A good barbecue is simple, with classics like burgers, brauts, kebabs, and corn on the cob. A great barbecue, however, takes up a notch with ultra tender meat that has been cooking low and slow all day long. To give your barbecue skills that extra nudge, you'll need the right tools, and the most important of these tools is the smoker.
A smoker differs from a grill in one main way: a smoker doesn't use the high temperatures of a traditional grill, meaning that your meat will need to cook longer. This technique is most often used to turn traditionally tough kinds of meats like the pork shoulder and beef brisket into soft, melt in your mouth meals.
For beginners to the world of smoking, a no-fuss, high-quality smoker like the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker is a good place to start. This smoker is large enough to handle a family-sized meal for as many as six people, and it is surprising easy to use and maintain. Better yet, this entry-level smoker is backed by the well-loved Weber brand despite its bargain price relative to the other Weber products.
The Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker comes in the different sizes, 14" (3-5 people), 18" (4-6 people) and 22" (6-8 people).
Two Cooking Grates: Multiple cooking grates can be a fantastic feature. The added cooking space that will ultimately allow you to smoke more meat at one time without needing to wait much longer than you would if all the meat was on one grate. However, it is important to note that having two grates stacked the way they are in the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker can make cooking a large quantity of meat more difficult. Most importantly, the higher grate will always be warmer than the lower grate because the lower grate is protected by the water bowl. In addition, hot air will rise to heat the uppermost section of the smoker more quickly because this is where the vent is to release the hot air. Therefore, to take advantage of the double-grate feature, you might need to spend some time experimenting with different combinations of meat on the top and bottom racks.
External Temperature Gauge and Fuel Door: The key aspect of a smoker is that you maintain a low cooking temperature for a very long period of time. For this reason, many smokers feature a temperature gauge on the exterior of the smoker that allows you to monitor any changes to the body of the smoker without losing any heat to the interior. In addition to the external thermometer, this Weber smoker features a fuel door that gives you easy access to the fire and water bowl. These two features combine to give you good control over the temperature of the body of your grill, and they help you to minimize the amount of heat you lose when you open the door. While the Smokey Mountain does come with a built-in thermometer, we recommend having a good digital thermometer on hand for precise measurement.
High-Quality, Rust-Resistant Materials: As is the case with other Weber products, this smoker is built to last. The body of the smoker is made from porcelain-coated steel, which is resistant to rusting. Furthermore, the legs, fuel door, and heat cover of the grill are made from aluminum, which is also resistant to rust. Finally, the grates are made from heavy-duty steel that can last many uses.
Dome Design that Can be Deconstructed for Easy Cleanup and Transport: This smoker features a compact, dome-shaped design that can be deconstructed into three main components: the cover, the body, and the charcoal pan. Because these pieces can be separated, you can have easy access to clean out the old charcoal between uses.
Check out TheRealCreophus' overview of the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker below:
Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker Detailed Review
The design of the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker is extremely simple. It is a compact, bullet-shaped smoker, and it features two stacked grates with a water pan situated over a charcoal bowl. This smoker's design is simple for a reason: Weber is a company that focuses on doing the essential very, very well.
Rather than being painted, the steel body and water pan of this smoker are porcelain-coated. The porcelain is heat-resistant, rust-resistant, resistant to chipping, and made to last for many years of regular use. The aluminum shields and fuel door of the smoker are also rust-resistant, and the heavy-duty steel cooking grates are intended to maintain their integrity in spite of prolonged exposure to heat.
The smoker itself is rather lightweight. Coming in at around thirty-nine pounds, this smoker can be used at tailgates and on camping trips as well as at home as your permanent, stationary smoker. In any case, this smoker has been built to last, and it is backed by a ten-year warranty for all metal pieces.
Because of the simplistic design of the Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker, with only three main compartments and the necessary accessories, very minimal assembly is required. Most users needed less than half an hour to assemble the parts, and the instructions were straightforward. The most time-consuming part of prepping this smoker for use is the seasoning process.
Because this smoker does not have a million different features, it is incredibly easy to use. The design of the smoker is intuitive, and because it uses charcoal, a traditional fuel source for high-temperature grills, many users will have no problems adapting to using this smoker.
The biggest difficulties that users had with this smoker had to do with maintaining the heat source, which is a difficulty that most people will face with any smoker. As mentioned previously the fuel door is large, and some may find it difficult to add fuel or water to the heat source without losing too much heat. However, this is usually regulated simply by using the grill more frequently to get practice.
Overall, the cook of this Weber smoker is very satisfying. A smoking temperature of 250°F is generally easy to meet because of the charcoal fuel source, and with practice, it is easy to maintain to have a good indirect heat source. As a result, the desired low and slow cooking technique for a good smoked barbecue is relatively easy to manage. Better yet, to vary the flavor of your cook even further, you can also choose to add flavored briquettes.
The most important aspect of getting a good cook with this smoker is that it can maintain the 250°F temperature. This is the ideal temperature to get the tell-tale "bark" on the skin of your barbecued meat. When seasoned properly and smoked consistently in the 200-250°F threshold, meat naturally forms this flavorful crust.
The Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker is an easy smoker to maintain, especially because there are no hard-to-reach places. Because of its porcelain-coating, the exterior of the smoker doesn't usually require much more than a simple wipe-down with a cloth. To clean the interior, all you'll need to do is detach the charcoal pan from the rest of the body and empty out it out. The water pan and grates are removable, and you'll be able to wipe them down easily after each use.
You'll also want to scrape any residual fat or grease from the interior of the smoker before it cools down. Doing so will prevent the pieces of your smoker from sticking together, although you can also simply heat the smoker up again to melt the grease and fat if you do find that your grill is sealed together after it has been used.
Above all, the Weber Smokey Mountain Charcoal Smoker is a very good quality smoker, and it is a very good value. While it is more expensive than other entry-level smokers, it is built with high-quality materials and serious beginners will be able to get a real experience with the art of smoking before investing in a larger, higher-end piece of equipment. Barbecue experts will appreciate this smoker's portability and practicality.
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