Weber Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Charcoal Smoker Review

Weber Smokey Mountain CookerImagine a charcoal smoker that produces the true smoky fall-off-the-bone delicious meats. Now imagine that smoker in your backyard. Imagine proudly showing your friends when they ask where you got this perfectly cooked meat.

Well, the Weber Smokey Mountain will help you become a backyard pitmaster with very little effort. If you’re looking for efficiency, predictability, great design with your comfort and safety in mind….this might be the one for you.

Meet the Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker

Weber is a trusted name and a familiar brand in the world of grilling and smoking.

The unique design of the Smokey Mountain 721001 Smoker Cooker was introduced in 1981 and is the best of the bullet-shaped smokers. The iconic shape and excellent results have not changed, but some features have been added, such as the heat-resistant handle, selection of different sizes, and the thermometer inbuilt in the lid.

This smoker is designed for your success as a backyard pitmaster and importantly, your safety and comfort have also been considered. It’s a well-presented shiny black smoker and will look elegant on any patio.

What kind of smoker is the Weber Smokey Mountain?

Also known as the Weber Bullet, this unit is the definition of a water smoker.

How do water smokers work?

A water smoker consists of a firebox and a cooking chamber like all smokers, but it has an added design feature. A water pan sits between the firebox and cooking grates. As the charcoals get hot, the water creates a humid atmosphere, and the steam combines with the smoke to ensure moist, tender meat with a smoky taste. This ability to create its own moisture means that you won’t need to wrap your meat.

To add to the taste, you can experiment with mixing some other flavors in, such as apple cider, beer, wine, fruit juices, herbs, or spices.

Construction

What is the Weber Smokey Mountain made of?

The body of the smoker is constructed of powder-coated steel with porcelain enamel, making it rust-resistant and able to hold the heat. The aluminum legs, the water pan, and the dampers are also resistant to rust and oxidation.

The steel cooking grates are nickel-plated, which makes them easier to clean.

The handle of the lid is made of glass-reinforced nylon, which is heat-resistant for your safety.

It looks like one unit, but it’s actually three pieces stacked together. It’s easier to carry out of your garage than a standard smoker because you can carry each piece separately.

Starting at the bottom, the smoker stands on three legs. The base section holds the charcoal ring. It also has three vents that are adjustable. On the underside of the base, there is an aluminum heat shield to protect your patio from damage caused by the heat. We recommend putting a deck mat under any smoker or grill to protect your floor surfaces.

The middle portion holds the removable access door to the charcoal and wood area. You can also see the food on the lower grate through the door.

The large metal water pan directly above the coals absorbs the heat and then releases it slowly, which assists in keeping a steady temperature. It also catches any drippings from the food above. This prevents the waste of juices and also makes cleaning easier.

The food grates are contained in the middle section. They are constructed of steel and nickel-plated. This adds to their durability and makes cleaning much easier.

The lid has an inbuilt thermometer, but it would be advisable to invest in a more accurate meat thermometer for food safety. The lid also has another vent, and the handle stays cool during cooking.

Temperature Control

How do you control the heat on a Weber Smokey Mountain?

The Weber Smokey Mountain is designed to keep a stable temperature for hours at a time. The temperature is controlled by manipulating each adjustable vent. There is one in the lid and three in the base section.

The lid vent should be open. The vents in the base section should be manipulated for even smoking. They should each be opened to the same degree.

Weber Smokey Mountain Vent

Another design feature is the water pan, which also helps to regulate the temperature. The large water bowl is directly above the coals. It acts as a heat sink, absorbing the heat and then releasing it slowly, which assists in keeping a steady temperature.

Weber Smokey Mountain Water Tray

The WSM has a readymade silicone opening for wires from your internal meat temperature probes.  It keeps them all together and protects them from the heat.

Weber Smokey Mountain Silicone Meat Probe Port

There is also an inbuilt thermometer in the lid to give you an idea of the inside temperature. We recommend using a meat thermometer to ensure the meat has reached the appropriate temperature for food safety before serving.

Weber Smokey Mountain Temperature Gauge With Smoke Zone

How do I make my Weber smoker hotter?

The dampers/vents allow oxygen to be added to the cook, allowing you to control the airflow. You can increase the temperature by opening the vents a little more.

The temperature level is controlled by adjusting the vents; there is one in the lid and three in the base section.

Ease Of Use

Is the Weber Smokey Mountain easy to use?

This smoker is known to be easy to use and is highly rated by customers. Once you master the lighting procedure, it’s only a matter of monitoring, and you’ll produce a meal that will make your friends envious.

There are several features that make this smoker easy to use:

  • The removable fuel door is separate from the cooking chamber, so no heat or smoke will escape when you tend to the more charcoal or water.
  • There is a readymade area to set up your internal temperature probes so you know exactly when the meat is done.
  • It’s designed to hold a steady internal temperature; it’s on your side!

Do you have to season a Weber Smokey Mountain?

There is no need to officially season your Weber Smokey Mountain. Seasoning is required if the unit is constructed of raw steel. Your new smoker is constructed of steel, but it’s also coated in a porcelain coating that protects it from rust and oxidation.

Maybe give it a wipe-out before the first use to get rid of dust or other production residue.

How do you set up the charcoal on a Weber Smokey Mountain?

  • Remove the lid, set it aside
  • Remove the center section, set aside
    Ensure all vents in the bottom section are completely open; there are 3
  • Put four wood chunks for smoking on the charcoal grate; place them at the four points of the compass
  • Place the required quantity of unlit charcoal briquettes around the edge
  • Use a chimney starter to light another set of briquettes
  • When they are lit and starting to ash, pour them from the chimney starter into the center of the grate
  • Flatten them out to ensure that the lit briquettes are touching the unlit briquettes
  • Replace the center section
  • Fill the water pan, taking care not to spill any
  • Put the cooking grates in place
  • Allow the smoker to preheat to the required temperature
  • At that stage, close the bottom vents to halfway
  • If there are any temperature fluctuations, adjust the bottom vents as needed, taking care to adjust them all equally
  • When the temperature is correct, and the smoke is visible, put your food on the cooking grates
  • Replace the lid

This Weber set-up video may help.

The temperature needs to be checked every hour or so. There’s a thermometer built into the lid, but it would be advisable to use a premium meat thermometer to ensure food safety. You can use meat probes to keep track of the internal temperature of the meat. This smoker has a handy silicone thermometer port for this function.

How Long Does Weber Smokey Mountain charcoal last?

The charcoal should last about 6 hours, depending on the type and how fast it burns.

How Long Does Weber Smokey Mountain water last?

The water pan needs to be refilled every few hours. Fill it with warm liquids so you won’t slow down the smoking process.

Where do you put the wood in a Weber Smokey Mountain?

The wood chunks you have chosen to add flavor are placed in the charcoal grate section at the base of the unit. You can access this area through the door during cooking without releasing heat or smoke.

How much wood do you use in a Weber Smokey Mountain?

Weber suggests using four wood chunks to enable the smoke. They should be placed in the base of the unit with the lighted briquettes, distributed evenly around the ring.

Can you use logs in Weber Smokey Mountain?

The short answer is no.  This smoker was designed to operate using charcoal as fuel. Wood needs a higher temperature to burn and that is not what you want when you’re smoking. The best-smoked meats are the product of being slowly cooked at a low temperature.

Flexibility

Can you sear on a Weber Smokey Mountain?

This unit is a smoker, slowly using low temperatures to infuse flavor and produce tender meat. These are not the conditions required for seared meat.

However, by using the method shown below, you can use your smoker as a grill, meaning that you can get the sear marks you want.

Can the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker be used as a grill?

This unit is definitely designed to be a smoker, but with the ease of pulling it apart comes an opportunity to use it as a grill. The firebox is set away from the cooking chamber to allow the indirect heat for smoking, but you can draw the two closer together.

  • Remove the lid and then the middle cooking section.
  • Remove the water pan and replace it with the fire grate and its ring.
  • You can then place the top grate above it for grilling.
  • Keep all the vents open while barbecuing.

The lid won’t quite fit, so you need to take care that you don’t knock it off. Also, the unit will be quite low, so make sure you’re properly balanced before tending it.

Size

With 481 square inches of cooking space and two round cooking grates of 18.5 inches, you’ll be able to smoke a whole lot. And removing the upper grate means that you can smoke larger items.

Even with all that cooking area, the 19-inch x 21-inch footprint of the WSM is still not large. It won’t take up too much space on your patio and is easily transportable when it’s in pieces.

This smoker weighs 47 pounds and does not have any wheels, but this matters less because the unit comes apart so easily. It’s easily transported in 3 pieces to and from the garage. And if you won’t be able to fit the car into the garage with this guy standing there, you can store the sections on shelves.

Assembly

This smoker is considered easy to assemble according to current owners. You can check it out in the User Guide and the User Manual.

Cleaning

Because this smoker comes apart so easily, it’s very easy to clean.

  • After the smoker has completely cooled down, the outside can be wiped down with a soft cloth and soapy water. Then wipe down with a clean damp cloth.
  • Wipe out the interior of the lid. Smoke accumulation over time can eventually flake off and you wouldn’t want those flakes falling into your food.
  • The cooking shelves can be cleaned with a grill brush or with a ball of scrunched aluminum foil.
  • It is beneficial to completely cover your water pan in aluminum foil before each smoke. This will make the cleanup much simpler. If you choose not to do this, the built-up grease can be removed with a spray oven cleaner using the instructions on the can.
  • To remove the ash, it’s just a matter of removing the lid and the middle section. The ash pan can be lifted out.

Included Extras

What do you get in the box? Included with the Weber Smokey Mountain:

  • Base section, middle section, lid
  • Lid handle, legs
  • Charcoal chamber, grate, ring
  • Water pan
  • Access Door assembly
  • Four grill straps
  • No-handled cooking grate (lower)
  • Handled cooking grate (upper)
  • Nuts, bolts, washers
  • Nylon cover
  • Owner’s manual, including recipes and smoking charts

Warranty

  • For the bowl, lid, and center ring, there is a 10-year warranty specifically for no rust and no burn-through.
  • Plastic components are covered for 5 years, excluding normal fading.
  • All other parts are covered for 2 years.

Does The WSM Smoker Provide Value For Money?

This smoker is slightly more expensive than other comparable smokers, but its features and excellent performance more than explain the price.

Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker Summary

What’s Nifty About The WSM?

  • Charcoal and water can be added without opening the cooking chamber – this is so important with a smoker. If you open the cooking area during a cook and let the heat and smoke out, that can add 15 minutes to the time required.
  • Easy to store and transport – this smoker is stacked rather than slotted in; it lifts apart into 3 parts. Even though it weighs 47 pounds, you won’t need to lift this weight in total because it’ll be in pieces. Plus, you can store it in pieces on shelves or in a cupboard. Very neat.
  • Readymade port for internal temperature probes – in the 21st Century it is possible to be away from the smoker and still keep tabs on it. If you choose to use meat probes, this smoker is ready for it. I like that the probes are made of silicone, which will guard the wires against the heat. Also, the wires are grouped together in a side port which means that you don’t need to close the lid on the wires.
  • Space saver – if a smaller smoker that punches above its weight is what you want, the WSM fits the bill. It measures 19 x 21 inches and is 41 inches high.
  • 3 Sizes to choose from – there are also 14-inch and 22-inch versions of this smoker, just in case the 18-inch is the wrong size for your family.
  • Cover included – most grills and smokers require you to provide your own cover, but the WSM comes with its own premium vinyl cover.
  • Customer support available – there are 3 ways to contact weber for help and 2 of them are immediate. We’ve listed the details for you below.

What’s Not So Nifty About The WSM?

  • Low to the ground – this smoker is not meant to take up much room, so there is some bending required. If it were me, I’d be putting a chair or stool in front of it. While I’m not tending it, I can just admire it.
  • Water level is hard to see during the cook – you need to pull the water bowl out to see if it needs replenishing. This does not affect the cook because the lid does not need to be lifted to refill the water.
  • No hinge on the lid – this may or may not be a con for you. There are two solutions: keep a prep table near the smoker so you can lay the lid down or for the 2 larger sizes you can install a hinge. But you shouldn’t be opening the lid that much, should you?
  • Some smoke may escape the door – I mention this because some of the current owners have included it in their reviews. I think this applies to a lot of smokers. If this is a con for you, think about installing a smoker seal gasket.
  • No side handles – there are no handles on this smoker. I believe the reason for this is that it comes apart into sections, so no handles seemed to be required.  More importantly, because this smoker is “stacked”, handles might give the wrong impression about being to pick up this smoker whole. There may be a cascading smoker if a person tried to pick it up in its complete form.

How Could The WSM Be Improved?

It’s really hard to find anything wrong with this smoker. You shouldn’t need to open the lid very much……but it’s beneficial to have a prep table within reach. This is because when you lift the lid, it comes right off, and you need somewhere safe to rest it.

Well, someone noticed this because there is now a hinge assembly available to rectify this seeming downside.

Who Is The WSM 18-Inch Smoker For?

This smoker is ideal for seasoned pitmasters, but it will also suit beginners. Charcoal smokers are not usually recommended for beginners, but Weber makes it so easy to stay in control of the smoking process that this smoker deserves a look.

If you’re not used to dealing with lighting fires and maintenance of flames, do a bit of research first for your safety.

Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker Cooker | Amazon
$419.00


Fuel Source: Charcoal
Number of Cooking Racks: 2
Cooking Surface (Square Inches): 481
Weight (Pounds): 47
Footprint (W x D x H Inches): 19 x 21 x 41
Warranty: 10 Years Total
Pros:
  • Charcoal and water can be added without opening the cooking chamber
  • Easy to store and transport
  • Readymade port for internal temperature probes
  • Space saver
  • 3 Sizes to choose from
  • Cover included
  • Customer support available
Cons:
  • Low to the ground; bending required
  • Water level hard to see during cook
  • No hinge on lid, but hinge kit is available
  • Some smoke may escape the door
  • No side handles, but smoker dismantles into 3 pieces
View on Amazon View Owners' Opinions
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11/09/2022 12:49 pm GMT

Optional Weber Smokey Mountain Accessories

Make Lighting Easier
Weber 7447 Compact Rapidfire Chimney Starter | Amazon
$18.99


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11/09/2022 12:34 am GMT
Get Alerts When Meat Is Cooked
Weber 3201 Connect Smart Grilling WiFi Bluetooth Hub | Amazon
$98.87


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11/09/2022 12:34 am GMT
Lid Hinge For Easy Access
Lid Hinge Kit For Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker 18.5 & 22.5 | Amazon
$62.99


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11/09/2022 06:08 pm GMT
Wrangle Your Meat
Bear Paws Shredder Claws | Amazon
$38.99


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11/09/2022 11:31 am GMT
Take Care Of Your Smoker
Grill Rescue BBQ Replaceable Scraper | Amazon
$117.30


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11/09/2022 07:16 am GMT
Great Starter Bundle
Grill/Smoker Set | Amazon
$192.07


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11/09/2022 12:34 am GMT
Lasso Brag

Tips For Best Performance Of Your WSM Smoker

  • For your safety, use tongs and barbecue mitts.
  • Keep the lid on as much as possible to maintain a constant temperature.
  • Make use of both cooking grates. You could divide your meat between the shelves for even smoking. Just make sure that the meat on the lower grate isn’t so big that it blocks the smoke and heat from the meat on the top grate.
  • When you get to the stage where you’re adding sauce, you’ll have easier access to do this with all the meat to be sauced on the top grate.
  • Cover your water pan with aluminum foil. This will make cleaning simpler and will stop grease from building up on the inside and outside of the bowl.
  • Even though there is a heat shield at the base of the unit, it’s a good idea to put your smoker on a mat to protect your patio. There isn’t just heat to consider, but also grease, sauce, charcoal, or stray bits of food that could stain your wood deck.
  • You’ll learn something each time you do a cook, and especially when you smoke something new. Taking notes will remove the need for you to try to remember how you did it last time.

Contacting The Manufacturer

Call the Weber-Stephen Products Customer Service Center toll-free at 1-800-446-1071 to receive immediate assistance or use the contact page on their website, where you can send them images related to your question. There is also a “chat-bot” for immediate attention. Just go to the support page on the Weber website and look in the lower right-hand corner. There will be a button with a red Weber kettle barbie, just press that to get started with your question.

Verdict

Well, I think you can tell that we think the WSM is pretty special. It’s a definite thumbs-up from us.

Should You Buy The Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker?

The WSM is perfect for someone who wants an efficient and cost-effective smoker.

This unit is not for someone who needs a combo grill and smoker. This smoker is designed to produce fabulous smoked meats. While it can also be used as a barbecue grill, if you prefer a fully-fledged grill, this is not the best choice for you.

If you don’t like bending or find it hard to hold your balance on your haunches, this may not be the smoker for you. Maybe think about putting a camp chair or stool in front of it?

What About Other Models Of The Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker?

The larger model might suit you better if you need more cooking space. Or if you intend to use this unit while picnicking, traveling, or camping, the smaller model might be a better choice.

There are three sizes to choose from. All three models are the same design; it’s only the size that differs.

SmokerCooking Space (Square Inches)Room ForCooking Grate Diameter (Inches)Footprint
(W x D x H Inches)
Weight (Pounds)

Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker Cooker

2862 Racks of Ribs14.514.7 x 14.7 x 31.424

Weber 18-inch Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker Cooker

4814 Racks of Ribs18.519 x 21 x 4147

Weber 22-inch Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker Cooker

7266 Racks of Ribs22.523 x 24 x 48.568

How Does The Weber Smokey Mountain 18-Inch Smoker Stack Up Against Similarly Priced Smokers?

Smoker NameSmokerCooking Racks (Each)Cooking Surface (Square Inches)Weight (Pounds)Footprint
(W x D x H Inches)
Dyna-Glo DGO1890BDC-D Wide Body Vertical Offset Charcoal SmokerDyna-Glo DGO1176BDC-D Vertical Offset Charcoal Smoker611765720.2 x 34.52 x 47.03

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill

Char-Griller E16620 Akorn Kamado Charcoal Grill14479745 x 31 x 47 inches

18-1/2 in. Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package

18.5 in Classic Pit Barrel Cooker Package1 + 2 Hanging Rods + 8 HooksDrum Size is 30 Gallons5721 x 21 x 31.1 inches

Wishing you sunny days for smoking!

Tom Plummer
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