Weber Smokey Mountain Review

I bought my WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain) early 2020 and I have never looked back. I have absolutely enjoyed this smoker and I don’t know if I will ever have a reason to change. With that being said, let’s dive into this Weber Smokey Mountain review, as I highlight some of the features.

Choosing A Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker

Don’t let this review be the end all to be all, spend some time doing your research. I spent many hours of research and looked at several smokers and reviews determining what was important to me. Just doing all the research provided me a lot of info as I was getting started smoking. If you want an article on what you should consider when deciding what smoker to buy, check that article out here.

What initially drew me to the Weber Smokey Mountain was some of the following:

  1. The low cost compared to other smokers
  2. The more compact size
  3. A more authentic smoke flavor
  4. Ability to set and forget
  5. Great smoker to learn with

All of these factored in to my decision and while this combination worked for me, you may find something that works better. I will dive into all of these below in some more detail but first I want to provide a quick overview on what you are getting with a new Smokey Mountain.

Weber Smokey Mountain Review: Cost

Finding something that fit my budget was where I started. From a budget perspective this was an easy choice. I was not breaking the bank and with my research, it appeared I was getting a quality smoker. If you are waiting for a sale, don’t hold your breath. Its not very often Weber products go on sale. The price on Amazon is about what you find out there these days. When you compare the 18″ WSM to other charcoal smokers, you will find its in the same range as others. The difference is, you are getting a Weber product that is a beast when its comes to making quality food.

If you are patient and live in an area where these are sold, used, try looking on the Facebook marketplace. You can find deals on there but they go fast.

Weber Smokey Mountain Review: Size

I loved the idea of a barrel style smoker when it came to size and getting it in the backyard. With limited space and a grill already in the backyard, this is exactly what I needed. Not only is it compact but its actual volume is great when its comes to how much food you can cook. I detailed below some of what I have cooked in the 18″.

I am prepping for a smoke here and have a pan below to catch any drippings from the meat and glaze. It is resting on the lower rack, not the water pan.

Not only does it offer a lot of capacity, it does not take up a lot of space. The barrel design is great, Where as, if you were to have an offset charcoal smoker, you are going to take up a lot more space horizontally. Now with that being said, stacking the food on the two grates and be an issue at times, especially if you are cooking different meats. Something like an offset smoker will give you more horizontal smoking space but the WSM does not leave you lacking in capacity.

Weber Smokey Mountain 18 vs 22

As mentioned above, I have an 18 inch smoker. Total cooking space is 481 square inches. Just to give you an idea, on what I can cook on that, I can fit 2 pork butts on each rack, that is about 30 lbs. all in. I can also fit about 10 lbs. of chicken as well. This year, I got a 19 lb. turkey on there. So the 18″ does not lack space for cooking, even for larger crowds.

I am setting up my charcoal using the minion method. This is the 18″. Loading this up, but with lump charcoal, I did an 19 hour smoke and still had some charcoal left.

The 22″ WSM, can clearly fit more, the one downside I have heard and read about, is it is a charcoal hog. Because of its size, it can really burn through the charcoal. Unless you are regularly cooking for large groups, an 18″ should give you the capacity you need on a pretty regular basis. If you need something to add some capacity, I added a 22″ Weber Kettle to the family.

This is a picture of the water pan, covered with foil, no water in it, the lower rack and where you can reload the charcoal if needed.

Weber Smokey Mountain Review: Authentic Smoke Flavor

So this one is hard for me to make a comparison on since I have never used another smoker. I base this opinion on reviews I get from my guests and having read up on others that have done true comparisons between smokers. By all accounts I am going to say you get a great smoke flavor from a Smokey Mountain.

Rolling some smoke now, this is the top vent. I have a picture below showing one of the bottom vents.

The wood you use and charcoal really give your meat a lot of flavor that you may not get with a pellet smoker so take that into consideration. Again, I have never done any comparisons myself so be sure to do more research on this point.

Weber Smokey Mountain Review: It Is Set And Forget

While your pellet smokers are definitely set and forget, from the get go, once you figure out the Weber Smokey Mountain, it too is a set and forget. While it may take a some time depending on how often you are using it once you have it figured out, it is a pleasure and it will hold a remarkably steady temp. After first getting mine, it was about 3 months of playing before I nailed it.

I can now easily do a 10-12 hour smoke and once its dialed in, not once worry about where the temperature is. I will leave the house to run errands and I will do so without a WIFI connect probe either, with almost no concern about temperature fluctuations.

This part I am going to say is controversial in the WSM community. When I really turned the corner in my temperature control, was when I stopped putting water in the water pan. Now, if you are going to get a Weber I would encourage you to try it with the water in the water bowl. That was how it was designed and if you can learn to use it that, even better. You talk with others and I bet you get 50/50 how people use or don’t use water in the pan.

Weber Smokey Mountain Review: Great Smoker To Learn With

If you are new to smoking meat, this smoker is a great place to start. From ease of use, yes its not a pellet smoker but this is a high end smoker, that will not overwhelm you as you try to learn the tricks of making some great food. As I mentioned above, I spent about 3 months of playing with it, experimenting and almost never making inedible food. There is not a lot to too it, so once you figure out how to load it, adjust the vents you are good to go. You can spend your time focusing on the food and recipes you are making.

Weber Smokey Mountain Review: Final Thoughts

This is a high quality smoker that you will enjoy. The smoker itself comes with the following items:

  • There are 3 sections, the dome, center section and bottom section
  • There are two cooking grates
  • A water pan
  • A charcoal basket
  • A charcoal grate
  • 3 legs and an aluminum heat shield
This is the gromet, where you can runs your probes through, this one is getting close to needing a replacement.

The dome has a thermometer on it but I would not rely on that. They are notorious for not being accurate. Get an probe to check ambient temperature. I am firm believer in the ThermoPro products. If you are looking for budget friendly one to try, check out the ThermoPro TP20.

This the dome gauge, some replace it with a higher end version. I rarely use it, as I have my probes to give me the ambient temperature.

There are plenty of Smokey Mountain accessories and modifications. I have not used any of them myself. The only mod I have made is to use the water pan without the water. The smoker sections will eventually seal themselves with use, the door will leak some smoke but it was never meant to be air tight either.

Picture of the bottom vent, and I have removed the heat deflector because I have this set up on bricks. If I was on a wood deck I would likely not have removed it.

I mention it above but if you are ever looking to add some capacity, go ahead and find yourself a Weber Kettle. I added a 22″ to the family and I will use that for additional capacity or even shorter smokes.

This is a great smoker and if checks all the boxes you are looking for I have no doubt you will absolutely enjoy it!

Thanks for being here and checking out this Weber Smokey Mountain Review. I hope you enjoyed it and it was informative! We always appreciate comments, 5 star recipe rating and social media shares. As always, keep that smoke rolling!

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