Just bought a WSM 14.5" and have a few questions

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Meat Mopper
Original poster
Jul 25, 2016
Hi everyone!

This saturday i picked up a Weber Smokey Mountain 14.5" on craigslist for $70. The guy used it once and said he doesn't have the patience and wants a electric smoker. It looks brand new. Anyways this is my first Charcoal Smoker and had a few questions:

How many racks of ribs can you fit on?

What is the biggest size Turkey that you can fit?

what is the temp difference between the lower and upper rack?

Any other tips or advice is welcomed and appreciated!

Hi Jake - As with life there is no single definitive answer to your questions - but here are some comments.

Firstly - that is a good purchase. The guy who said it was too much trouble and sold it obviously did not know how to use it properly.

Number of racks of ribs... That depends on how you cook them. Laying flat probably only 2 - one at the top and another below. If you find a rib rack that fits the WSM then they will cook on end and you may get 3 or 4 racks of ribs on each level. It will also depend on the size of the ribs. You can also add additional layers using cake cooling racks and spacers.

Turkey... Here in the UK we would not be able to buy a turkey that would not fit. The maximum size is dependent on the overall diameter of the bird. Smaller turkeys can be smoked on their backs in the normal way but larger birds can be cooked upright (like beer can chicken) as the diameter would be slightly smaller.

Temperature... Surprisingly, if you use a water pan or sand pan there is virtually no difference between the cooking grates. When I logged the temperatures in mine I found that at ~225 F there was only 3 to 4 degrees difference and this varied over the cook.
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I think your going to have to do some experimenting.

There are several ways ribs can be made to fit in a confined area.

But let's face it the 14.5 was not designed to feed a bunch of people.

I would not want to try to smoke a turkey larger than about 12 lbs on it.

Even a 12 pounder would need to be upright, beer can style & on the bottom rack.

I would check your grate temps with 2 thermometers, one on each grate.

That's the only way to know for sure what the difference is.

That's a great score, but a smoker that small does have it's limitations.

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Thanks Wade!

I know for that price I couldn't pass it up. Now is there a difference in the way the meat smokes and or tastes if it is laying down on grates or in the rib rack? 

If I can get a 12-14 pound bird in their that would be great but I am thinking 10 pound bird will probably be the max. I usually do the turkey for our family on Thanksgiving and we usually get a 20-22 pound bird but cooked in the oven, this year I want to try my hand at smoking a turkey or two. If I could do two 10# in the WSM that will be awesome!
I know Al with 14.5" I am limited with space and options. Eventually i will end up with a 18.5" or 22.5" (Hopefully 22.5"). 
I have several threads her on my new WSM 14. I have used the Mini-WSM's for quite a few years now and can tell you that one rack laying down will not fit, They barely fit in the 18. In order to get a full rack in the 14 you will need to roll the rack, or cut it in half. Either way you'll get a max of 2 racks in the smoker. As for a turkey, you can get a(1) 12-14 pound bird in the smoker, done as Al explained. You can fit two 9 pound butts one on ea. rack. You can fit 2 chickens, one on each rack, either whole of spatchcocked.

With that said, the 14 is a perfect size smoker for feeding a family of four. It is super efficient and rock solid when it comes to maintaining temps. Whether low and slow or high temp it will set where you want it. small adjustments are all that is needed.

Now you will want to get a good digital therm. The stock therm is off and you wont get a good pit temp. The following threads will get into that more:


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