Benefits of the WSM?


 

Jeff_M_S

New member
Hello everyone, I am very curious about the WSM and have some questions?

1. What makes the WSM better than say a regular kettle set up with a slow n sear or other kettle setup?

2. How does the WSM compare to a Big Green Egg (I own one)? Would it be redundant next to the Egg, or does it offer something special that the egg (or even one of my growing number of kettles) could not accomplish?

3. What’s the deal with sizing? What is the best all around for a small family?

Thank you in advance for your responses.
 

Colin

TVWBB Member
1). Not necessarily better. But it is easier to control the temperature and will hold more fuel for longer cooks.

2). No comparison, the egg is far better insulated and yes, it would be redundant.

3). Sizing covers most everyone's needs. 14 for small family of 2 or 3; 18 for family of 4 or more and the 22 to feed a crowd.

Those are very good questions and are not easily answered.

I have been wanting the Kamato Joe Classic III but can't justify it because the Performer kettle and WSM 18 does everything I need. Just my opinions here. If I had a Big Green Egg, there would be no need for a WSM.
 
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Chris Allingham

Administrator
Staff member
The WSM has greater cooking capacity by design--two cooking grates. Anything you can add to a kettle to increase cooking capacity can also be added to a WSM to increase its capacity. So until Weber starts making double-decker kettles, the WSM will have the capacity advantage.

You can hang meat in the WSM. Can't do that in a kettle without adding an extension...which essentially makes it a WSM.

The WSM is a water smoker by design. The water pan creates the indirect cooking environment that many are looking for when making barbecue, and the water offers certain benefits that are described in this article: Using A Water Pan In Weber Smokers

As Colin mentioned, charcoal capacity can be huge in the largest WSM. Lighting methods such as the Minion Method can result in hour after hour of steady temps and easy control without fans, computerized controllers, etc.

This article describes considerations for which WSM to choose. It's mostly about cooking capacity, but there are other considerations which are covered in the article: Which Size Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Should You Buy?
 

Dustin Dorsey

TVWBB Honor Circle
1. You'll have to fuss a lot more with the kettle, like adding charcoal during the cook, etc.

2. The WSM has better airflow which while making it less efficient will give you (arguably) better smoke flavor. It also has more capacity. It's also a hell of a lot cheaper.

3. I've got the 22 and a small family. I'm not that concerned about efficiency. The 18 is far more efficient and will do what you want but you may have to fuss a little more getting large briskets and rib slabs on it. You'd have the same thing with the standard size egg.
 

Jim C in Denver

TVWBB Super Fan
A kettle is a very good charcoal grill that, with some work, can be adapted into a meh smoker.

The WSM is a very good charcoal smoker. It overall will be much better to use (more capacity, stabler temps, better temp control, longer burn time, etc. etc. etc.) as a smoker than a kettle. A WSM, with some work, can be adapted into a meh grill (more so the 22 WSM).

The two together will pretty much do everything that a BGE will do for a lot less money. Especially since Webers are so ubiquitous, they can be obtained from Craigslist/OfferUp/Facebook Marketplace for almost nothing. My close to new 18 WSM cost me $80.

A kettle/WSM combo is not highly insulated and super airtight as a BGE is. So the combo is not as fuel efficient and bad weather impervious as a BGE. A BGE is great as a one-arrow quiver. The WSM is a better smoker than a BGE (airflow) and would have more capacity.

The WSM 18 has more capacity than most people will every need. You should get the 22 instead (bigger, more expensive, uses more fuel) if (i) you want to be able to cater a wedding, (ii) you want to use the WSM a lot as a grill (same form factor as a 22 inch kettle), and/or (iii) you want to be able to cook full rib slabs laid out flat on the two racks. The diameter of the WSM 18 means you need some kind of accomodation to cook a lot of ribs (rolling, rib racks, cutting, hanging).
 
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Fred BW

TVWBB Fan
One way a WSM beats the Big green egg is the WSM is WAY more portable.
The 14 and 18 are anyway. And if you knock them over they aren't going to break.
As Chres said. The Egg has no water pan. And while I don't put water in my pan I do put a clay saucer on top of it.
That way there is indirect heat.
 

MartinB

TVWBB Pro
The bge is small inside, limited charcoal capacity I think.

The wsm holds temps well, lasts, holds enough charcoal for long cooks

A kettle is for grilling, smoking on it will just aggravate you

The 18 is great for everything but laying ribs flat. The 22 is better for that, and huge briskets , but uses more fuel.

Unfortunately, it needs a few tweaks to be at it's best. But with an automatic temperature controller and blower/damper.....it's as ez as an oven. Tastes better than most pellet grill too. Can use anywhere.
 

Bradley Mack

TVWBB Fan
Are we just going to ignore how much fun it is using a WSM? :)

I don’t own a BGE, and probably never will. I can sing the praises of the versatility of the WSM all day.
  • You can mod your WSM to your liking. Add handles, a different thermometer, a lid hinge, a different door or charcoal grate, casters, etc. Make it your own unique smoker.
  • Lots of after market accessories
  • It doesn’t weigh nearly as much as a BGE
  • It doesn’t cost nearly as much as a BGE
  • As mentioned by others, it‘s portable
  • Way easier to add charcoal to if you need to during a cook
  • You have a dedicated water pan which you can choose to use or not use, before or during the cook
  • You can hang ribs or chicken in your WSM
  • You want to grill? No problem. Move your charocal ring up to the 2nd grate. BAM!
  • Need a smaller grill for camping, the lake or the beach? No problem. Put the top rack on the bottom base. BAM! You now have a mini kettle. (Just keep in mind the lid will rest on top, but not close.)
  • Need to take it apart and clean it? Easy.
  • Larger cooking area than a BGE (depending on the model.)
  • It just looks awesome
Did I mention how much fun it is to use the WSM? It’s almost feels ritualistic. A little attention is required and occasionally adjust the dampers to get your temps (If you aren’t using blower attachement.)

Now, if only there were some kind of website with about 20 years worth of information, support and experience with using the weber bullet shaped smoker...something virtual would do the trick. ;)
 
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John Sully

TVWBB Member
Are we just going to ignore how much fun it is using a WSM? :)

I don’t own a BGE, and probably never will. I can sing the praises of the versatility of the WSM all day.
  • You can mod your WSM to your liking. Add handles, a different thermometer, a lid hinge, a different door or charcoal grate, casters, etc. Make it your own unique smoker.
  • Lots of after market accessories
  • It doesn’t weigh nearly as much as a BGE
  • It doesn’t cost nearly as much as a BGE
  • As mentioned by others, it‘s portable
  • Way easier to add charcoal to if you need to during a cook
  • You have a dedicated water pan which you can choose to use or not use, before or during the cook
  • You can hang ribs or chicken in your WSM
  • You want to grill? No problem. Move your charocal ring up to the 2nd grate. BAM!
  • Need a smaller grill for camping, the lake or the beach? No problem. Put the top rack on the bottom base. BAM! You now have a mini kettle. (Just keep in mind the lid will rest on top, but not close.)
  • Need to take it apart and clean it? Easy.
  • Larger cooking area than a BGE (depending on the model.)
  • It just looks awesome
Did I mention how much fun it is to use the WSM? It’s almost feels ritualistic. A little attention is required and occasionally adjust the dampers to get your temps (If you aren’t using blower attachement.)

Now, if only there were some kind of website with about 20 years worth of information, support and experience with using the weber bullet shaped smoker...something virtual would do the trick. ;)
Amen Brother
 

Joe Anshien

TVWBB Fan
The WSM has greater cooking capacity by design--two cooking grates. Anything you can add to a kettle to increase cooking capacity can also be added to a WSM to increase its capacity. So until Weber starts making double-decker kettles, the WSM will have the capacity advantage.

You can hang meat in the WSM. Can't do that in a kettle without adding an extension...which essentially makes it a WSM.

The WSM is a water smoker by design. The water pan creates the indirect cooking environment that many are looking for when making barbecue, and the water offers certain benefits that are described in this article: Using A Water Pan In Weber Smokers

As Colin mentioned, charcoal capacity can be huge in the largest WSM. Lighting methods such as the Minion Method can result in hour after hour of steady temps and easy control without fans, computerized controllers, etc.

This article describes considerations for which WSM to choose. It's mostly about cooking capacity, but there are other considerations which are covered in the article: Which Size Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Should You Buy?
Chris - Great videos and info.
 

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