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First smoke on the new 22.5 WSM. Observations and comparison to the PBC.

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    First smoke on the new 22.5 WSM. Observations and comparison to the PBC.

    So I love my PBC but I have been doing more and more large cooks so I decided to go with something bigger for those cooks. Fear not, I will still use the PBC as my primary family smoker, but the WSM is a great addition. I got a crazy good deal so the decision on getting it wasn't much of a choice.

    I hadn't planned on cooking on it this weekend as it hadn't been seasoned, I was going to throw the 2 butts i needed on the PBC at 5AM and season the WSM during the day. I got a case of butts at Sam's Club (on sale for $1.09 which is really awesome) and decided to go ahead and trim and vacuum seal them so I could throw them on frozen in an emergency and not have to flood my house again trying to thaw a big 2 pack. Just after trimming I got the call for a few more, 4 butts in total so I decided to turn the learning curve into a learning cliff while seasoning as good as I could. This was at 9PM, there was time for 1 good burn and that was it, so I decided to make it the hottest, dirtiest fire I could.

    I loaded it down with charcoal and spread the lit on top, I needed this to burn hot and fast or it wouldn't be done in time for the cook starting at 5AM. I foiled the water pan but didn't add water, left all the vents open and let it go. It settled in at right at 450, which is pretty handy to know. I dumped in the pulp and stems from all of my wood bags to get some nasty smoke going to coat the inside and then shut all of the bottom vents, this created a ton of heavy smoke (speaking of heavy smoke, this flimsy door has got to go asap, the first thing my wife asked was why it was smoking out of the front instead of the top). Once it dropped below 300 I put about 2 pounds of fat from the case of butts I just cut in and let it do its thing while I tried to grab some sleep. I got up at 4 and checked the temp, 58 degrees which was ambient so it had finished the burn in time, whew.

    Water pan re-foiled, grates cleaned and butts rubbed I set it all back up to go again, I did the Soo donut, left all vents open until I hit 250 and then closed the bottom ones to about 1/4 inch a piece and put the meat on. It settled at 275 and fell right to sleep being quite comfortable at my tried and true PBC temp. Woke up every once in a while to check, but no issues. 3 hours later it was at 265, then 250 so I went and checked and saw I only had about an hour worth of coals left if that. I'm not sure if I didn't get it lit right, the door was worse than I thought or what but I burned through a whole load in no time. I added another chimney of raw coals followed by a half chimney of lit and that brought me right back up to 265 to finish out the cook.

    All said and done this thing is essentially a large capacity PBC, dead simple to use and great at maintaining your temps. Even though I had read dozens of reviews and looked into capacity, I was still shocked at the size of this thing, only the smaller ones are in the stores around here so I never saw one in person. This thing is big enough that if your PBC is runnng out of coals you could light some in the WSM, then drop the entire PBC inside, and probably still have room for a couple butts. I did 28 pounds of butts today, I used both grates but I think I could have squeezed them all on just 1, so I am pretty confident this thing will do 50+ pounds/6-8 butts while my PBC can only handle 2 on the grates. They each serve their purpose and I think a WSM is the perfect upgrade if you need more size. And I mean upgrade; the finish makes me certain this will be smoking long after my PBC has hit the rust pile, and it takes care of my 3 biggest PBC gripes, it is way eaiser to dump and doesn't make a mess doing so, the door allows you to add wood and coals easily, and the whole lid cracking thing seems like a bad workaround, real wheels that you can set and adjust are a huge improvement.

    Most of the pics were bad due to late night lights and shakiness but here is one with the butts almost finished.

    Click image for larger version

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    Thanks _John_ for that interesting post. It's interesting to read how the two smokers compare. It sounds as though you got just the right smoker for your increasing volume of orders. Congrats!

    I wonder why Weber can't correct that leaky door problem? It seems to be a standard complaint.



      I learned a few things from reading your post. I have a small Stainless Steel Domed Smoker that is charcoal fueled and I have an electric burner adapter for it. I had hoped to be able on long cooks to start on charcoal & wood chunks, and switch to electric to finish. The whole process of switching back and forth is simply to cumbersome to be practical. I have done up to 6 butts at a time on it and was pleased with the outcome. The lack of sleep tending it led me to Buy a COS and modify it. Not the perfect answer, but better than being on my hands and knees refueling it in the middle of the night in a snow storm! Dan



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