Doing some research thinking about a Weber Smokey Mountain 18"

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by avas38, Nov 18, 2010.

  1. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    I've been wanting a smoker for a while now and have been doing some research. I don't have much smoking experience, but my dad does have a new braunfels super longhorn deluxe smoker or something like it and I have some experience using it. Only hot smoking though, never cold.

    If I'm going to get a smoker I want something that I can cold smoke in. Because of that I was looking at Bradley smokers, but don't want to be stuck with using their proprietary wood patties. After doing more research I discovered many people are really happy with their WSMs and I since don't need a huge smoker the 18" looks pretty good. A nice value and not huge. Is it possible to cold smoke on a WSM without much issue or is some cold smoke generator necessary to do so (if so are there any suggestions)?

    I also know some people use their WSM to grill, I won't be doing that, but am curious what people's experience with the capacity of the 18. About how much can fit on the 18"?

    Am I looking in the right direction with the WSM or is there some other smoker I should look at? Any suggestions on cold smoke generators?

    Also do WSMs do well sitting outside on a patio? I would get a cover for it.

    Thanks for your help!
    Last edited: Nov 18, 2010
  2. dave54

    dave54 Smoking Fanatic

    If the Bradley was your first choice and you didn't like the pucks ,you should check out the

    Master built 30 and 40 ,

      A lot of us love them and it's great for hot and cold smoking

     Oh , and welcome !!!!

     ( when you got a minute stroll over to roll call)
  3. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The WSM's are a great unit. For a family of 4 the 18.5" works just fine, I have the 22.5" but I like the extra room for cooking side dishes and appetizers while I am cooking the main course. For cold smoking get the A-Maz-N-Smoker and put it down in the bottom of your WSM and you can cold smoke to your hearts content.

    I had a side fire box smoker before my WSM and I love the WSM sooo much more, it really is a great unit.
  4. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    Bradley was my first thought because I heard it was one of the few smokers that without any gadgets or mods you could cold smoke in. As I started researching more, I discovered that there were so many other simple options to cold smoke that buying the Bradley for this reason was silly.

    How would you compare the Master built 30 or 40 to the WSM? Obviously one is electric and the other is charcoal, but I don't know what that means for the final product. They are in the same price range. My primary concerns, in order of importance are: 1) smoke quality (flavor/looks etc) 2) durability/life (it seems the WSM would last longer without electric components) 3) cost to use (the master would probably be cheaper to run without coal) 4) ease of use.

    Can the master be covered left outside permanently?

    Sounds like the 18.5" will be perfect for me. Most times I will smoke for two. What sides and apps do you smoke as well?

    The A-Maz does look nice. That is what made me realize a Bradley was unnecessary.
  5. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Bascially anything you could cook in an oven you can smoke. Mac-n-cheese, baked beans, all kinds of veggies, just to name a few things. It really is only limited by your imagination..... just look for posts by Squirrel, that gal will smoke anything if it will hold still long enough... lol.
  6. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    Thanks for the tips on smoking sides, that sounds exciting.

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the Master built 30 or 40 versus the WSM? Strengths and weaknesses why some prefer one over the other?
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I have never used s Masterbuilt so I can't speak for or against them, but I love my WSM. I have always like charcoal as a heating/cooking source, and started out with a Char-Griller Smokin' Pro with the side firebox. But I never felt comfortable doing long smokes on my Char-Griller, it just wouln't run very long without having to mess with the fire. So after talking to a friend and reading some posts here on the forum I sold my Char-Griller and got the 22.5" WSM - wish I had just done that to start with... lol.

    First few times I used my WSM I almost felt guilty at how easy it was to use. In the summer I can run for about 22-24 hrs. on one full ring of charcoal and I only have to adjust the air intakes after about 12-16 hrs. In the winter it does use more fuel with the colder temps outside, but I have been debating on building an insulated enclosure to solve that - even just sitting on my covered porch I can let it run for 12 hrs. with an outdoor temp between 38°-29°.

    I also really like how much stuff I can put on my WSM at one time, because I usually do my smokes on the weekend, then vacuum pack the meats and use them throughout the week to make various meals. So I usually am loading up the WSM (why waste space? [​IMG]), with 30-40 lbs. of meat. Clean up is fairly simple as well, only thing to figure out is what to do with the water in the water pan. I try to have it finish up with very little water in the pan, then I dump my cold ashes into a bucket lined with a garbage  bag and dump the water into that. The ashes absorb the water and it sets up into a lump that can go into the garbage can.

    Any-hoo.... those are just some of my observations of using a WSM, super simple to set up and use, and to top it off Weber has awesome customer service. I have heard of folks recieving their WSM and having the middle body section out of round, they call Weber, and Weber ships them a new body section at no cost.
  8. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    Thanks for the thoughts on the WSM. I think that is the model I want to go with. It sounds easy and the more I think about it the more I like the idea of charcoal over electric. Plus, if I get the Amaz smoker I can cold smoke easily in the WSM.

    Now I really need to decide 18.5" or 22.5" model. Smoking for two people makes me think the 18.5" model would be enough, I could probably fit sides and have extra room for meats to vacuum seal for future consumption with that.

    Thanks for all the help!
  9. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    From personal experience I would say get the 22.5". Like Johnny said,he upgraded rather quick. I had a ECB "El Cheapo Brinkman" and ended up building a UDS "Ugly Drum Smoker" within a few months. Here's a link so you know the smokers lingo.
  10. Good info Johnny, thanks. It sounds like I'm in the same boat as you were. I like my Char-Griller but don't feel comfortable leaving it unatttended for any length of time at all. Even though I've only had it for a few months, I'm already thinking of upgrading. I have been drawn to the Lang's but after thinking about it, it's probably overkill for me.    

    A couple of questions for you (or anyone) if you wouldn't mind. From your post it sounds like you'd be comfortable starting it in the evening and letting it run overnight? 

    What do use use for the "smoke"? Chips or chucks mixed in with the charcoal? 

    I'm assuming some form of the minion method to light it.



    Edit - Look what I found in another thread. Thanks for answering my question. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2010
  11. ecto1

    ecto1 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    If you can find a Drum a UDS works just as good as a WSM and you will be cooking on the fruit of your labor.  I made two UDS this summer for around $150 for both and love smoking on them.  I can get 20 hours on a full basket of charcoal and can cook enough for an army on them.  I also own a MES 40 and love that thing also.  I like to cook my Pulled pork and chukies in the MES and it makes a great warmer on large smokes.  You can cold smoke in both the UDS and the MES with an amazing smoker.
  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

     Only time I worry about the overnights is if the temperature is going to drop below 40° or so, then I will set an alarm for every 4 hrs. just to check the temp and if need be stir the coals a little and open the vents. It really is amazing how faster you will go through a full ring of charcoal when it it cold outside. That is why I have been thinking about a little insulated box with a hinged door, would make winter smoking just as easy as summer. [​IMG]
  13. I do have easy access to drums. I've seen the UDS's on here but never really looked into what's involved. I'll have to check them out.


    Luckily, that usually isn't a concern for me. [​IMG]

  14. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    I ended up ordering an 18.5" WSM - comparing the two, I doubt I will ever need more room (I know famous last words). Should be here tomorrow. Can't wait to get smoking!

    Thanks for the help everyone.
  15. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Grats and welcome to the cult!..... I mean family.... lol. You will like it, they really are super easy to set up and use, and they don't require any seasoning so once you set it up you are ready to smoke. One thing to remember, they tend to run hot for the first couple of smokes.... not sure why, but everybody seems to mention it.
  16. avas38

    avas38 Newbie

    Thanks for the tip! I am really excited.

    I do have one question, I did try to search, but couldn't find much. How do people with the WSM hang smoke sausage? On ebay I have seen some "ProQ WSM Stackers" (I have no affiliation) which seem like they could help out, but can it be managed with the stock WSM?
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2010
  17. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I would hang it from the bottom of the top cooking grate. I am thinking you could get some "S" shaped hooks at your local home depot or lowes, one end hooks the wires on the bottom of the grate and the other hooks your sausage links.

    I have never smoked sausage on my WSM, so I am just thinking off of the top of my head here. [​IMG]

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