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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, equipment and outdoor cookin' . ** Other cooking techniques are welcomed for when your cookin' in the kitchen. Post your hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures, but stay on topic and watch for that hijacking.


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Old 10-08-2019, 09:52 AM   #1
West River BBQ
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Default UDS or WSM?

I'm thinking of adding a smoker to the arsenal, one that is fairly easy to transport. I've narrowed my choices to the Weber Smokey Mountain (probably the 22") and a drum smoker. I'd probably build the drum from a Big Poppa kit. Any thoughts on the pros and cons of each? Thanks and happy smoking.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:00 AM   #2
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I'll be the first to beat the drum for the WSM. I have the 22" and it cooks like an absolute beast. Once the temps level off this baby will cook for an extended amount of time without watching (if you are busy). It is also very spacious.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:10 AM   #3
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I honestly don't think you can go wrong with either. I'm partial to the UDS, but mainly because that's what I cook on. You're going to have the same grate size in both cookers, and depending on how you build the UDS, basically the same amount of racks and capacity. I think you can be confident in knowing that you can't make a wrong decision here and it comes down to preference
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:22 AM   #4
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Both are fine cookers, each is easy to transport and operate, but each produce slightly different flavor profiles. I also prefer drums..... because of the flavor of the meat, the customization options (including supersizing the charcoal basket), and simple options for hanging meats.
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Old 10-08-2019, 10:42 AM   #5
Rusty Kettle
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I hate the 22" wsm. I like the 14" wsm. The 22" is great for big cooks but not small cooks.
The UDS is the way to go. Similar size and more fuel efficient. So yeah uds all the way.
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:00 AM   #6
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I have the WSM 22 and I have a Ford Focus. Dont tell me ya cant be mobile lol. I travel from SE KY to NE Ohio (stubenville) alot to camp and smoke for my buddys. yes thats a Cooler and a Masterbuilt 30' Smoker in the back seat as well :)
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:02 AM   #7
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:08 AM   #8
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If you are building your own UDS, the sky is the limit. You can design it any way you want. I made mine for traveling to camp sites on particular, and I am happy with it. For mobility, you might consider a 30 gallon depending on what you want to cook. The rack I use on the back of the car is slightly too narrow for my 55 gallon to sit flat, so it sits crooked and hangs over the side a little. Still works fine, it is just something to consider. A drum will run as good as or better than a WSM, without worrying about leaks. However, the WSM is still a great cooker and it allows you access to the fuel, which can be helpful.
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Old 10-08-2019, 11:41 AM   #9
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Well, heck. While the comments were very helpful, it's not making the decision any easier. I'm convinced that both cookers will give me what I want, so time to flip a coin. Thanks all for the feedback.
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Old 10-08-2019, 01:53 PM   #10
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I have a few WSM'S and few drums (one is the big poppa kit). If I had to pick only one, it would be the WSM and here's why.

Let me start by saying that they both are equally as fuel efficient from my experience and they both put out amazing food. You really cant go wrong with either.

However, I do feel the WSM is slightly more versatile for the price. For starters, it is a water smoker. Some like that style of cooking and some don't. It produces a slightly different flavor profile than cooking on a drum. In saying that, you can get the EXACT same flavor profile on the WSM by simply taking out the water pan. I mean, it is essentially a barrel style cooker.

All accessories that you can buy for a drum can be used on a WSM. For example, gateway drums sell am awesome rib hanger that fits perfectly in my WSM. It's like it was made for it actually. If you've never hung your ribs, you have got to give it a try.

The shape of the lid on a WSM gives it a slight advantage over a traditionl drum with a flat lid. You can simply put more food on it because of the extra room under the lid.

I understand it is called an "ugly" drum smoker. I think a drum can be built to your taste, but the WSM comes porcelain coated. It wont ever rust if taken care of. If you are worried about longevity and appearance, Weber all day. They last forever and shine up like new years down the road. Not to mention a 10 year warranty on the porcelain? Weber's customer service can't be touched.

As I said, I have both and love them both. They are both fun to cook on but I do feel the WSM has its advantages. Probably the only real advantage the drum has is the price (if you build). You could build a drum easily for under $100. If you go the BPS route, your looking at around 140 just for the kit. Several hours of prep and putting together depending on how detailed you want to be. A new WSM will run $400. I bought mine used on craigslist for $100. I see them all the time in my area for around that price.

Hope this info is helpful. You'll be happy with either.

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Old 10-08-2019, 04:37 PM   #11
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I have an 18" WSM and a UDS.
The 18" gets used just about every weekend and the UDS four times a year.
When I need a big cook it's the UDS, otherwise the 18" does me just fine.
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Old 10-08-2019, 05:02 PM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Stingerhook View Post
I have an 18" WSM and a UDS.
The 18" gets used just about every weekend and the UDS four times a year.
When I need a big cook it's the UDS, otherwise the 18" does me just fine.
I'll second an 18" WSM via Craigslist, Letgo, etc. I was patient and got a 14" and 18" gently used for slightly over $100 each with a cover.

The 14" is really easy to use for modest cooks like 6 pounds of ham or a roast for example. I have done as much as 14 pounds but, airflow is restricted some when you get into the 12-pound range.

The 18" is probably the "sweet spot" for most people due to higher capacity while still being a relatively small smoker. The 22" is nice as well if you need a really big cook.

In terms of transport, in 4 door Honda Accord sedan, I brought home a double 22" WSM smoker which totally filled the back seat and trunk!

For a UDS style, the 18" Pit Barrel Cooker or Barrel House Cooker would be hard to resist. I'll probably end up getting one at some point to add to my small "herd".
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:09 PM   #13
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I have both (PBC and WSM 22). And while I love the WSM 22 still use it occasionally, my vote goes to the PBC. Much easier to set up, transport, and clean than the WSM.

Food is great from both, but the flavor is different. I prefer the PBC flavor.
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Old 10-08-2019, 08:27 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by West River BBQ View Post
Well, heck. While the comments were very helpful, it's not making the decision any easier. I'm convinced that both cookers will give me what I want, so time to flip a coin. Thanks all for the feedback.
Make a drum. Decision made for you! .
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Old 10-09-2019, 09:05 AM   #15
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The WSM is essentially a 3 piece drum, use it with or without the water pan, use it with the racks or a hanger, The 22 is the same size as a drum, Hard to clean? it breaks down to where you can actually reach what needs cleaning or dumping.

I can see if you want to build a drum from scratch cheap, but WSM's are sold used all the time for a hundred bucks or so...

I'm not seeing a choice here.
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