Best smoker for my needs?
Thinking of getting a BBQ smoker. I have a fine little grill (Portable Kitchen), but would like to be able to make brisket/wings for my friends when we watch football this season (maybe 8-10 of us). I'd also like to be able to do a turkey on Thanksgiving, and smoke a ham as well (not at same time).
I sense the regular Weber Smoky Mountain is a bit small. Thoughts welcome.
The large WSM is great as well. Although I've done a lot of whole briskets (12+lbs) and whole turkeys on my old regular size. Ribs fit better on the larger one, but temp control doesn't seem to be as good, Sometimes I have a difficult time getting it to temp and staying there. Maybe I was spoiled by the smaller one which stayed locked into 250 for 8 to 10 hours easy.
DH has a Weber Smoky Mountain he's been using for years. It's not huge, but he's done whole turkeys in it, briskets, pork butts...
I also have the smaller size WSM and love it. Have done smoked turkey for the holidays, and can do two whole pork butts (one upper, one lower). My only regret is that it's a bit small when you pull out the center piece and use it as a charcoal grill. Was considering young to the 22" but am now reconsidering that based on what folks say below. May just grab a charcoal grill in addition.
I own numerous Weber grills, and I also have a vertical offset smoker. I don't (yet) have a WSM, but I highly suggest that you get one of you are looking for a smoker. From all that I know about them, they are highly controllable, and pretty efficient as well. I can't comment on chileheadmike's contention that his 22 1/2" one is harder to dial in, but he should know, since he's had both sizes. Even so, the 22 1/2 is likely to be much easier to control than some offset, particularly the cheap horizontal offsets you may see at the hardware stores and the like. Those cheap horizontals will have hot and cold spots, leaving just a portion of the cooking space working as you desire. My vertical offset, while having great capacity, is a fuel hog, and an attetion hog as well. It demands some attention about every 45 minutes or so, which is a lot over a 12+ hour cook. Look at a WSM.
Another highly satisfied WSM proponent. The regular one actually holds quite a bit. I have done a brisket on one rack and a rack of ribs on the other. It requires way less attention than an offset smoker and is easy to regulate.