Few companies have ventured into the manufacture of vertical smokers, because Weber has dominated this market for several years. The Weber Smokey Mountain (W.S.M., Bullet Smoker or R2-D2 for Intimate) is the best vertical smoker. With its durable enamelled steel construction, it stands out for its waterproofness, which is far superior to other BBQs of the same kind. It is available in three sizes: 14”, 18.5” and 22.5”. The advantage of this type of smoker is its simplicity of manufacture and the few parts used. This allows Weber to focus on their quality and create grills that sell between 299 $ and 499 $ and last more than 10 years.
The vertical smoker is composed of 3 floors: the bottom is called the firepit, this floor contains a grid to raise the coal from the bottom to allow it to breathe with the help of three air intakes distributed around the base; the center floor includes a door that is used to add charcoal with a chimney or chips, the center floor also includes a bowl.
This bowl has several uses, it serves as a liquid container to add moisture to your meat that will evaporate during cooking. You can put water, apple juice, orange, wine, beer and even bourbon. Its second utility is to be a heat diffuser, which blocks the charcoal from the meat and prevents it from roasting and its last utility is to have an “air circulation regulator”. The bowl leaves a two-centimeter clearance all the way round that prevents too much air from going up and increasing circulation; the top floor has 2 superimposed grates and also includes the lid with an air outlet that helps regulate your temperature and the amount of moisture you want to keep.
When you walk around an international BBQ competition, you notice that the WSMs sit side by side with expensive upscale smokers, and often even win the competition. Yes, the “PitMaster” has a lot to do with the end result, but still they are working on this type of BBQ. Because they are inexpensive. Because they are easily transported from one competition to another and because they do not require a high level of maintenance. In fact, you only have to wash them well during 5 minutes and it’s like new!
So if you’re a “smoker” at heart with a budget of less than 500 $ and you’re craving ribs, chicken, pork shoulders, brisket, pies, cakes, baked beans and even smoked chili, the WSM is for you!
Written by Sam Bouchard