Updated: June 8, 2015
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Reviews:Food tastes better when it's cooked slowly, with care, and preferably on a Weber grill. These are some of the best grills on the market, and they have expanded their expertise to include meat smokers as well. If you want to make real barbeque, smoked ham, pastrami, smoked turkey, bacon, and other favorites, you'll need a great meat smoker, and there's no one who knows meat as well as Weber. Their Smokey Mountain cookers will provide authentic, smoky flavor that will drive your neighbors crazy. Today, we'll take a look at the Weber Smokey Mountain cookers to help you determine if they're right for your needs. But we're pretty confident that if you like smoked meat and real BBQ, Weber is the right choice for you.
Do You Need a Meat Smoker? - Of course. Who doesn't? Ok, it isn't a necessity like water or shelter, but it is great for grill aficionados who want to take their backyard cooking to the next level. A meat smoker is a great tool because it slow cooks your meat, whether ham, turkey, beef, or fish; this immediately imparts a superior flavor. You all know this if you've ever had slow cooked ribs over ones that someone dipped in BBQ sauce and then grilled. A smoker also cooks meat thoroughly while keeping it tender and juicy. While you can get electric or water-powered smokers, most purists recommend getting one that either is fueled by woodchips or by charcoal, as the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker is. This adds the distinct smoky flavor that will help you turn your food into a real, gourmet backyard feast. (Note: Weber recommends that you do not use charcoal that has been infused with lighter fluid. The charcoal smoky flavor is what you're trying to infuse into the meat - not a chemical flavor. You don't want that to come through into your cooking and ruin perfectly good meat.) The technique of smoking meat has been used for centuries; not only can you use it to prepare unbelievable meals, a charcoal smoker is great for preserving meat. If you have meat that you need to store, simply smoke it, wrap it, and place it in the freezer. This will not only help keep your meat, it will infuse it with great flavor. On to the good stuff: here is a look at the Weber Smokey Mountain Cookers.
Weber Smokey Mountain Cookers:Since the discovery of fire, people have always recognized the value of smoking meat. Modern smokers allow you to do it easily, safely, and relatively quickly. There are a host of models on the market, so why choose Weber? The authentic charcoal or wood taste is a big reason - and the only reason some people need! Others will be impressed at its small, compact yet rugged design or with its terrific efficiency. How about the excellent temperature control, ease of use, and 10-year warranty? The Weber Smokey Mountain cooker comes in 2 sizes: 18.5-inch and 22.5-inch. You get the same great quality in either size, so the right one for you will depend on the types of gatherings you are going to have, what types of meats you're going to smoke, and how many people happen to "drop by" just when you're ready to eat. Here's a look at the specs:
The 22.5-inch Smokey Mountain cooker measures 48.5 inches in height x 23 inches wide x 24 inches deep. The 18.5-inch is 41 inches high x 19 inches wide x 19 inches deep. Both models offer:
*2 plated-steel cooking grates
*2 cooking areas (22.5-inch diameter for the large model and 18.5-inch diameter for the smaller)
*Premium grade cover
*Porcelain-enameled bowl, lid, and water pan (water pan adds steam to the cooking process)
*Built-in lid thermometer
*No-rust aluminum vents (to help charcoal or wood burn longer and evenly)
*No-rust aluminum fuel door
*Glass reinforced nylon handle
*Either can fit a whole ham or a whole turkey
Both models earn overwhelmingly positive reviews from consumers on Amazon, Epinions, Cooking.com, Shopping.net, and other consumer sites. Experts agree that this is a great, and relatively low priced, charcoal smoker. The 18.5-inch model lists for $350; you can find it on Amazon for $290. The 22.5-inch goes for $500, but you can get it for a more wallet-friendly $395. A review in GrillsandBBQsmokers.com highly recommends the Weber Smokey Mountain cooker. They praise the efficiency created by the heat-retaining porcelain and the air vents. One batch of charcoal should be enough to last you 18 to 20 hours, making it a very efficient unit. It is easy to use and you don't have to "babysit" it to get the temperature right - the vents can be adjusted to do this for you. It really is effortless. Consumer site, Bobby's Best, calls the Weber fun and easy to use, and the Weber meat smokers are so popular and well-made that they have their own fan site. Users can swap recipes and tips, watch videos (http://www.youtube.com/virtualweberb), and learn the tricks that help you make perfect, mouth-watering food. But nothing is perfect, right? That was true until last year. The original Weber Smokey Mountain cooker, which has been replaced by the 18.5- and 22.5-inch models, had a few issues that made it an adequate product, even a good one, but not a great one. Weber listened to consumers and made several improvements that have increased functionality, usability, and enjoyment. These include a wider door for adding charcoal or checking meat, spring-loaded door latch with lever handle, built-in thermometer, better fitting water pan, sturdier legs, heat shield to protect your patio or deck, improved charcoal grate, and bottom ash catch pan. Only the addition of a meat thermometer could make this meat cooker even more appealing. If you need even more incentive to add a Weber Smokey Mountain cooker to your backyard, check out these great beginner recipes (http://www.virtualweberbullet.com/cook.html#beginner). If you start to drool, you know you need a Weber.