Vertical Charcoal Smokers item created by bmudd14474, May 24, 2010
Pros - Quality Construction, easy temp control,
Cons - Pricey
I love my new smoker. I am new at smoking meat and this is my first smoker. Sure wish I had purchased this years ago. I've done brisket, pork butt, ribs and tri-tips so far. The brisket was a disaster because I had not done enough research and took it off at 170F. I should have waited until 200F or so. Lesson learned. however, EVERYTHING else turned out great. The pork butt was tender and juicy and fell apart. The ribs always turn out great and are the best ribs I've ever had. This past weekend, I used the 3-2-1 method for the first time. Man, those ribs were good!
I think my favorite has to be the tri-tip though. Using my new Thermapen thermometer, I pull the tri-tip off at exactly 130F and sear it on the grill for just a few minutes on each side. Delicious!
IMO, you can't go wrong with the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. I think it's a bit pricey when you compare with others but I guess you get what you pay for. Just my .02 worth.
Pros - Easy to use
Cons - Door bends easily and doen't seal well
Was given this smoker as a Fathers day gift in 1999. I don't know I would have purchased it for myself and didn't really know what I had my hands on until I cooked some ribs on it. On accident I cooked some very good ribs. I knew it cooked the best burgers I'd ever had and did a great job with tri-tip and stakes; nice smoky flavor. Now I love to smoke stuff!!! Looking forward to becoming a master smoker.
Pros - Easy to use, holds temps for a long time, seems economical on fuel,
Cons - none worth mentioning here
I was given this smoker about eight years ago by my father in law, it was about 25 years old at the time and had never been used, so it was "new". This is the only smoker that I have ever owned personally (may dad has a couple homemade ones).
This smoker is easy to get up to temp, and regulates fairly quickly. I hardly ever have to use more than one vent to regulate the temps once it is up to temp. I basically use the minion method.
1 10 lb bag of RO lump can last for about 18-20 hrs (can't get it all in there at once). I have made a Chute out of a piece of tin and put an old door handle on it to add charcoal easier. I can load it up with lump initially and get 6-8 hrs out of it depending on outside temp.
I did have to do a couple of mods to mine:
Had add a Temp guage (new models already have this)
Added a bigger water pan - now I only have to add water on smokes over 10-11 hrs
Notched the door handle so I could tell where the latch was (don't know if this is fixed on the
The door is kind of small to add charcoal. As stated earlier this was easily fixed with the chute.
I have gotten four nine pound pork butts on here before (on end) and they turned out fine, you can get alot more meat on there than you first think, you just have to get a little creative.
As far as I am concerned this is a great smoker to begin on.
Pros - holds temp forever, large water pan, economical, quality construction
Cons - I haven't noticed any yet.
I've used horizontal smokers, and kettle grills over the years The all put out some great Q. I still own my Weber 22.5" OTG, and I use it regularly. I've owned the 18.5" WSM for about 1 year. It has 24 smokes on it now. I've smoked Pork Butts, KC trimmed ribs, Baby Back Ribs, and sausage. The results have been gratifying, and consistent. It's very easy to use. I use the Minion Method. Once the hot coals are added to the charcoal. I run the vents open 100% until the temp comes up to 180*. Then I close the vents until they're only open 1/3. I leave the vents there for the entire smoke. The temp will go up to 250 to 260* for about 45 Min's. The temp will then fall slowly to 235* and stay there for hours. The high initial temps haven't affected the final product one bit. The steady temps are great for over night smokes. I think the fact that it will hold steady temps with little fussing is the most significant thing for me. With the offset, or the OTG maintaining the fire is constant work. With the WSM it's like having an automatic pilot on the grill. Just set the vents and forget it. It really is just that easy.
Pros - temp control, lump usage, end product, ease of use, availability, information available
Cons - none
Easily the best smoker out there for under $400.00.
Its charcoal not electric, or gas, thats its 1st & biggest advantage. You are using a smoker, not an oven that smokes.
Great bbq flavor, a miser on fuel, easily holds 225 for 9-10 hours in all weather conditions.
I sold all my other smokers when I got the WSM, they were just wasting space since they were never going to be used again.
Pros - Ease of use, consistency, durability, value
Cons - Small imperfections require modifications, everyone's got one
This is actually a review of the previous model (no built-in thermometer, etc.).
What can I say that hasn't already been said about the venerable WSM? It's priced like an entry level smoker but performs with the best of them. At some point I'll adopt more modern technology (Traeger wood pellets?) or a larger smoker (Old Country?) but for feeding 8-12 friends efficiently, the WSM is hard to beat.
I'll typically load it up and let it run hot for the first hour, smoking beef to make appetizers (tri tip sandwiches, etc.). After the roasts are done cooking and helping to cool the smoker down, I'll add the main course and can hold the temperature there for as long as I want to.
There could be a few small improvements made to make the smoker perfect:
- Door doesn't seal 100%
- No notch on the door handle to tell if it's locked in or not (fixed in current models I think)
- Water pan can be unstable and a chore to handle if you're not careful
All of these are easily fixed with $5, half a brain and a trip to your local hardware store.