• Some of the links on this forum allow SMF, at no cost to you, to earn a small commission when you click through and make a purchase. Let me know if you have any questions about this.

WSM size question

BBQBenny

Newbie
15
27
Joined Oct 23, 2019
After much debate and consternation, I have decide my first smoke rig will be a WSM. I like to go big, so I'm leaning goings straight for the 22 inch big boy. It's my understanding that the WSMs last decades if they aren't abused, and at some point over the next twenty years, I may want to smoke a big 20 inch brisket or several racks of ribs or want to smoke a lot of stuff for a summer party.

My question is, does size matter? And by that, I mean by difficulty. How does heat management, charcoal use, etc, differ in the three sizes? Are they all about equal in these regards?

Thanks!
 

kelbro

Smoking Fanatic
330
121
Joined Mar 22, 2009
The 22" uses more fuel but not enough to worry about. It holds a lot of food and is easy to maintain temps after a short learning curve.

The 18.5" is a great size and can be made to work with bigger briskets but it's not ideal. My own preference is the 18.5" but I do have a big drum smoker for larger jobs.
 

tropics

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
13,374
5,188
Joined Jun 25, 2014
I would go for the 22 and get the BBQ Guru for it.That combo is as close to set it an forget as you can get with charcoal.
Richie
 

SmokinAl

SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster
Staff member
Moderator
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
43,918
5,819
Joined Jun 22, 2009
^^^^^Yep what Tropics said, I have that setup & I think he may too!
Al
 

tropics

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
13,374
5,188
Joined Jun 25, 2014
Al I have the 18.5 and wish I had gotten the 22.5
Richie
 

phatbac

Master of the Pit
1,883
720
Joined Jun 11, 2013
I have a 22 and with a rib rack you can do 5-6 racks of ribs and a packer brisket. its big enough and uses a slightly more fuel but not enough to get upset about. i use about 6# or so of royal oak and about 6 chunks of flavor wood for a good 8 hour smoke. Just light the middle with a charcoal starter and let the middle coals radiate out to the outer edges (minion method). I have used the snake method for cold smoking beef jerky with a 22 WSM.

Happy Smoking,
phatbac (Aaron)
 

nomad_archer

Fire Starter
46
43
Joined Oct 21, 2019
I have an 18.5 and it is enough most of the time. The 22 would have been better but I couldn't pass up the deal I found on a new to me 18.5. Long term I'm looking at a 24" ceramic kamado joe for extra capacity.
 

krj

Smoking Fanatic
319
170
Joined Mar 23, 2009
I have both an 18 and a 22. I think I've used the 18 like 4 times, and the 22 I use for pretty much everything. I have an extender ring for my 22 which gives me even more space, and I never just cook for 1 or 2 meals so the 22 comes in handy.

As far as fuel consumption goes, yes you are going to use more because it's a bigger area to heat. However you can buy/build a smaller charcoal ring for shorter cooks so you don't have to load it down as much.

Definitely agree with getting a guru or some other controller, especially if you like to cook during times when ambient temperatures are a factor.
 

BBQBenny

Newbie
15
27
Joined Oct 23, 2019
It certainly sounds like my instincts to go for the 22 right out of the gate was on the right track. Thanks, guys!
 

hawtsauc3

Smoke Blower
119
32
Joined Jan 27, 2016
I’m against the grain and can’t comprehend the need for a 22.5” I can cook 5 racks of ribs on one 18.5”. Sure competition maybe but if I had to setup the 22.5” when I can’t store it outside hear round I’d never use it. I’m more in a hunt for a 14.5”
 

cmayna

Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
★ Lifetime Premier ★
2,986
682
Joined Jun 23, 2012
Well, I just inherited an 18" er. Going to start ripping into it shortly. Will be fun to do something different.
 

noboundaries

Smoking Guru
OTBS Member
SMF Premier Member
7,226
1,530
Joined Sep 7, 2013
Get the 22", and don't worry about fuel. We ALL keep an eye out for charcoal sales. Lots of folks use Royal Oak Ridge briquettes, or the RO Ridge store brands (Walmart Expert Grill, Home Depot Embers, etc). We post the sales and you can stock up if you have the room. March will be the next big sale, usually 40 lbs for $8-$10. The 18.5" will save you about 25% in fuel cost usage. If you use 400 lbs a year in the 22.5", it will cost you $80-$100. If you use 300 lbs in the 18.5", total cost is $60-$75.

I have the 22.5" WSM and a 22.5" Kettle. I'll use 250 lbs total for both in a slow year, 500 lbs in an average year, using them year round.
 

gmc2003

Legendary Pitmaster
OTBS Member
8,867
3,024
Joined Sep 15, 2012
I have a naturally aspirated 22", and have never looked back or into another pure smoker. Granted I still use my kettles for shorter smokes and higher temps, but for anything that requires 5 to 6 hours of smoking the 22 WSM gets the call.

Chris
 

Latest posts

Hot Threads

Top Bottom
  AdBlock Detected

We noticed that you're using an ad-blocker, which could block some critical website features. For the best possible site experience please take a moment to disable your AdBlocker.