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Jan 23, 2009 04:21 AM

Weber Smokey Mountain: which size to get?

I'm going to buy the WSM. Just not sure if I should get the 18.5" or the 22.5". I have a small family, but do frequent entertaining. 10 people would be a large gathering. Will the smaller one suffice?

To ask a different way, what's the most you've cooked on the smaller one?

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  1. The original WSM has been a great entry level cooker,and still used by many comp teams-usually in multiples.

    There seems to be a lot of excitement over the coming of the new ,slightly larger model.

    Most folks can get four fairly large butts on the small one.

    Depending on shape,you might get four medium[maybe 10-11 lbs] briskets,or a couple 15-16 pounders.

    The extra grill space could help in racks of ribs?

    You might get 30 thighs on two racks on the old one.

    Most cooks will tell you to decide the one that will work,and then always buy the next larger size.

    The convenience/versatility/space will always be welcome.


    1. I looked at the specs here:

      A single 18" grill would hold at least 10 chicken breasts or the equivalent amout of steaks--it depends on the size of the portions, of course! The 22" can hold 45lbs of meat, 6 slabs of ribs or 6 beer can chickens...even a hungry group of 10 would have plenty of leftovers with that amount of meat! Are you cooking for 10 or 50?

      2 Replies
      1. re: Caralien

        "as one is supposed to fill it on one half in order to provide direct and indirect heating "

        It depends on what you are cooking. A pork shoulder can easily go over 12 hours-- I have gone 16. I wouldn't assume that would be the same amount of charcoal as a 2 hour smoke for chicken.
        Also, where is the direct heating area in a WSM? The water pan sits between the heat source and the food--it is all indirect. Are you sure you aren't thining of a regular Weber grille?

        1. re: AHan

          I edited that part out after realising my mistake. :)

      2. Are you sure you want the smoker? If you're looking for a grill go for the 22.5 inch, the 18 inch is pretty small especially if you plan on entertaining. If you're going to get the regular grill get the 22.5 inch and by all means go for the one touch gold version.

        7 Replies
        1. re: HaagenDazs

          I'm looking for the smoker. I've got a gas grill for everyday use. The smoker will be for weekends if I'm doing ribs or a pork butt or a brisket. According to what I've read so far the WSM souns easy to use, reliable and efficient.

          1. re: grandgourmand

            OK cool - yeah, it's a nice smoker - I don't have one but I've used one. The new sizes are just out this year (there used to be only one size) so I wanted to make sure you knew what you were talking about - you do. ;-)

            1. re: HaagenDazs

              Oh, so the 22.5" is a new model? Makes me think that if people were doing just fine (and that's what it looks like from all the google hits) on the old 18.5" model, then so should I.

              If, as TomFL says, you can squeeze four butts onto the smoker, then that would be plenty. I can't see myself doing more than 2, frankly, a Turkey at Thanksgiving (Canadian) and maybe 6 racks of ribs. Those are separate occasions, of course, not all at once.

              1. re: grandgourmand

                Yeah, Weber brought in the 22 inch last Fall. This site has a pretty good explanation of the differences down to measurements and weights of all parts so it's a good site to review before you make the final decision. The newest models are at the bottom.


                1. re: HaagenDazs

                  Thanks for the link. The pictures are great for visualizing capacity. Mind you, I still don't expect to ever cook 6 pork butts, but you know how it goes when you get the visual stimulation.

                  oh, and I really liked those pics showing how it could be used as a grill (i.e. by removing the large cylindrical piece and placing grill right above coals). that could justify the purchase of the 22".

                  1. re: grandgourmand

                    Yeah, I had no idea Weber introduced a 22.5" bullet, or even that they "improved" the 18.5" one. I would have been completely happy smoking away on my old 18.5", but now...

                    I don't know whether to thank you or curse you... (No, really, thanks.)

            2. re: grandgourmand

              this is in response to grandgourmands post on the ontario board asking about the green egg. I have both the egg and the wsm. The egg was a recent purchase and is generating some great meals. The wsm produced a lot of great things as well. The drawback, for me at least, is twofold. First, it is not very efficient in terms of charcoal consumption. I was rarely able to do a several hour cook without going through 8-10 lbs of charcoal. As a result, i would only use it when cooking for company. The second drawback is that i found that i could not use it during the winter or in windy or unsettled weather. if these issues are not a concern to you then go with the WSM. It is reasonably priced, easy to use and will produce some great food. Check out the "silver bullet" website which will give you all kinds of help, info and recipies. If you would like more info on the egg let me know and i will give you my thoughts on that as well.

          2. Additional considerations include the improvements made to the 22". 50% larger water pan, larger access door, larger dampers, greater distance between grates are all significant.

            1. Me definitely larger. I cook not only the main course but love to grill stuffed bread, onions, peppers, etc the etc space will be well used. Any time I grill for friends I almost always make one of my stuffed baguettes. I stuff them with mushrooms and cheese, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella and basil, baby shrimp scampi, a greek stuffing of feta, sundried tomatoes and olives, carmelized onions and gruyere, pesto and mozzarella all kinds of combos. It is a great crowd pleaser and simple but takes a bit of space on the grill.

              My vote the bigger one

              2 Replies
              1. re: kchurchill5

                Grills and smokers are different things. Read up on the discussion above.

                "baby shrimp scampi" Shrimp scampi is a dish all to itself. I think you meant to say just baby shrimp (?).

                1. re: HaagenDazs

                  And the end of smoking I also make my bread on there and grilled onions. I use it for lots of things. I understood

                  I smoke a lot and when I do I make alot, not just the meat but put other things on as well.