewhere in the archives...I'll be looking in the meantime.


Tom I cant help you on the gas or charcoal grills. Im a wood burner and always will be. Looks like us wood burners are the last of a dying breed. Theres nothing like doing an all niter sitting by the smoker and having a few cold ones. But whatever you choose to go with I look forward to your posts and seeing some pics.

From what I have read from users of both smokers either one will make some great Q and neither one is a light it up and walk away type of unit. The GOSM will have to have water and wood chunks added every couple of hours and the meat will need its mopping etc. The WSM will have to have fuel and or water added at some time during most cooks. The real difference then will be do you want to learn to control your heat by the use of the dampers and such on the WSM or to control your heat by the gas control knob on the GOSM?
Hi Tom, you asked so here goes: Frankly, I think we started out backwards. I think it is very important to learn the art of fire maintenance and control with wood/charcoal. If we had to do it over again, would have started out with an offset and plan on getting one this summer.

We have a GOSM propane and really love it. One of our considerations is the west Michigan brutal winter weather. During the cold season, the propane burner is much easier to manage the temps rather than struggling with maintaining temps with wood/charcoal. Don't plan on ever getting rid of the GOSM.

In the end, you have to do with what ever you feel is best for you.
Tom, I use both the smokers you are interested in. The WSM, believe it or not, will run on auto-pilot longer and better than the GOSM. The WSM should be very easy for you to control even though you are new to smoking. The cold will have little to no effect on it as well. All you should need to do is start with more lit charcoal and set your vents appropriately for the conditions. Wind will make them both a pain to run, but has a more adverse effect on the GOSM. With a wind break, both will be fine.

Hope this helps! Any more questions just ask.
Thanks all, that is very helpful.

If the WSM is as easy as that, I think I'll probably take a crack at it first. Don't know if any are available nearby, or if it would be better to look at amazon or elsewhere...$250 is quite a lot.

A propane model is probably somewhere down the line if smoking becomes a weekly event.


Theresa, think I'm going to order it. Is the thermometer you use on that site?

....and what other gadgets should I get?


Hi Tom, do me a favor and hold off on ordering the WSM for a bit. I noticed that there are two different models and only one is available at this time. I don't know the difference between them but Ultramag probably does.

The thermometer I use is a ET73 which I don't see in the store. There are some other good ones, do some reading and decide which way you want to go.

Edit... I just don't want you to get the wrong one.
Hi Tom, after doing some research I think there is only one model of the WSM. Don't know why it shows another one with a different model # in the Smoking Meat Store.

Maybe if you want to before you go ahead and order it shoot Ultramag a PM to double check.
Hey Theresa,

Thanks for going to the trouble! And following up.

I did some digging myself. It looks like there have been four models, with the latest being the 2820 (slight top handle modification from the previous model).

I think it's all good. Hopefully we''ll both be smoking next weekend.

My pleasure Tom, glad you figured it out so your smoker can get to you ASAP!!!

Let us know how it goes.
There is only one WSM, Model 2820. That 8 whatever number that shows up on the Amazon site is a third-party stock number or something like that.

Congrats on the WSM Tom, I'm sure you will like it. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

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