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Today we are going to review the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker. If you have even the slightest interest in backyard cooking you will have heard of the Weber Brand and the chances are is that you already own a Weber grill.
While BBQ cooking is fast and seals in the flavors quickly, Smoking is slow and you need time to produce ‘fall of the bone’ ribs or Slow cooked smoked turkey and I can assure you the wait is really worth it.
There are a lot of smokers on the market and some people even build their own. Weber’s smokers fit in the mid-range price bracket and this particular model comes in 3 sizes. We are going to take a look at each size individually and discuss the overall pros and cons of each.
- 1 Overview
- 2 How to Barbecue on a Weber Smokey Mountain Video
- 3 Assembly
- 4 Is the Weber Smokey Mountain Suitable for a Beginner?
- 5 Is The WSM USA Made?
- 6 Can you Use is as a Grill?
- 7 How easy is it to clean?
- 8 Weber Smokey Mountain Vs Big Green Egg
- 9 Weber Smokey Mountain Reviews
- 10 Weber Smokey Mountain 14.5 Model: 711001
- 11 Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 Model: 721001
- 12 Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5 / 731001
- 13 Modifications
- 14 Conclusion
After reading literally thousands of online reviews what impressed us the most about the WSM smoker is the wide variety of people using and raving about it. There are those who are brand new to smoking who love how easy it is to use and there are professionals entering competitions using a Weber.
There is a huge amount of information available online about this specific smoker with cookbooks, accessories and hundreds of YouTube videos showing recipes and modifications to use in conjunction with your Weber Smoker. Once you have your smoker at home you can pretty much type in any question or recipe in Google and you will have it answered.
How to Barbecue on a Weber Smokey Mountain Video
Click on the image to play the video
When your smoker arrives most of it is already constructed and you just need to follow the instructions to complete it. All in all this small amount of assembling should take no longer than 10 to 15 minutes.
All you are required to do is some minor assembly, screw on the legs and attach the clips that support the grate and lid handle.
The only tools you will require is a screwdriver and maybe a pair of pliers if you really want to tighten it all up.
Is the Weber Smokey Mountain Suitable for a Beginner?
We mentioned earlier that a lot of reviewers were beginners who were impressed by their first cook using this smoker. It certainly isn’t rocket science to product fantastic smoked food if you follow basic instructions and check out a few YouTube videos for tasty recipes.
Once you have followed the instructions for seasoning the smoker you are ready for your first cookout. The only things you need to start off are a combination of charcoal and wood chunks and obviously something to cook.
Later on, you can make modifications and buy accessories to improve your experience.
The big secret to smoking is temperature control and the WSM has you covered here as it holds its temperature really well.
Really this is a ready out of the box smoker.
See how easy it is to use in this video [click image to play]
Is The WSM USA Made?
Weber is a USA company with their headquarters in Illinois and the smoker has been designed and assembled in the US with the majority of the parts also being made there. Some parts have been made and sourced from abroad, though. For this reason, Weber describes the product as ‘engineered in the USA’ rather than ‘Made in the USA’.
Can you Use is as a Grill?
We kept on seeing this question asked again and again so we thought we’d discuss it quickly.
My question would be why???
This is a high-quality smoker that is designed for that use. There is a ton of quality grills specially designed for barbequing as well that fit a wide range of budgets. Why would you want to spend time modifying what works.
Anyway, the answer to the question is technically yes, there are modifications you can make to use it as a grill, and personally I wouldn’t bother!
How easy is it to clean?
The WSM is very simple to keep clean, all you need to clean is the cooking grates and you need to remove the ashes from the bottom of the smoker, easily done with a vacuum cleaner. It is also suggested that you wrap the water pan in foil before you cook.
Weber Smokey Mountain Vs Big Green Egg
I am going to be honest with you here, we love the idea of having a Big Green Egg and really it is probably the best Bullet smoker/grills on the market but….
It comes at a price if you take a comparable sized BGE against a WSM you are talking close on three times the price. But what I’d say for their smoking capability I would choose the Weber over the Green Egg.
The green egg wins for it cooking versatility while the Weber nails it for its low price.
Weber Smokey Mountain Reviews
There are thousands of reviews online and we are sure it must be the most popular model of smoker in the US [though we can’t verify it].
Amazon has over 1,500 reviews alone!
Here is what some users are saying about it;
Do check out some of the user reviews at Amazon though if you haven’t already if you skim through you find some good tips on getting the best from your WSM
Check Out the Latest Reviews at Amazon
Weber Smokey Mountain 14.5 Model: 711001
Being the smallest size of the 3 smokers this one is around $100 less than the mid-size and $200 less than the large model.
If you are on a very tight budget, have a very small cooking area or only plan in cooking for a couple of people now and in the future then this should suit your needs.
The 14.5 has a total cooking space of 165 square inches per level which is nearly half the areas of the 18.5 so do take this into account.
Where the 711001 does come into its own though is that it uses a lot less volume of charcoal though the cook time does remain the same.
Another pro is because of its smaller size it is easier to transport and it can be used in smaller spaces.
While it can cook a large chicken comfortably it won’t take a turkey, so if you are planning on preparing a whole smoked turkey for Thanksgiving then save up a bit more and purchase the 18.5
Weber Smokey Mountain 18.5 Model: 721001
This is the most popular size for most users and will be perfect for a large family or small party of people. 6-8 adult can easily be catered for, if you have kids then a bit more.
This model has a total cooking area of 481 square inches. If like us you aren’t too great on your math here are some examples of what users have cooked in this smoker;
A 20 LB turkey and an 8LB brisket both at the same time
The main benefit it has over the 731001 is that it is cheaper in price and doesn’t use as much fuel.
Click the image to watch the video
Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5 / 731001
If you plan on cooking for a large crowd and regularly hold backyard or garden parties then this is the model you should consider.
Many reviewers mentioned that they had the mid-size model but wished that they had got the large one so they would never have to worry about cooking space.
If you have the budget for a $400 smoker then certainly think about adding this model to your short list.
If you have just a small family and that is all you will be using it for this might be overkill!
Check any review for any smoker [or any product for that matter] and there will be negatives. These Weber smokers do have a couple of issues that require modifications to make them a 5-star purchase.
Door Seal – the first issue is that smoke and heat does escape through the doors on these models. The Smoke escaping is no big deal as it probably means the inside of the smoker is totally filled up. Loss of heat is a problem though so you should grab yourself a Nomex Door Seal Kit which is a cheap but effective solution.
Unreliable Thermometer – There have been reports of the thermometer in the lid isn’t very accurate. An investment in a quality remote wireless thermometer such as those from Maverick will make this a set and forget experience with perfectly smoked food at the end of the cook.
Weber rightly has a great reputation for outdoor cooking products and a customer service to match. With the huge wealth of information online for the Weber Smokey Mountain, the beginner to the seasoned backyard chef will be able to produce food to die for.
Because of the door issues and the extra cost to buy a wireless thermometer we give it a 4-star rating, by adding these couple of modifications you get a five-star smoker experience.
If you are still not sure if this is the right choice for you check out Our Best Smoker for less than $300 Here