Anyone cook with a ceramic smoker? WSM question too

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by flbobecu, May 26, 2010.

  1. flbobecu

    flbobecu Smoking Fanatic

    Just curious - 

    Looking for a slightly lower consuming smoker. The CG I have - I love it, but it can be a heavy consumer of charcoal. And often times we just want to cook a few breasts, hot dogs, etc. I've read that the ceramics hold heat so much better, often filling a "large" sized grill (22in or so) will burn at 220 for 24 hours straight. Not that I need that, but I've read once you fill the bowl it's good for 2-3 uses, sometimes more, depending on what your cooking. 

    They're pricey. My father cooked with one since I was a little kid - and the ceramic lid is now cracked (I was looking for a brand/model) and noticed it. It's probably 12+ years in FL weather, uncovered. I am thinking of one, but treating it well while not in use, so maybe it can last me 20 years. 

    I found a 18.5 WSM locally, only used a handful of times for $150 - but I watched a few Youtube videos, and it looks like to get a nice fire - you need about 3-4lbs of charcoal. The videos I've seen comparing various ceramics, they use 1.6lbs for a "large" ceramic. They are also made in medium and small sizes too. I was thinking of a medium or small ceramic in addition to a SFB for my CG for when family/friends are over (not that frequent).

    I'm slightly concerned about the amount of charcoal used, since the bowl seems quite large - we cook a lot but usually not 2+ racks of ribs, huge butts, etc. I cook for 3 people - one is a "light" eater. 
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  2. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    The WSM is a great smoker & you can grill with it as well.  But if you are looking to cut back on charcoal use, & believe me, I understand what you are saying about your Char Griller, & you have the money, the ceramic cooker might be the way to go for you.  It always depends on what is in your pocket.  The WSM will not use as much charcoal as that Char Griller but I know what you are saying about the ceramic cooker as less goes further.  Personally, my smoker has run 15+ hours on one load of coals & that was by accident.  I am cooking for three but normally cook for the week.  This is something that definitely would take some research.  Good luck.
  3. flbobecu

    flbobecu Smoking Fanatic

    I took out the "ash" pan thing on the CG and replaced it with a charcoal basket and mini-grill grate.


    I have no complaints smoking - its just when I need it for 30 minutes, or an hour, it's just not convenient  as the CG is rather large for doing simple tasks. I figure with a ceramic - it costs more up front, but kills two birds with one stone - it's smoking and grilling abilities and saving a little money here and there when doing quicker grilling (consuming less charcoal). 

    There is just something about the WSM I like - is there a way to fill about half the bowl? I suppose I can just use the same charcoal basket I have now - but then I am wondering if that's enough charcoal, because it looks like the WSM is a pretty big grill (height/width).
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  4. flagriller

    flagriller Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Well here is my 2 cents. I looked at all the ceramic grills I could find and a major problem was cracking, especially if you cool them down too fast. And the major area was the fire bowl. And not all were ceramic, some were portland cement or other material. Then the other issue was extra's like the side shelves, ash tool, etc.. drove the price up.

    So, I invested in a Big Steel Keg, formally the Bubba Keg (now around 299.00 - 400.00) which came complete. I've been using it for a while and really love it! The BSK has some modified features allowing it to low and slow better but you could easily modify the lower vent on a BK and get the same results for 300 less.

    Just my opinion
  5. flbobecu

    flbobecu Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks Jim. I'll look into it. Youtubing and googling right now. 

    Cheapest I can find is $449 for the BK. BSK is about $150 more I think. Where did you find/hear about them being $3-400? 

    Also, is there something for the Kegs for indirect heating? A platesetter, heat diffuser etc.?
    Last edited: May 26, 2010
  6. rbranstner

    rbranstner Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you really want to save on the pocket book and want a unit that will run a long time and not use much fuel look into a UDS (UGLY Drum Smoker). I love mine and I barely use much fuel at all and I can go for around 20 hours on one burn. Just a suggestion. Something to look into.
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    You can make as small a pile of charcoal as you want in a WSM. The instruction booklet actually counts out the # of briquets for the meat being cooked and the length of the cook. I have used a 1/2 full ring to do a couple of chickens. For $150 I would grab the WSM.
  8. ol' smokey

    ol' smokey Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I agree, Up north here ion the shores of Lake Erie our HD and other store don't stock such thinge. If you can get a Bubba Keg I'm sure it would work simulr to my Big Steel Keg. Goto my post and look it over.
  9. catman

    catman Newbie SMF Premier Member

    I have a big green egg, It was spendy but worth the money in my opinion. The egg and fire box have a lifetime warranty. I have done all night smokes, grilled steaks and baked pizzas at 700 degree. I have not used the GSOM or the Weber since buying the egg.

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