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View Full Version : WSM - Worth It???


Smokin-Canuck
01-29-2014, 07:44 PM
Greetings all

First off thanks to everyone who makes this site possible. I haven't contributed much but have read/learned a great deal from the members here.

I've only been into Q for a couple of years now and I've bounced around different equipment trying to settle on what will work for me. I'm not looking to compete, just be a real good home pit master that puts out great eats for friends and family :mrgreen:.

So question, I have a kettle and have done very good with it to date (I think). I've just laid out the coin for a new 18.5 WSM but have not yet put it into service. Surfing some forums and YouTube I'm always impressed at what guys/gals are doing with their kettles. Anyways, it makes me wonder if I need the WSM or just work with the kettle.

Now I know temp maintenance for long cooks should be much easier on the WSM but what about the quality of finished product? I guess what I'm asking you to do is talk me into (or out of) the WSM. It's bought and paid for but unboxed and able to be returned.

Really like to hear your thoughts and thanks in advance.

bigbeef24
01-29-2014, 07:50 PM
I would think about building a UDS. You will have the satisfaction of building your smoker and they turn out great Q. The flavor is awesome and you can get some sleep with them. Get it dialed in and let it run!

samfsu
01-29-2014, 07:55 PM
I have two WSM 18.5s and do love them but if I could do it over, I'd have gotten a 22.5 or a vertical. More room is nice and for small cooks I can use my kettle.

SmittyJonz
01-29-2014, 07:56 PM
Return it and get the 22" WSM :mrgreen:

gtr
01-29-2014, 07:56 PM
I'd hang on to it. Kettles are amazing and can do many things, but it never hurts to have another cooker. You may find yourself trying new things or things you wouldn't have thought of with a different cooker. The WSM is a tried and true cooker. I'd keep it, but then again, my backyard is kinda like cooker flypaper. :redface:

Goyo626
01-29-2014, 07:57 PM
I'm pretty sure that the quality out of a kettle vs a wsm can be very close if the cook is diligent and knowledgeable. However, the volume of food you can cook on a WSM vs a kettle may be relevant to your decision, if you cook for 10+ people regularly I would chose a WSM (or a UDS if i was mechanically gifted).

landarc
01-29-2014, 07:58 PM
I'll give you $50 for that useless POC WSM.

No, it is worth it. It will serve you well and now you will have both a great grill and a great little smoker. Definitely worth having it. I have one, along with my kettle and a UDS. Different tools for different days

ssv3
01-29-2014, 08:02 PM
Return it and get a PBC.:twisted: Let's see how long before this thread is turned into a :boxing:.


On a serious note the only issue I see is that's it's not a 22" WSM.

ajstrider
01-29-2014, 08:14 PM
I think every bbq guy should have a WSM in his arsenal. It is a classic and very useful smoker for that once in a great while big party that you throw or when you need two smokers for two different temperatures during a cook.

Blanton
01-29-2014, 08:20 PM
Return it and get the 22" WSM :mrgreen:

I absolutely agree. You will love the WSM. With the 22" you will not be cramped for space. You can lay 3 racks flats. The other think to consider is due to the design, you have hot edges on the extra room allows you to not be forced out to the edges.

Shagdog
01-29-2014, 08:20 PM
Both the kettle and WSM put out great food. Where the WSM earns its stripes is in longer cooks with bigger payloads. In cooking bigger meats like butts, briskets, chuckies, prime rib, etc, you'll really enjoy how much easier the WSM takes care of business. If you're only going to have 2 cookers, you've got a pretty good 1 2 punch there.

rookiedad
01-29-2014, 08:24 PM
and... you will have it forever. it won't rust and weber's quality costomer service is only a phone call away.

Happy Hapgood
01-29-2014, 08:24 PM
I too own one along with a Weber gasser and a WGA. These fit my needs perfectly as I'm not a Comp guy. The know all end all site for a WSM is www.tvwbb.com (http://www.tvwbb.com) I suggest that you find out what that rig can really do.

My Dad used to say "It's the section between the rodhandle and boatseat that count.

Good Luck!

smoke ninja
01-29-2014, 08:57 PM
I own both a 18 wsm and weber kettle. I smoke on both and both do a good job. If the kettle handles most of your needs you don't need the 22 wsm.

Just my thoughts.

Bonewagon
01-29-2014, 09:11 PM
I agree with everyone else. It's hard to find someone that doesn't like the wsm.

sparkii
01-29-2014, 09:48 PM
http://i1361.photobucket.com/albums/r674/bsmith4272/facebook_1721288602_zpse81f2a9c.jpg (http://s1361.photobucket.com/user/bsmith4272/media/facebook_1721288602_zpse81f2a9c.jpg.html)
I started with a 22.5" three and a half years ago. I absolutely love this cooker! The accessories are endless. Customer service with Weber is awesome. You can fill the bottom with charcoal, fill the water pan, light it and cook overnight without worry. No complaints at all. Would highly recommend the 22.5" version for the small difference in price, the room difference between the two is significant and useful. You are even able to get a full size foil pan on the larger WSM if you bend in the corners. A second option would be to get an aftermarket conversion kit that basically turns your kettle into a WSM. Some of these kits include the coal ring and heat sheild or water pan for a little less buck. Cant go wrong with either, but who would pass up the opportunity to get another cooker ?:-P

kenthanson
01-29-2014, 10:10 PM
I love my 18" WSM, and don't let the size fool you, I've put ten racks of spares in one of those and they turned out spectacular. Before I had my kettle I did some grilling on it as well, very versatile and easy to manoeuvre and manage.

crimsonaudio
01-29-2014, 10:15 PM
I've got the 18.5" WSM, have had it for about a decade and I can honestly say that unless you entertain rather large groups, it's all you'll need. You can smoke four 10# butts easily on the 18.5".

The 22" might be better if you need to cook for larger groups, but 20# of pulled pork feeds a lot of folks...

grantw
01-29-2014, 10:21 PM
I am a weber sucker, I have the 22 wsm, 18 and the 14 now :) those things are twice the smoker a kettle is, yes i have a few of them too... my wsm cooks extremely well as well as my backwoods. No dont return one of the best smokers you will own..

JazzyBadger
01-29-2014, 10:22 PM
With the others. A W.S.M. is definitely a keeper. I'm in the 22" crowd, but a W.S.M. is a W.S.M. and that means it's awesome. I use the Hell out of my W.S.M.

Fwismoker
01-29-2014, 10:29 PM
Don't own one but I've seen them and they are well built cookers. If i had one i think i'd pull the water pan and replace it with a holy pizza pan diffuser though.

Nothing wrong with UDS either, mine is from a kit that allows you to smoke, grill and sear....can't go wrong with a cooker like that for sure.

Harbormaster
01-29-2014, 10:59 PM
Dollar for dollar it is the best cooker available. "Buy the best, only cry once" is the motto of the Weber fanatic.

And like stated before, unless you are cooking for huge crowds, the 18.5 will be fine. I can cook 6 - 8lb butts on an 18.5" WSM. It's tight, but it can be done.

My philosophy has always been that if I need more space, I just fire up another WSM.

Ag76
01-29-2014, 11:04 PM
The WSM is an excellent cooker for the $ spent.

grillinguy247
01-30-2014, 12:26 AM
Send it back and get the cajun bandit conversion kit. :decision:

sliding_billy
01-30-2014, 03:56 AM
The combination of kettle and WSM is a great way to go, though like others I think the 22.5" is the way to go. It isn't just total capacity, but also the ability to put more stuff on the top rack and not have to get in and out of the bottom as often along with the extra width on the rack which is ideal for a packer.

slammmed
01-30-2014, 05:58 AM
a Common complaint is the fuel consumption on the 22" but that being said if you are planning on cooking larger cuts of meat then its a great benefit otherwise the 18", like everyone said, is a great choice you wont regret.

I'm not sure how he fit 10 racks of ribs but i can fit 6 -7 racks of ribs depending on size if I roll them and i've fit 30lbs of pork butts on it before as well.

bosco0633
01-30-2014, 06:15 AM
Perhaps I can share my story with you. I got into BBQ this year and really wanted something good to start with. I came to this site and all of the great advice led me to a WSM 22.5. I thought the more space the better after most of the suggestions I read.

So I got it home and smoked a salmon fillet. It was good. Then I did side ribs and they turned out really good. I did a brisket and it was delicious but room for improvement. But I was still using my gasser like crazy.

My wife said that the good was good but she didn't love the smoke taste and truthfully I am not a low and slow guy. I learned that after I purchased my WSM. I'm a griller. I like indirect cooking and vegetables, chicken breast, fish and steaks. I love the idea of making pizza on grill and doing full birds.

So I started evaluating if a WSM was for me. For me it was not the right tool. I sold it two months later and recouped my cash. I purchased a 22.5 OTG and absolutely love it. I have done ribs on it which I barely eat and multiple cooks. I use it every week and it suits my way of eating better than a WSM.

But I want something a little more versatile now that I have developed my skills. I am purchasing a kamado Joe big Joe in the spring as it will fulfill all my BBQ needs.

It was a trial and error game to see what truly worked for me. The kettle is a great unit and I will have it forever but I am looking forward to getting my kamado.

Good luck.

Smokin-Canuck
01-30-2014, 07:12 AM
Wow thanks for all of the responses guys.

Bosco I too have struggled to find the right balance. Reading guys signatures here and looking at how many cookers they keep WOW.....and my wife thinks I'm nuts :).

Anyways I owned a Kamado (as you know). Overall an amazing piece of hardware capable of doing just about any cook you can think of. For me (and our needs) there were a few draw backs as follows:

- My family thus far are not big "smokey" fans. Daughter is my biggest fan, DW and DS not as much. Oh well, I love it and others in my family, many friends and neighbours love it too.

- We didn't really need/use the super high temp ability e.g. pizzas etc....Besides I can do a good wheel on the kettle if needed.

- The kamado was bad for portability and I want something we can pack in our RV and take camping.

- Dome height for big birds was no good - you may want to consider the Big Joe.

- It was a lot of $$$$ sitting around to be "just" a smoker.

- If coal management was needed during indirect set up, lifting food, grate and diffuser was the only real option. Didn't happen often but on occasion. Plus adding wood was a challenge with diffuser in place.

So here we are. I looked at the 22.5 and it just seems monstrous. I can see the attraction to the size for full racks but not being a competitor and not usually cooking for more than 4....at the most 10, the 22.5 just seemed to be a lot of wasted space (and charcoal) for me - I could be wrong.

To those suggesting a UDS....it's on the to-do list right after the honey-do list which I am at item 3 of 634 - not to mention I'd have to find a place for it because I can hear this already from DW....."where are you putting that ugly thing"?:-P

Icekub
01-30-2014, 07:32 AM
I am also included in the Weber believers. They are top quality for not much $$$. I had the door knob come off in my hand while I was carrying the middle section and never did find all the washers/nuts (don't use the handle to carry the middle section when moving it). One email to Weber and I had a new door at my house 3 days later, free of charge. Best customer service for a company I've ever had. Sounds like it will be just what you want, based on your needs.

smoke ninja
01-30-2014, 07:47 AM
http://i1361.photobucket.com/albums/r674/bsmith4272/facebook_1721288602_zpse81f2a9c.jpg (http://s1361.photobucket.com/user/bsmith4272/media/facebook_1721288602_zpse81f2a9c.jpg.html)
I started with a 22.5" three and a half years ago. I absolutely love this cooker! The accessories are endless. Customer service with Weber is awesome. You can fill the bottom with charcoal, fill the water pan, light it and cook overnight without worry. No complaints at all. Would highly recommend the 22.5" version for the small difference in price, the room difference between the two is significant and useful. You are even able to get a full size foil pan on the larger WSM if you bend in the corners. A second option would be to get an aftermarket conversion kit that basically turns your kettle into a WSM. Some of these kits include the coal ring and heat sheild or water pan for a little less buck. Cant go wrong with either, but who would pass up the opportunity to get another cooker ?:-P

Nice mod. I am short and would need a step stool to check the food.

16Adams
01-30-2014, 08:02 AM
I've read this whole thread. The part that bothers me is the statement "where are are you going to put that ugly thing?" Had my bride said that I would have two more cookers on the patio -- His AND Hers

Get control of your scene. 1.800.DRL.AURA

realspaazz
01-30-2014, 08:10 AM
I love my WSM 18.5. It can really hold quite a bit of food. After a little bit of practice it is really easy to control. If your family likes only a little smoke, try cooking with just briquettes, or just lump. My family did not like my smoking until I started using apple wood. 3 or 4 chunks of wood all smaller than your fist is the most wood I will put in. If you have enjoyed smoking on the kettle, the wsm is so easy. I would get that wsm smoking!!

K-Train
01-30-2014, 09:02 AM
Return it and get the 22" WSM :mrgreen:
^^yup

USMC
01-30-2014, 09:13 AM
The hard part is over (shelling out the $$$). Now that you have it, might as well use it. Once you do a few cooks on it to season it, it will hold steady temps way better than your kettle. I refer to it as my set and forget smoker. If set up right, it is like a smoking crock pot. I have a Pitmaster IQ for overnight cooks that will hold whatever temperature I want for overnight cooks just for piece of mind, but really not necessary. I too started out with my kettle and still use it for smaller cooks sometime just for the fun of it. I have the 22 and sometimes it can be too big for the amount I'm cooking, so I just use the kettle. You will probably find that the 18.5 is just right. I've been keeping an eye out on craigslist for an 18.5 myself. If you use it a few times and decide you don't want it, they are not hard to get rid of and you could recoup most of your money back.

sparkii
01-30-2014, 10:24 AM
Hard laying a brisket down in an 18.5".....just sayin:thumb:

lennitt
01-30-2014, 10:53 AM
I got an 18.5 WSM last July and love it but in retrospect wish I went with the 22

Fwismoker
01-30-2014, 11:01 AM
With regards to size there isn't a better or best....the only best is to have one of both.

I have a 18.5" i use for smaller cooks and use less fuel, I'll use the UDS for the bigger ones....simple as that. No one can dispute that less fuel is used the smaller the size cooker.

Offthehook
01-30-2014, 12:14 PM
I have the 18 and love it, now I wish I had the 22 but it would not be portable for me. I have been thinking about buying the 14 and traveling with the 18. Then I would have enough room for bigger cooks and portable enough.

BTW, not that it matters but the WSMs have won a lot of trophies. I dont think there is a comp guy out with with a more expensive smoker that would be brave enough to make fun of a WSM.

GrubandGrog
01-30-2014, 12:31 PM
I have had a 22" WSM for just 2-4 people. It works. You do burn more fuel, but you only need the top rack in. It is pretty much set and forget, but a lot more to clean up after a cook. I sold it when I moved back from overseas. I now have a Weber Smoker Joe Gold with a Tamale Pot mod. It is just 2 of us mostly, so I use the grill as a grill and when we want Butt or Ribs, I put the Tamale section in and smoke it. It works great, have done 10-14 hour cooks on it, needed to refuel about hour 8 or 9, which required lifting the pot by the handles, adding fuel, restack. No issue.

The future Q stable for me will be a SS Performer, this SJG/mini-WSM, and a 22" WSM if it falls into my lap.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/tcmru5gfflzph1i/2014-01-19%2006.50.12.jpghttps://www.dropbox.com/s/tcmru5gfflzph1i/2014-01-19%2006.50.12.jpg
https://www.dropbox.com/s/tcmru5gfflzph1i/2014-01-19%2006.50.12.jpg

Smokin-Canuck
01-30-2014, 12:46 PM
GrubandGrog..... a WSM mini has been a project I been wanting to do. Lots of good DIYs on the internet from guys that have built them. Believe it or not, finding that 32 quart tamale pot is hard in the great white north. We have a camping trip planned for May in upstate NY and I am hoping to grab one there. The rest of the parts are easy. Been watching the used ads for a nice SJG needing a home.

GrubandGrog
01-30-2014, 12:59 PM
Believe it or not, finding that 32 quart tamale pot is hard in the great white north.

I hear you. The price on Amazon/Walmart has doubled since I built mine. I was just looking because a co-worker wanted to get a cheap smoker so I was pricing them out. But we do have a better chance finding them in person down here in San Diego.

Texas Turtle
01-30-2014, 02:45 PM
I started with a CL 18.5 and after two botched cooks, got the thing under control and fell in love. Moved up to a NIB 22.5 that I found on CL from a guy who lived about 10 miles away. Paid $100 for the 18.5 and sold it for $125 after cleaning it up. Paid $200 for the 22.5 and my offset stick burner is pretty lonesome out there on the patio. Bought an IQUE110 and now I just dial in the temp I want and walk away.

Stoke&Smoke
01-30-2014, 03:37 PM
We have 3 18.5 WSM's, the oldest is over 20 years old and the only thing I've replaced is grates and bottom vents. We also have the 22.5 and while it's great when you have a lot to cook, or one or two full packers, etc. But if I only have a small amount to cook for me and the wife, I'll go to the BGE or 18.5 WSM

dano
01-30-2014, 04:12 PM
Best bang for your buck smoker out there IMO. Take care of it and it will last forever. Would go with a 22.5 though.

THoey1963
01-30-2014, 04:31 PM
I have been reading up a lot on vertical smokers since joining this site. After reading this thread, I did a Google for WSM and it has me wondering if I even need a vertical smoker. I have my Weber Genesis for grilling, but was looking for something that I could smoke full packers, maybe a couple butts, or several racks of ribs. Sounds like the 22.5 can handle that...

Hmmm...

Offthehook
01-30-2014, 04:38 PM
I have been reading up a lot on vertical smokers since joining this site. After reading this thread, I did a Google for WSM and it has me wondering if I even need a vertical smoker. I have my Weber Genesis for grilling, but was looking for something that I could smoke full packers, maybe a couple butts, or several racks of ribs. Sounds like the 22.5 can handle that...

Hmmm...
It can, sure would save a lot of money

THoey1963
01-30-2014, 04:47 PM
It can, sure would save a lot of money

No kidding. Cheapest, new, good vertical smoker I have found is $599.

Already looked and Home Depot, Lowe's, and Wal-Mart don't have the 22.5 in stock. Must be the wrong time of the year. Don't they know this is Texas???

16Adams
01-30-2014, 04:50 PM
I have been reading up a lot on vertical smokers since joining this site. After reading this thread, I did a Google for WSM and it has me wondering if I even need a vertical smoker. I have my Weber Genesis for grilling, but was looking for something that I could smoke full packers, maybe a couple butts, or several racks of ribs. Sounds like the 22.5 can handle that...

Hmmm...

This badge sits on a cooker that can easily handle the payload you mentioned. On about a half bag of coals and a baseball size chunk of your favorite smoking wood. You can do yourself and cooking skills a boost or a refresher by visiting their website. They have 3-5 minute videos of about ten of the most popular Q meats cooked, and their prep. Good luck on your choice.


So many cookers, so little time

THoey1963
01-30-2014, 04:59 PM
This badge sits on a cooker that can easily handle the payload you mentioned. On about a half bag of coals and a baseball size chunk of your favorite smoking wood. You can do yourself and cooking skills a boost or a refresher by visiting their website. They have 3-5 minute videos of about ten of the most popular Q meats cooked, and their prep. Good luck on your choice.


So many cookers, so little time

Thanks, but the barrel type doesn't get me salivating. I like some of the builds people have done here, but just don't think it's for me.

Smokin-Canuck
01-30-2014, 05:12 PM
Thanks again guys (gals???). I'm planning to spend some more time here learning from you all. To be honest first time I came here I saw so many folks that were serious competitors I felt maybe a super-noob like me would get slapped around a bit - but you've been very helpful. I spend some time over at the Weber board too - they seem like a good bunch. If I end up with more cookers in the future - I'm going to tell my wife it's the Brethren's fault ;).

Cheers

Offthehook
01-30-2014, 05:22 PM
Thanks again guys (gals???). I'm planning to spend some more time here learning from you all. To be honest first time I came here I saw so many folks that were serious competitors I felt maybe a super-noob like me would get slapped around a bit - but you've been very helpful. I spend some time over at the Weber board too - they seem like a good bunch. If I end up with more cookers in the future - I'm going to tell my wife it's the Brethren's fault ;).

Cheers
We were all Noobs at one time. Except for me :laugh:

J'ville Grill
01-30-2014, 05:24 PM
Hard laying a brisket down in an 18.5".....just sayin:thumb:

I've easily fit a 14# on an 18.5

smoke ninja
01-30-2014, 05:26 PM
Thanks again guys (gals???). I'm planning to spend some more time here learning from you all. To be honest first time I came here I saw so many folks that were serious competitors I felt maybe a super-noob like me would get slapped around a bit - but you've been very helpful. I spend some time over at the Weber board too - they seem like a good bunch. If I end up with more cookers in the future - I'm going to tell my wife it's the Brethren's fault ;).

Cheers


It is frowned upon to dis other methods and techniques here. Except for the pit barrel cooker, some people would rather put liquid smoke in a crock pot than suggest using that. Don't quite get that one, some here won't even use pbc and smoker in the same sentence.

I was a noob too once, only I was12.

16Adams
01-30-2014, 05:28 PM
I like noobies.

Offthehook
01-30-2014, 06:17 PM
It is frowned upon to dis other methods and techniques here. Except for the pit barrel cooker, some people would rather put liquid smoke in a crock pot than suggest using that. Don't quite get that one, some here won't even use pbc and smoker in the same sentence.

I was a noob too once, only I was12.
I dont get the PBC hate but then again I have never used one.

Ron_L
01-30-2014, 06:21 PM
Thanks again guys (gals???). I'm planning to spend some more time here learning from you all. To be honest first time I came here I saw so many folks that were serious competitors I felt maybe a super-noob like me would get slapped around a bit - but you've been very helpful. I spend some time over at the Weber board too - they seem like a good bunch. If I end up with more cookers in the future - I'm going to tell my wife it's the Brethren's fault ;).

Cheers

If you want to get slapped around, just let us know. :-D

We do charge extra for that, however.

As you can tell from my signature, I have a cooker obsession :-D I will probably thin the herd some this spring, but my WSMs won't be going anywhere. I bought one of them brand new locally for $135 before the prices started going up, and the other for $80 on CL and they are both workhorses.