104 of 109 people found the following review helpful
on July 14, 2009
This is a great cooker , I've cooked on a lot of smokers and this one is the best.
First cook was 2 pork shoulders and it could not have gone better.
You can dial this in to 225 degrees and it will hold that temp overnight.
Put the pork on at 9 pm and it was ready to shred at 9am. The best part?
I did not have to get out of bed to check on it! Kudos to weber on the WSM !
262 of 285 people found the following review helpful
on April 11, 2009
I am cooking ribs on my 22" WSM as I type this. This will be my third time cooking since I received it a few weeks ago and the results I've been getting have been some of the tastiest barbeque I've ever had. The design is excellent, the build quality is excellent, the instructions and support from Weber - all excellent. But after all this "hype" the reason I only gave it 4 stars out of 5 is because, as good as it is, I believe Weber has over-priced it somewhat. I would have expected something of this size and quality to be priced closer to $350 or so.
Anyway, the good news is, the key to successful barbeque is temperature control. I threw away money a few years ago on a cheaper smoker in which it was almost impossible to control and ruined several dollars worth of meat trying. But temperature control is what makes this unit great. The WSM almost feels like cheating. Once you get it set, it just seems to stay locked into a very narrow temperature range requiring very little adjustment as it cooks. It's as easy to keep it "locked in" at 200 degrees as it is to keep it at 325. However, there are a few little tips and tricks of the trade to cooking on a smoker and barbeque in general that require a little research, trial and error, and discussion with experienced "pit masters." For this I highly recommend The Virtual Weber Bullet website and The Virtual Weber Bulletin Board. There is a wealth of knowledge there and you can get questions answered by professionals as well as pit master wannabes who are just starting out and learning too.
I would recommend starting with a Weber Smokey Mountain, a high-quality, easy to use smoker, rather than wasting money on a cheaper one only to realize later that it's too frustrating to use and then have to break down and buy the good one later. That would be the MOST expensive way to get into barbeque at home.
108 of 123 people found the following review helpful
on August 3, 2009
This new cooker by Weber will quickly become a classic just like the smaller one has. Nice construction and easy to assemble. As a competition cook that got rid of a trailer mounted offset to go with a couple of these, I gotta tell you how happy I am. Once I got the temp settled in, I didn't touch them (I got two) until the pork butts were done 11 hours later. I HIGHLY recommend this cooker for experienced smokers and especially for those that are just starting...
69 of 79 people found the following review helpful
on November 1, 2011
I (currently) own a total of six WSM's. I use four in competitions - 2 18" and 2 22".
The 18" are perfect for chicken and ribs and I use the 22" for Pork Shoulders and Brisket.
The 18" burn more efficiently than the 22".
The 22" offers more room for your bigger meats.
All are built and perform well. The newer model of the 22" resolved the vent tab touching the charcoal grate on the bottom (on the inside). They also rounded the access door chamber, probably to help with the CHEAP door they use. I personally don't use Webers access doors, I purchase after market doors which are built very well.
Weber receives a 4 out of 5 stars because of their CHEAP access door. It is simply a joke when it comes to quality. The vent adjustment tabs get extremely hot during a cook and Weber has yet to address this.
76 of 88 people found the following review helpful
on February 18, 2012
There are a lot of positive comments about this smoker and most people go to great lengths to explain their happiness. There's a good reason. I've been grilling for a very long time but barbeque wasn't done much over the years because the results just weren't worth the effort. Now I understand that the proper equipment is essential. You'll have a very hard time making good barbeque in a $50 Brinkman. If you're talented enough to do that you're probably not cooking on one of those anyway. This smoker isn't cheap but it also isn't a Big Green Egg or a decent side smoker in terms of expense. Most of the side smokers are hard to regulate and most don't cook evenly without some extra work. Find a blog on side smokers and you'll find lot's of "fixes" and "fiddling" to get the heat even.
This Weber is really easy to use for low and slow cooking and it doesn't require much "tending" on a 10-12 hour cook. By the way, you definitely can use a couple of Weber chimneys to get a good, quick start on the fire without petroleum based fluids if you opt to buy one of these. Lighter fluid is generally a bad thing. You either have to burn up a good bit of your fuel to get all of the lighter fluid gone or, even worse, you stink up your food with it.
We've been using this smoker for about a year now and I'm happy with the purchase. The 22.5 is a surprisingly big boy for sure when you take it out of the box but now I can do 8 racks of ribs if I want. If you don't ever need to do that much, the smaller one may be a better choice for your needs but they both do the same work in the same way. If you've ever seen a Weber kettle grill (and who hasn't?) this equipment will be very familiar to you; same porcelain on steel construction, same vents and still made in the US when I got mine.
Several people mentioned being disappointed with quality of the access door and I agree with them that it should fit better out of the box but, with some careful bending you can get a good seal and then you don't have to fool with it again; it stays put. It's made from fairly thin stucco embossed aluminum that you can easily shape with with your hands. Just take your time to get it shaped a little better to the smoker barrel and you're all set from then on. After getting used to tipping it sideways to remove and replace the access door, it really does work quite well and the size of the opening makes it easy to add fuel or wood chunks during the cook.
I've eaten barbeque from Texas to Virginia and it's always a favorite choice when traveling somewhere because it's all a little different. I've had dry rub ribs at the Rendezvous in Memphis and wet ribs in St. Louis and pulled pork at Dreamland in Tuscaloosa and chicken and rib plates at Johnny Harris' in Savannah and I like Luther's in Houston for brisket! My point is that I've had some REALLY good barbeque but now I can duplicate what the Rendezvous serves right on my patio. My pulled pork is as good as anything I've had in ANY restaurant; ever. The best barbeque I eat is at home now. The restaurants just aren't likely to take the time to do what you can do with this smoker and maybe Big Bob Gibson's book on how to do it....which is well worth the $16 in my opinion.
If you want to do some truly great barbeque at home, spend the money for good equipment and take just a few minutes to learn some rubs and sauces. If you can read, measure and tell time, you can make some excellent smoked meats without buying someone else's WONDER SAUCE (aka ketchup, vinegar, salt and a few minor spices)to slather on the meat and call it your own. What you can make from scratch is cheaper and better than most of what you would buy. And, when you're done, you'll be justifiably proud of YOUR barbeque and probably a very popular cook with the people who get to eat it.
I mean, they're just not going to be getting any peach roasted pork shoulder anywhere but your house......Lord that's a good recipe from Big Bob's book! As we say in parts of the south, "that stuff is so good it'll make your tongue slap your brains out."
Get the smoker, get some books and have some FUN if you like to cook outside and show off a little. You'll be famous and popular in no time.
27 of 29 people found the following review helpful
on August 8, 2011
I have had the WSM for about a month now and absolutely love it. Got it from Amazon in less than 24 hours and in perfect condition. Have smoked on it three times and have been amazed at how simple it is. But everyone pretty much knows all this. I am writing this mostly to assist those who are on the fence about getting the 18.5 or the 22.5 model, as I was. I agonized over this decision for months and finally decided on the larger one, and I am so glad I did. Yes, the 22.5 is actually more than most people need, but here are some things to consider. I like the extra width when doing ribs, I can lay them flat and dont need racks. With the larger size, I can usually get everything on the top grate making things easier to get to. And the larger side door makes it easier to attend the fire and water pan. And while the 22.5 is larger, if you have room for the 18.5, you have room for the 22.5. And when I bought mine there was only about $60 difference. And finally, if I need the extra room for a big gathering, I have it.
Also, make your life easier and buy a Weber charcoal chimney, and the lighting cubes. Both work great, and are very inexpensive
Hope this helps someone!
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
on December 8, 2010
First; let's just say that Amazon is great as a fulfillment company! This massive cooker was delivered in a few days - free shipping of course just as we have come to expect.
Ok; onto the Weber. I've owned the Weber Kettle Grills since the 70's and my Dad bought his first one from George Stephens back in the 1950's - they are top quality charcoal grills and allow for indirect cooking which is the key to excellent results.
For a long time I've thought about getting a smoker cooker and gave thought to an offset smoker, Big Green Egg and other types of cookers, but came back to looking at the WSM and finally purchased it about two months ago. I came in a very well packed and organized box - clearly the Weber engineering folks spent a lot of time working on this and I was pleasantly surprised at how well all the pieces fit. All of the packaging materials were recyclable as well; very nice.
From start to finish it takes about 30 minutes to put this together and anyone can do it.
What I didn't realize is how immobile this thing is once it's assembled. It's essentially 3 sections; the lid, the center section which holds the two cooking grates and the water bowl, and the bottom charcoal section. As others have pointed out, the Virtual Weber Bullet website [...] has some great tips and ideas and I built a stand to put this on that is on wheels (see pics at top of page). That's really helpful for shuttling this thing around the patio or into the garage.
So far I've done 4 cooks and each exceeded my expectations! Last weekend I cooked two pork butts starting at 11P and taking them off the grill the following day at 3P - Best Pulled Pork I've ever had! We had 12 people over for dinner and all were ecstatic over the taste! Great smoke ring and bark on the outside and melt in your mouth pork; I made a Carolina based sauce to accompany it and wow was that good!
I've also made ribs (5.5 hours), smoked fresh salmon and a smoked chicken.
Be prepared to buy charcoal! I buy 2 20lb bags at Home Depot for $16. The long cook above - 16 hours - was done with only ONE fill of the charcoal chamber using the minion method! I did fill the chamber with an entire 20lb bag, but never added charcoal the entire cook! Wow! I should also add that the WSM held a temp at 250F the entire time.
If you want to entertain friends in a new and fun fashion, this is a great way to go! I've also posted a couple pics of the cooked pork and pulled pork. Great stuff.
28 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on September 24, 2009
I have owned a gas grill for sometime, but this is my first smoker.
Everything I have cooked so far on this smoker tastes great. The water bowl really helps to keep the meat from drying out.
The only recommendation I have is to let the smoker run a cycle without food at least once before smoking smoking actual food inside. This helps to burn off the dust and fresh paint from the factory.
I have been using lump charcoal for the primary fuel and placing wet wood chunks on top...apple wood, pecan, oak, etc. Soak the wood chunks for at least an hour in water or beer so they will smolder instead of burn. I would not use any product that contains lighter fluid or petroleum products. If you live in the South or Texas, Academy Sports and Outdoors sells all grilling supplies at very reasonable prices.
I have also been using a wireless meat and smoker monitor while cooking. There is a slight difference between the readout on the wireless thermometer and the temp dial on the top of the smoker.
37 of 43 people found the following review helpful
on March 11, 2010
This is the best smoker available in this price range. I've been cooking and winning with the 18" model since 2002. The big free bonus is great internet websites that will help you answer every question you have. 4" difference may not seem like a lot but in reality it's twice as big as the 18" and will hold twice the meat. Unless you never ever plan on cooking for more than a small group the 22" is a better choice than the 18". I only have two complaints. Amazon is bundling this with a cover, when every WSM ships with a FREE quality cover from Weber. Some of the Amazon bundling makes no sense like this cover or batteries that are the wrong size bundled with a product. The side door is a good fit but would be better is it was a 1/2" wider. You need to pay attention that it is not slipping in the opening when you latch it. It may not look like a classic smoker but the WSM can cook all night un-refueled and the classic looking smokers in this price range can not do that straight out of the box. This is first and foremost a smoker that will cook amazing Brisket, Ribs and Pork.
44 of 52 people found the following review helpful
on October 27, 2009
I have owned a WSM 18" for about two years and liked it so much I ordered the new 22 1/2" when it came out. All I can say about the 22 1/2 is More and Better!
These smokers are idiot and fool proof....IF you follow the simple instructions. I did a Pork Butt (Sholder) last sunday. Started at 10:00 in the morning, added some charcoal at 3:00 took it off at 5:00 (when the internal temp was 200 degrees, wrapped it in foil and put it an insulated cooler to rest. At 6:30 unwrapped it, pulled out the bone, "pulled" the meat apart with two forks and served it. DELICIOUS and perfectly cooked. I do ribs for 3.5 hours with the same results. Brisket cooks one hour per pound of meat,otherwis the same method and results EVERYTIME. For many years I used one of those $2,000.00 plus firebox steel smokers with great results and time consuming futzing with the fire, dampers, etc. The WSM gets the same, even better, results with 10% of the effort.