Weber Smokey Mountain 18

The best charcoal smoker?

Weber Smokey Mountain 18
Weber-Stephen Products Company

For the last couple of decades, the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker (WSM) has revolutionized backyard barbecue by making the smoking of meats and pretty much anything easier and more reliable. While relying on a real fire and good smoke production, this smoker has been one of the most popular of its type, generating fan sites on the internet and barbecue groups dedicated to its use. Simply put, this is the best charcoal powered vertical water smoker on the market.

In Brief

Here are the basic specifications for the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker:

  • Two 18.5-inch cooking steel plated grates for a total cooking area of 481 square inches
  • One top and three bottom air vents
  • Side mounted thermometer
  • Porcelain coated lid, body and water pan
  • Full sized cover is included.

Pros

  • Superior airflow design holds even, constant temperatures.
  • Multiple vents allow you to compensate for the wind.
  • Sealed design lets you shut this smoker down, saving charcoal for next time.

Con

  • Front access door is a little flimsy.

Detailed Review of the Weber Smokey Mountain 18

The Weber Smokey Mountain Smoker has been a mainstay of barbecue since it was introduced. It is easy to use, able to maintain temperatures for many, many hours, and capable of producing great barbecue. The Weber Smokey Mountain has been a regular on the barbecue competition circuit and so popular it has fan pages on the internet. Weber's slight modifications to this unit in no way affect how it cooks, but gives you the features most requested. The lid-mounted thermometer, larger, more intuitive front door handle and bottom heat shield make this a better WSM for the same price. Also, in 2014 they added a soft grommet on the side so you can insert a more-accurate digital thermometer.

One of the things that make this a great smoker is the durability of the construction. People travel the competition circuit with these smokers and unload, smoke. and pack them up once or twice a week, yet you wouldn't think they had seen any more action than sitting covered on your patio. The porcelain-enamel coating on these units is highly durable and prevents rusting of the heavy gauge steel. This is one smoker that you will love because it is so easy to use and will last because it is so well built.

On the one downside, the front access door is a little flimsy so you should be careful not to bend it out of shape. The upside of this is that you can "custom" fit it so that it holds in the smoke better.

If you need something larger, you may prefer the Weber Smokey Mountain 22.5-Inch Smoker. This is the size you need if you want to smoke a full brisket or lay a rack of spare ribs flat. Also, on the 18-inch Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker a turkey will get close to the sides of the smoker. If these are what you want to smoke, buy the larger unit. If you need something smaller, try the ​Weber Smokey Mountain 14.5-Inch Smoker.