Weber is a household name in the barbecue industry, so it’s no surprise that the Weber Smokey Mountain is the epitome of a perfect, well-rounded charcoal smoker.
If you’re looking to up your backyard barbecue game, the Weber Smokey Mountain might be the best thing you can add to your home.
Though Weber is a popular brand that consistently puts out high-quality products, my goal is to go over the good and the bad in this Weber Smokey Mountain review.
If you’re on the fence about whether or not this cooker is right for you, read on to make your decision easier.
Weber Smokey Mountain Overview
Weber has been around for over 100 years, and since the company was formed in 1893, it has grown to be one of the most popular brands amongst meat aficionados. One product that has been marinating in barbecue glory since 1981 is the Weber Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker.
At first glance, the WSM looks like a giant bullet (it’s also known as the Weber Bullet Smoker.) The cooker is fueled by charcoal and small chunks of wood. Those compounds create smoke and heat that runs throughout the cooker. Inside, there’s also a water bowl that helps regulate temperature. It’s that moisture that gives the meat a nice even cook.
It’s very unlikely to see a professional barbecue competition without spotting a WSM. It’s one of the most used smokers in the industry. But does this charcoal smoker live up to all the hype? Though the majority of professionals can’t be wrong, I wanted to dig deep into why everyone goes crazy about this metal bullet.
What I like:
- The flavor is astronomically different from cheap electric smokers. You get the most amazing meat that’s packed with rich smoky aromas. I can’t stress enough how good the food tastes when cooking with this thing.
- The surface area is massive, which is great for large cookouts. You can churn out multiple types of meat at the same time.
- The fire control is exceptional. The internal water bowl allows you to cook at a consistent temperature of 225-250 F. With this kind of consistency, you can cook the meat evenly without worrying about burning the outer layers.
- If you do run into any problems, Weber has outstanding customer service. You can also get new parts easily.
What I Don’t Like:
- Sometimes the lid can stain surfaces you rest it on. This isn’t a big issue, but it can cause some frustration.
- Rainwater can collect at the bottom of the smoker if left out on a rainy day.
Design & Build Quality
The Weber Smokey Mountain 22” has a surface area large enough to cook for big crowds. You can easily satisfy the whole family or guests with the cooking capacity of the WSM. So don’t be afraid if you have a big batch of steaks, ribs, and chicken wings to get through – you’ll have space.
When it comes to design, it doesn’t get much simpler than Weber. Though it may not be the most advanced cooker you can get your hands on, it has enough features to give you full control over your cooking. That’s why it commonly appears in competitions.
The Weber Smokey Mountain is a water smoker. Water smokers use water to keep the temperature of the smoke consistent.
Water smokers like the WSM are much easier to use than other smokers.
If you’re a beginner, I recommend that you start with a water smoker. That way you won’t have to worry about manually regulating the temperature.
The airflow is controlled through vents, just as in most other smokers. There’s no doubt that this smoker is effective and easy to use. Most beginners would do well on this smoker because the beautiful design helps it work magic on your barbecue meats.
The process of cleaning can make or break your overall experience when having a barbecue. You don’t want to dread cleaning up after a good time eating with your friends or family. Luckily, the WSM is easy to clean.
It’s almost too easy.
All you need to do is clean the grill grates with a brush or anything that will thoroughly scrape it. Then clean out the water bowl and get rid of the ashes and charcoal. You may need to clean the exterior of the smoker from time to time, but not after each use.
In addition to charcoal, you’re going to need some firestarters. Firestarters are essential here. Don’t try to make do with a paper towel soaked, because it’s going to take way too much time. The firestarters will have you ready to go in about five minutes.
After you notice the coals are red hot, it’s time to add some wood chunks. Put the wood in the center to allow the smoke to properly circulate throughout the bullet. At this point, you’re going to want to add the water bowl to regulate the smoke temperature. Add the grates and you’ll be ready to start cooking in no time.
Make sure to keep checking on the smoke from time to time, just to make sure it’s perfect. The internal thermometer is useful, but feel free to pick up an external meat thermometer that you can use to measure the smoke from a distance (it’s hot).
You can also shift the vents to tamper with airflow.
Though the WSM is simple and straightforward, there are a few cool features that make it stand out from other smokers in the market. Here are the top features of the Weber Smokey Mountain charcoal smoker:
- The Lid Bowl - The lid of the WSM is great at retaining heat
- Lid Thermometer - Shows the internal smoke temperature
- Dampers - Allows the cook to accurately control heat
- Dual Smoking Grates - Increases the grill capacity
- Water Pan - Regulates smoke temperature
- Fuel Door - Allows the cook to add more coal or wood
Other than being an amazing smoker, the WSM can also work as a standard grill. You can replace the water pan with a fire holder and use the grates to grill your favorite meals.
This is perfect if you’re just planning on having a small feast with family and don’t want to spend hours smoking your meat. You can always count on Weber to have flexible products.
The WSM is pretty simple to set up. You just need to attach a few legs to the correct brackets and the lid handles. If you get stuck, Weber provides a diagram to help you, and there are tons of videos you can find on YouTube on how to assemble your WSM.
After you’ve assembled your WSM you won’t need to do much maintenance, which is a huge plus. It’s quite durable, but I wouldn’t recommend that you move it around too often. However, moving it around your deck or yard should be fine.
The WSM is, without a doubt, a high-quality smoker. That quality comes with a higher price tag. But if you love barbecue and plan on cooking often, the price is fair. You can get cheaper bbq smokers on the market, but they will lack two of the most important things – flavor and control.
If you’re an experienced smoker, you may find that the WSM is a good value for the price. Most commercial cookers are way more expensive and churn out about the same quality (in some cases the WSM is better than its more expensive commercial counterparts.)
Either way you look at it, you can expect to have some of the best barbecues with this charcoal smoker.
Weber offers a 10-year warranty on their barbecue products. Since the Weber Smokey Mountain is a considerable investment, it’s comforting to know that it’s guaranteed to last a decade.
If your WSM develops problems, all you need to do is make a warranty claim directly with Weber and they will have your issue resolved in no time. Their customer support team is usually friendly and informative.
Summary: Should You Buy It?
As this Weber Smokey Mountain review has demonstrated, the WSM is worth your consideration for thanks to its big flavor and spacious design.
Although there is a slight learning curve if you’re a beginner, there’s a large online community where you can find guides on how to better use your charcoal smoker.
There are a few options that are slightly cheaper, such as the Pit Barrel Cooker, but they don’t offer the same control as the WSM.
If you’re a master smoker who wants to modify their smoker over the years, look no further than the WSM, which allows you to add attachments. However, I don't recommend you add any mods unless you know what you’re doing, or you could end up breaking your smoker.