Weber Kettle Grill or Smokey Mountain ?

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by helix, Jul 16, 2014.

  1. Hi All,

    Long time reader .. first time poster. 

    I've been using a Brinkman for almost 10 years. It's finally time to put in the trash. We only smoke maybe once a month tops. I've been watching for months with no luck for a Smokey Mountain Cooker on Craigslist. It's hard for me to justify (though I'm sure it's worth every penny) the money on a new Smokey Mountain when we dont use it that often or do large quantities of meat.

    I've read plenty about smoking on a Weber Kettle grill and most folks find it usable if set up properly. Also There are several on Craigslist every week at a reasonable price.

    Any thoughts on $50 for the kettle grill or $300 for the WSM?

    Your input is appriciated

  2. timberjet

    timberjet Master of the Pit

    If you are not going to be smoking much quantity the Kettle will do fine. If I were you I would look for A one touch model. I have A 22.5 inch performer and my previous kettle was the same size but did not have the ash catcher clean out feature. I love love love it and do most of my smoking on it. I suggest you spend A couple bucks for something you will really like. After 10 years of Brinkman you deserve it man! You could always build A UDS for times when you need more space. Also, I would keep that old brinkman electric, throw some paint on it and use it for fish and cheese and stuff.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  3. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    For the price you can't beat a weber kettle. With the money you save you can build a mini wsm!

    I'd recommend getting a hinged grill and charcoal basket both are available from HD.
    Last edited: Jul 16, 2014
  4. Timberjet and Welshrarebit,

    Thanks much for your thoughts. That is exactly how I was leaning. You confirmed my thoughts.

    Thanks again

  5. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I always check in Craigslist a couple times a week to see what people are selling in the way of BBQ's and smokers in my area.  There are always gas grills galore.  Weber Kettles were everywhere over the winter, but now that the summer is here they've gone from people selling them to people wanting them.  In the winter it wasn't unusual to see new-in-box-never-used WKs for up to 50% off retail.  I saw several barely used ones for as little as $10.  One guy was moving and said "come pick it up, it's yours!"  Thankfully someone beat me to it. 

    In the past year I've only seen two WSMs on CL.  There's one there right now, in my neighborhood as a matter of fact.  It's an 18.5", barely used, for $200.  I have to smack my hand not to go see that guy and start the negotiations.  I figure I could get it for $150/$175 if I was in the market, and it includes a chimney (which I have three so really don't need another). 

    I was perfectly happy using my Weber Kettle as a smoker/grill until my wife suggested I get a dedicated smoker last Christmas.  The Kettle does an outstanding job smoking meat.  You can do everything in it up to smoking turkeys.  As a smoker it requires a bit more babysitting than the WSM but it is fuel efficient and delivers a great result. 

    I learned how to smoke meat on the Weber Kettle and still use it regularly as a grill but not so much as a smoker any longer.  Get the Kettle and watch CL for a WSM in the future. 
  6. Hi I noticed your thread about the kettle and wsm. I learned on a 22.5 kettle then upgraded to the smokenator. Recently, I picked up a smoke vault 24" natural gasser. I've been missing the charcoal life and the taste that goes along with it. Lately, I've been checking out the WSM 22.5 and the smaller 18.5 at depot and am wondering if it'd make long brisket smokes easier. I still have to babysit and regulate temp frequently with my gas smoker. Are the temps SIGNIFICANTLY more stable with less tending to than the kettle? I wonder if it's worth me selling the smoke vault for a WSM. There is one for sale near me for $325 new. What are your thoughts?
  7. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If it's any help I just bought a 18.5 WSM and it's great. Easy to use and a load of charcoal can easily cook a rack of ribs and a 5# butt. It was easier to buy then build for me saved my time and got to smoking!
  8. Have you done any long smokes yet?
  9. b-one

    b-one Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    About 6 hrs for the first and had plenty leftover. Did some chix wings the other day and a two hour burn barely dented the charcoal pile. I suggest you read up (if you haven't ) in the WSM owners forum it's what convinced me.
  10. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Hey BK.  Yes, the temps are significantly more stable with the WSM than they are with the Kettle/Smokenator.  About the longest I could go without futzing with the Kettle/SN was 90 minutes, and that took quite a bit of practice.  The WSM can go for hours and hours.   

    My WSM was one leaky son-of-a-gun when I received it.  I could tell it had been smushed a little bit at some point during shipping.  Not out of round enough that things didn't fit, just off enough that it wasn't going to seal with use.   It liked to cruise along for hours at 260-270 due to all the leaks.  Trust me, you can smoke nicely at that temp and I did for about 6 months, 4-6 times a month. 

    I sealed it in June with a $25 WSM gasket kit and even though I started using a blower at the same time to control temps, I have no doubt it would cruise nicely at 225F-235F now that it is sealed without the blower.  With the blower I did a wet-to-dry 225F smoke for 17 hours recently and futzed with the vents twice during the entire smoke, once after the water pan went dry, and once when I cranked the temp up to 250F on the blower for the last three hours of the smoke.  With the blower it is almost like setting your oven temp. 

    If you can get a 22.5" WSM for $325, get it.  You'll be glad you did.         
  11. Thanks! I'm sold
  12. Thanks for the reply! I'm hoping the person selling it for that price responds soon.

    Sounds like the gasket seal is a must.
  13. noboundaries

    noboundaries Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yes and no. 

    Depends on the WSM.  I had issues, most don't.  The majority of folks have no problem cruising at 225-250F without the gasket kit because the WSM should seal up after 10 or so smokes.  Give it a try first without the gasket kit and see how it does. 

    The gasket kit definitely makes it one tight unit and the biggest improvement I saw was fuel savings.  Remember though, I had one leaky unit.  Now, when I shut all the vents the temp starts dropping almost immediately as the fire is starved of air.  My fuel usage has been cut in half for the same number of smokes.       
  14. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    If the choice is between the 22" kettle or the WSM then it will really depend on what you are planning on smoking.

    For hot smoking both will be fine. You will be able to regulate the temperature quite finely on both - even more so if you also invest in an IQ-110 or 120. Generally the Kettle will use less fuel than the WSM but you will be able to cook more in the WSM.

    If you are planning on any serious cold smoking, although you can do this to a degree in the Kettle, the WSM will be more suitable off-the shelf. Unless you fix up something like an external mailbox mod for the smoke generator for the Kettle, even with an AMNPS the kettle will see a significant internal temperature rise. The WSM is large enough for there to be less heat effect from the generator.
  15. Thanks again!

    Today I actually made a home made smoke tube for pellets using an old mesh screen I had . I rolled it up to form a tube and picked up some pellets and will give it a try. If this doesn't work well, I may try a mailbox mod. Btw, this mod would be for my other smoker...the smoke vault natural gasser. I bet the tube will work well in the kettle though.

    That you got my interest on that!

    My wife is gonna kill me with all these toys in my yard.
  16. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    22.5" WSM is a great smoker, I have had mine for several years and it has never let me down. Grab the WSM, then grab a 22.5" Kettle off of Craigslist - can usually pick one up for about $50. Use the smoker for smoking and the grill for grilling!
  17. welshrarebit

    welshrarebit Master of the Pit

    Target has brand new 22.5 kettles on clearance for $58!
  18. Thanks for the info on that wsm. I do have a performer and learned to smoke on it. Now the new toy is a the camp chef smoke vault and want a wsm!

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