The Weber Smokey Mountain, or WSM, has been around for 40 years, and for good reason: It’s a durable, well-designed charcoal smoker that makes great-tasting, competition-worthy barbecue. Like most charcoal models, this cylindrical bullet smoker does have a learning curve: You’ll need to monitor the temperature inside and periodically adjust the air intake vents in order to get the heat level you want. (A port built into the side of the smoker makes it especially easy to insert a probe for monitoring those temperatures, and a large water pan helps keep those temperatures steady once you’ve achieved them.) A generously sized charcoal basket lets you smoke for long periods without having to replenish your fuel or wood—we were able to cook for 10 hours easily. If you do need to add briquettes or wood, the process is simple: Just open a door in the body of the smoker and chuck them in. We wish the door sealed more tightly, as smoke and heat escaped easily around its edges, making us burn through briquettes and wood faster. While disposing of charcoal is messy, the smoker separates into three parts to make it easier to access those ashes for disposal. The WSM comes in three sizes. The 22-inch model we tested is the largest. With two grates arranged one over the other, it can smoke multiple racks of ribs, many pork butts, and at least two spatchcocked turkeys at a time. It’s easy to assemble and comes with a warranty that covers different parts for two to 10 years.
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