If you’re a fan of barbecue and itching to be a backyard pitmaster, I have a little bit of bad news. A really good, professional-size smoker can cost thousands. I don’t have that kind of money, or that kind of space, so I went asking around for the best quality AND best value. The reviews and comments came back the same: Get a Weber Smokey Mountain.
Weber is known all over the world for providing high quality grills, and as I learned, smokers. The Smokey Mountain is a porcelain-enameled steel, three-piece-unit that smokes from the bottom-up; has easy access to the coal chamber, water pan, and has two nickel-plated racks for food.
There are three different sizes available; 14 in.($199), 18.5 in.($277), and the 22 in.($377), and black is the standard color. For budgetary reasons, I went with the 14-inch model; but if you can swing it, it would be in your best interest to grab the 22-inch model. The 14- inch version handled whole chickens, sausage and a rack of pork ribs (cut in half) extremely well, but if you’re looking to do a whole brisket– it just won’t fit.
There are three air vents on the bottom and one vent on the top to control air flow, and there is a thermometer on the top of the dome. I recommend using an instant-read thermometer to gauge a more accurate internal temperature. I was getting about a 15 degree difference from the built-in thermometer to the one I inserted. ( There is a rubber slot on the side to use a probe-style or regular food-style thermometer). You can also unscrew the stock model and replace it with a different one. Different size dials, and hopefully a more accurate read help sway the anxiousness about smoking quality meat.
Once the vents are in place, and as long as you put enough charcoal, the Weber Smokey Mountain holds heat extremely well. The water pan is extremely useful to maintain moisture and if you need to add more fuel, the side panel is large enough to add more.
Can you find similar smokers? Yes.
Will they last as long or perform as well? No, I really don’t think so. These are sturdy, they are made with great materials, and they have won awards! If you’re thinking about starting to smoke meat as a hobby, definitely look into one of these for your backyard, or on your RV.
Do you own a WSM and have any tips or tricks? Let us know in the comment section below!
Featured image courtesy Weber.com
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