Once you eat perfectly smoked briskets, ribs, or pork, you may never want your BBQ any other way. You’d have your quality BBQ smoker to thank for including flavors and making your meat tender. But who says you need a massive smoker to get the job done?
Our Weber Smokey Mountain review will show that a compact unit can also smoke meat well!
But let’s not jump the gun. What is the Weber Smokey Mountain? Who is it for, and why should you consider using it? We’ll get to these questions shortly and answer others you’ve always wanted to ask. Stick around to find out the highs and lows of the Weber Smokey Mountain.
- If you’re searching for a charcoal grill instead of a smoker — We have covered an extensive article on Weber Smokey Joe Portable Charcoal Grill—14 inch.
Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smokers
Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
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Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
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Weber 22-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker
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Getting to know Weber and its products
Weber is one of the leading brands in the BBQ world. The company became popular when its founder, George Stephen, invented the kettle grill in 1952 in Chicago, Illinois. He figured that splitting a buoy, using a lid over it, and adding three legs was key to rounded cooking.
Since then, Weber has revolutionized the BBQ game with innovative cooking products. They make charcoal, gas, portable, electric, and wood pellet grills, and of course, quality smokers. Also, the company manufactures cooking accessories like grilling thermometers (flagship: iGrill3 & Universal: iGrill 2) and briquettes.
What is the Weber Smokey Mountain?
The Weber Smokey Mountain (WSM) is a charcoal-fueled water smoker. It is bullet-shaped and offers similar cooking performance as large cookers. It smokes food steadily for hours and has easy-to-open vents.
Popularly known as the Weber bullet, the WSM was introduced in 1981. Since then, Weber has made several tweaks to the WSM, including better construction features, size options, and lots more.
The WSM comes in three options: a 14-inch, 18-inch, and 22-inch smokers. They are all designed to cook at low temperatures of 225 to 250 degrees F.
How to choose a Smokey Mountain size to buy
Weber first made three models of the WSM in 2014. In each model, the stated measurement points at the cooking grate’s diameter.
Ultimately, there are two things you need to consider when deciding which WSM size to buy:
1. Your cooking intentions: Here:
● Figure out if you’ll be using the smoker to cook for yourself or a group of friends.
● Consider the largest food item you’d like to smoke at once. The right WSM model for you should be slightly bigger than this food item.
2. The price: As you’d expect, larger WSM units are costlier than small-sized models. If you can get the largest size, then you wouldn’t have to worry about cooking space. However, that model isn’t the most portable WSM smoker.
Who will go for Weber Smokey Mountain 14 inch?
The WSM 14 is best suited for individual enthusiasts and pitmasters who smoke small meals (an entire roast or two pork butts). A small family of two can also use it, and the model uses less fuel than others.
Who will go for Weber Smokey Mountain 18 inch?
The Smokey Mountain 18 is ideal for pitmasters and individual smoked-food lovers who smoke small and average-sized meals. A small family of four can use this model, and it can fit two roasts or four pork butts.
Who will go for Weber Smokey Mountain 22 inch?
This WSM smoker is best suited for BBQ lovers with large families or pitmasters who cook big joints. It can take four chickens at a go.
What comes inside the box?
Irrespective of the Smokey Mountain model, you should find the following in the box:
- One charcoal cooking chamber
- Two plated cooking grates.
- One steel charcoal grate and ring
- One porcelain-enameled bowl, center section, and lid
- One water pan
- One access door and heat shield
- One smoker cover
- One in-built thermometer and temperature grommet
- One box containing legs, manual, nuts, washer, bolts, and lid handle
Going forward, we’ll focus on the 18-inch model in this Weber Smokey Mountain review. However, everything we’ll discuss applies to the 14-inch and 18-inch WSM models.
Key features of Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
1. Two-level food smoking: The Weber Smokey Mountain comes with two steel cooking grates. Thanks to its vertical design, you can use both grates simultaneously, placing one above the other in the middle section.
The 18-inch WSM smoker offers approximately 481 square inches of cooking space when you stack your food.
2. Precision temperature controls: The Weber Smokey Mountain has a thermometer that is graded from 100 to 350 degrees F. Weber places four aluminum dampers on the cooker. There’s one at the top section and three at the bottom. They control the airflow and, ultimately, the cooking temperature of your food.
3. Quick-access fuel door: Previous Weber Smokey Mountain models were sealed from top to bottom. The Weber Smokey Mountain now has a rust-resistant fuel door at its side. This door prevents you from having to touch your food before adding or turning charcoal or wood chunks.
Our Thoughts and Test Results
Our first impressions of the Weber Smokey Mountain was that it would come in handy for low and slow backyard cooking. The smoker’s shape is hard to miss largely because it is different from that of conventional smokers. Of course, its fuel door also caught our attention, but not as much as the smoker’s compact design.
While gathering comments for our Weber Smokey Mountain review, we found that pitmasters use this smoker to win cooking competitions. It’s two-layer set up is a great use of space. And like other water smokers, the WSM allows easy you to add more flavor to meat by dropping your favorite liquid in the water pan.
Heat retention in this unit is pretty great. However, we wouldn’t say the same about keeping water in the pan. If you’re not careful, it could gather to the top and spill out. It’s a good thing the smoker comes with a cover for the entire unit.
Our only major concern with the unit is that the Weber Smokey Mountain is a vertical smoker rooted to the ground. Hence, if you’re really tall, bending to cooking might be stressful. But if you’re 4 to 6-feet tall, you should have no problems using the smoker.
In a nutshell, the Weber Smokey Mountain cooks well and fits tight corners. Let’s look at how its cooking results when we tested it.
➡ Evenness performance: This test looks at how well the smoker cooks a meat slab at its highest and lowest setting when charcoal pieces are spread evenly.
We’d say the Weber Smokey Mountain cooks food evenly at high and low temperatures.
➡ Indirect cooking: This test measures how well the smoker slow-cooks food when your meat is on the top cooking grate.
We’d say the Weber Smokey Mountain performed above average in this respect. Excess steam affects the smoker’s ability to perfectly cook meat on the top grates.
➡ Temperature range: The Weber Smokey Mountain gets to temperatures between 100 to 300 degrees F. However, we didn’t cook food at the upper limit.
The in-built thermometer gives an accurate range for smoking food.
➡ Convenience: This test looks at how easy it is to open the lid, add or adjust charcoal, and open vents.
We are convinced this smoker is fairly convenient to use. The lid is the right size: not too light that the wind takes it off, but not too large that carrying it requires a lot of effort. Its vents are easy to use. And adding or adjusting charcoal is a breeze.
- Durable and rust-resistant
- Easy to pack in the trunk of a car or in your backyard
- Comes with thick grates for heavy meat chunks
- A long-term warranty backs the essential parts.
- Has a fuel-efficient charcoal chamber
- The fuel door isn’t a tight fit. Smoke escapes from it easily.
- Not the easiest cooker to lift
7 essential things to note about the Weber Smokey Mountain
1. Design and build quality:
The Weber Smokey Mountain is well-constructed with quality materials. Most parts of the smoker are made from steel. However, some like the grates are fortified with porcelain enamel to cope with air, water, or food contact.
The legs, door, vents, internal bracket, and shield of the Weber Smokey Mountain are all made from rust-resistant aluminum. While its handles are made from glass-reinforced nylon, the temperature grommet is constructed from silicone.
The Weber Smokey Mountain has heat-resistant handles. Its water pan feels sturdy and prevents your food from drying out while smoking.
2. Ease of assembly
This smoker doesn’t come assembled. Therefore, you’ll have to put everything together before you start smoking your favorite meals.
The good thing is the Weber Smokey Mountain’s fifteen parts are pretty easy to assemble, and everything slides into place. Plus, the user manual in the box contains every step you need to get started with the smoker.
3. Ease of use
The Weber Smokey Mountain is popular for being easy to use. However, it might take some getting used to if you’re a complete newbie. For starters, the charcoal door is a neat feature to have for easy charcoal access. The grommet also helps you insert probes to check the doneness of smoked food.
As a water smoker, there’s hardly any chance of getting past 275 degrees F since water boils at 212 degrees F. Therefore, newbies can’t burn their food easily. But you’ll always need to check it every half hour and use mittens with the smoker.
One of the major talking points in our Weber Smokey Mountain review is the smoker’s portability. We don’t agree with customers that think it’s an incredibly portable smoker. However, when compared to other units, you can say the Smokey Mountain smoker is movable.
Firstly, the unit weighs quite some pounds. So, you might not be able to lift it with one hand. Secondly, Weber doesn’t include handles to lift the entire unit. Therefore, you’d have to remove the lid and grab the insides to change the smoker’s position.
Weber recommends you move the components separately. However, some recent customers report that they moved the unit by placing it on its side.
5. Cleaning and maintenance
Although the Weber Smokey Mountain is durable, you’d need to clean and maintain it for the smoker to last for years.
You’ll have to disassemble this smoker before you can remove ashes, grease, and other debris. Luckily, putting everything apart is as easy as assembling the unit.
Weber recommends you wipe the body of the smoker with warm soapy water when the unit is cool. Non-abrasive cleaners will also do. However, don’t use sharp objects or harsh sponges on it.
You should also clean the interior with a clean cloth to prevent food flaking. Other cleaning and maintenance steps to carry out include:
- Use a grill brush or aluminum foil to wipe charcoal and cooking grates and then clean with paper towels.
- Ensure you fit all three legs before you light the smoker.
6. Upgrades, accessories, and attachments
The primary upgrade of any Weber Smokey Mountain model is a larger unit in its series. However, you can use Weber’s universal thermometer (the iGrill 2) with the smoker for its digital function.
Other accessories you can use with the Smokey Mountain include:
- Weber rib rack
- Weber premium gloves
- Snapcheck thermometer
- Rapidfire Chimney starter
7. Warranty details
- 10-year warranty on nylon handles
- 10-year warranty on the porcelain-enameled bowl and lid against burn-through and rust
- 5-year warranty on plastic and silicone parts
- 2-year warranty on cooking and charcoal grates
Where to buy your desired new Smokey Mountain
This smoker is made in the USA. If you’re ready to get one, you can either by the smoker on Amazon or get a dealer from Weber’s official site. The dealer tool on the website allows you to see the smoker in the store.
Of course, some dealers also offer second-hand Weber Smokey Mountain smokers.
Can you grill on a Weber Smokey Mountain?
As we’ve established, the Weber Smokey Mountain is a smoker, not a grill. However, there’s a way to use it to grill your food. But since the fuel chamber is at the bottom, getting your food to heat up in its original assembly could take forever.
Remove the middle section of the smoker if you have to use it as a grill. Next, put the cooking grates on the charcoal chamber’s rim. This allows your food to direct contact with the heat source.
There are two downsides of using the Weber Smokey Mountain as a makeshift grill:
- The lid won’t sit securely as there’s no lip at the base. You could fall it over.
- You run the risk of getting a dry meal since the water pan isn’t in the new assembly.
Pitmaster’s Tips for mastering the Weber Smokey Mountain
1. Only look under the lid when you have to: Incessantly removing it reduces the charcoal smoker’s internal temperature.
Also, make sure you add all the food you want to smoke at once. Each time you lift the lid, you increase your cooking time by 15 to 20 minutes.
2. Put aluminum foil on the water pan before use: Grease from the top layer could fall into it and making cleaning a chore.
3. Line up your food properly: Place food at the bottom grate before the top. This allows faster cooking. However, remember that grease from food at the top grate will drop to the bottom.
4. Remember which vents to open and when you should open them: When the temperature is low, open the bottom vents more. If the temperature is high, close the top one as much as halfway. Never close the top vent completely.
5. Follow the right process when smoking food: First light the charcoal chamber. Then place the empty bowl in the smoker. Then, add water to the bowl before it gets hot. Finally, place your food on the grates.
Ensure you refill the water pan with only hot water.
How does it compare?
Now you know quite a lot about the Weber Smokey Mountain cooker; let’s see how it stands against other smokers.
Weber Smokey Mountain vs. Kettle Grill
The Kettle grill is also a Weber product. You can convert it to a smoker.
Here’s how the WSM stands against the kettle grill
● Temperature stability: You need enough heat to smoke your meat properly. You can get stable temperatures on the WSM and the Kettle grill. However, the Kettle requires frequent airflow adjustment. On the other hand, you’ll only need to make only a handful of adjustments with the WSM.
● Capacity: While the WSM allows dual smoking, the Kettle only provides one main cooking area.
● Movability: Unlike the WSM, the Kettle grill has two casters. It is more portable than the Smokey Mountain.
● Low-temperature settings: The WSM can low-and-slow cook meat on its grates. You wouldn’t have to worry about temperature rises. On the other hand, heat radiation is a constant problem with the Kettle.
Overall, the Weber Kettle is a great grill with features and functions you’d expect for cooking meat. Although you can use it to smoke food occasionally, the WSM outperforms the Weber Kettle grill in key smoking aspects.
Weber Smokey Mountain vs. Big Green Egg
The Big Green Egg gets its name from its shape. In the market, the Kamado cooker is one of the few that look exactly like the Weber Smokey Mountain.
● Cooking space: The Big Green Egg is far smaller than the Weber Smokey Mountain. The XL model of the Big Green Egg has less cooking space than the second-largest WSM model in our Weber Smokey Mountain review: the 18-inch smoker.
● Price and purchasing requirements: The Big Green Egg costs a lot more than the Smokey Mountain smoker. The largest WSM model is cheaper than the second-largest Big Green Egg model.
Moreover, you can only get the Big Green Egg from authorized dealers. The WSM can be gotten on popular B2B sites.
● Versatility: Here, the Big Green Egg gets the crown. It can double as an oven or grill. The WSM is a smoker that can only work as a makeshift grill.
● Fuel consumption: The Big Green Egg has amazing air control. Therefore, it burns less fuel than the WSM.
In a nutshell, the Big Green Egg is a neat combo unit for BBQ lovers. If you’re focused on getting the best smoker in the market, then we’d say the Weber Smokey Mountain is an excellent option worth considering.
If you search the marketspace, you’ll find thousands of smokers. Many offer similar features, and it might take some digging to find a quality product like the Smokey Mountain cooker.
We’ve looked at everything you need to know about the smoker in this Weber Smokey Mountain review. In our opinion, Weber can improve the unit, especially its fuel door, and include lifting handles. Overall, the smoker is a top-quality unit, and we are convinced getting it is a worthwhile investment.
Do you feel the Weber Smokey Mountain packs everything you need in a smoker?
FAQs Related to Weber Smokey Mountain
What about Weber Smokey Mountain’s sale?
From our Weber Smokey Mountain review, this smoker hardly goes on sale. Your best bet is to get a quality second-hand unit if you can’t afford a new model.
Does the Weber Smokey Mountain come with a cover?
Yes, the smoker comes with a cover. This accessory has Velcro straps at the bottom to keep it tight on the smoker.
Can I use the wood in my Weber Smokey Mountain cooker?
Yes, you can use wood in the Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. However, you shouldn’t use wood to replace charcoal. Instead, mix wood chips with charcoal chunks.
Do I need to season my Weber cooker?
The Smokey Mountain has porcelain enamel coatings. Therefore, you don’t need to season it. You can take the grates out of the box and start using them after preheating.