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Weber Smokey Mountain Bullet - the smoker to buy
Jul 1, 2005 (Updated Jul 13, 2005)
a Very Helpful Review
by the Epinions community
If youre checking out smoker reviews, then youre likely thinking about buying your first smoker or replacing a low end model. Youre at the right spot here at Epinions and considering the right smoker if you have your eye on the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker 2820.
Recommend this product?
Ive been grilling my entire life, and Ive helped out a few times with barbeque. I wavered on buying my own smoker, because it takes a lot of work and time to smoke, and smokers (or good ones) are fairly pricey. The boys and I talked about it though and decided that we did want to commit to smoke cooking.
Around here, a lot of folks make their own smokers. They take things like old oil tanks and build homemade models. Since I dont have a lot of tools, and since I dont like to get real dirty, I decided Id go store bought.
Before buying my smoker, I read up and also looked at various models. As far as brand name smokers, the hands down user favorite is Weber Smokey Mountain (also called a Weber Bullet). I read testimony after testimony and from some really big time smokers touting the quality and ease of use provided by Weber. Since Id long ago decided that they make the best charcoal grills, I was not really surprised that they are spot on with smokers too.
The reason folks like Weber Smokey so much is because the construction is rugged and the design means that smoking is fairly easy and that food comes out perfect nearly every time. The piece lasts forever (or many years at least), and when you take the time to smoke, you get good meat. I figured out how important these considerations could be after buying a couple of cheap grills before getting the Weber which is still serving the family fifteen years later. I got tired of ruining food with cheap grills that were hard to regulate, and I had to replace low end grills every year or two anyway. It made sense to go ahead and get a good smoker right out of the gate.
Dont expect any super sales on the Smokey Bullet. In fact, its doubtful that youll be able to get it much lower than list. Itll set you back about $200. The two prices I found this year were $189 and $179. The $179 was online (Amazon), so with free shipping, that was the way I went on the purchase. In addition to the Bullet, I bought a rib rack which was a good investment. That goes around $15. Id also suggest a chimney starter which is tool (a can type thing) that helps get the coals cranked up without using lighter fluid. You pour the coals in, get them going, and then put them in the smoker.
It took about a week to get the Smokey Mountain by FedEx. The box is pretty sizable but not super heavy. With the smoker comes a cover and a grill booklet with recipes.
The dad person put the WSM together. It was straightforward and required only a screwdriver for assembly. The assembly booklet was easy to follow and included diagrams. The whole family hung out on the porch as the grill took shape. It took fifteen minutes or so to unpack, get a screwdriver, look over the directions, and put the Bullet together.
The basic set up is a bottom section where you put the coals, a middle piece where the water pan sits, and the top section for smoking. Both the bottom and top have vents for regulating the temperature. The side has a door which is used when you need to add coals below or water right at door level to the pan. The door can also be opened for a short time if the coals are floundering. The very top is a big lid which can be lifted to check the food (though youll need to add about 15 minutes to the cooking time every time you do that).
Our first feast was ribs. We followed the directions in the Weber book. Though the ribs were very tasty, they did underestimate the times needed to cook. Id say youre going to need about six hours to do ribs rather than four hours. In looking at other times listed and in reading online, Id say that the cooking times in the Weber book are low. Allow a couple of extra hours just in case, or youll be eating late at night.
If you want to cook ribs, then I'd suggest buying a rib rack. Here is my review on the Weber rib rack. Good investment:
Ribs or chicken are good bets for your first smoking experiences. Those take much less time than the really big cuts of meat. When you move to shoulders and such, youre going to be looking at cooking overnight. Were thinking about that for the 4th of July. Right now, were still doing the shorter cooking items and mastering our smoking skills.
Smoking has been a lot of fun. The Weber Bullet has been really easy to figure out and use. It really doesnt take much maintenance once the smoker is fired up and going. We just check every hour or so to make sure the coals are still going hot and that the water pan still has water.
A few things weve learned so far are:
You dont get a lot of smoke unless you soak and add some wood chips.
Its hard to add water to the water pan. A watering bucket with a long spout is a good investment.
The little door on the side of the smoker falls off unless you make sure to latch it.
The Weber doesnt include a built in thermometer. You can add one (but that impacts on the warranty).
Plan on more cooking time than listed or expected.
Ribs frozen and rewarmed in the oven are as good or even better than right off the smoker.
Im sure well learn more about smoking as we go along. Thats part of the fun. I now have a micro site at Garden and Hearth where Im sharing information and ideas about grilling. I hope to include other outdoor cooking information including stuff about smoking.
My Barbeque Master site is at:
Feel free to drop by with questions, to share information on outdoor cooking, or just to chat. Youll find a chat board over at Garden and Hearth which Im just learning to use.
Id also suggest visiting the Weber Smokey Mountain site. I started my search for smokers at the Weber page, and I never did see much about smokers there or a link to get to the Bullet page. After stumbling around a bit, I found the Bullet page. Its just loaded with information and lots of good tips and recipes. Every time I click back, I learn something new or get another neat idea. If you want to find the big time smokers online, then click to Virtual Bullet at:
Read more product reviews on Weber-Stephen Products Smokey Smokey Mountain Cooker Charcoal Smoker
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