The Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker is a small machine that can, and often does, take on larger commercial smokers and BBQ competitions around the country. The Smokey Mountain series is the stuff of legends for many low and slow grillers.
The 22 inch model is the newest addition to the Smokey Mountain series, coming in as the largest model to date. Obviously being larger means a larger capacity for food, which the series desperately needed.
The Smokey Mountain cookers are meant to be an easy step into the world of smoking and low and slow cooking but can be utilized by the best BBQ folks as well, so you won’t have to worry about upgrading as your skills approve.
In the rest of this review, we will give you some numbers to help you better understand this cooker, talk about some pros and cons, and finally compare it to other similar Weber models.
Specifications and Dimensions
To get a feel for the identity of this grill and what it has to offer, let’s look at some numbers.
- Grilling Area: 726 square inches
- Grates: Plated steel cooking grates, heavy-gauge steel charcoal grates
- Dampers: 4 rust-resistant dampers
- Materials: Porcelain-enameled bowl, lid, center section, and water pan; rust-resistant aluminum fuel door and heat shield
- Heat Source: Charcoal
- Dimensions (lid closed): 48.5”H x 23”W x 24”D
- Color Availability: Black
- Warranty: 10 years no rust through/ burn through on bowl, lid, and center ring; 5 years on plastic elements, and 2 years on remaining parts
On Weber’s website, the smoker has 63 reviews with 95% being 5 or 4 stars and none being 1 or 2 stars.
Folks simply love this smoker and were begging Weber to make on in this size for years.
Why the Smokey Mountain Cooker Smoker is a Great Choice
Finally, a Smokey Mountain cooker that can fit a whole slab of ribs! The size of this cooker is a big bonus. The smaller versions have been great little devices, but they don’t easily hold the larger meats that are best smoked or cooked low and slow. You can make stuff fit on an 18.5 inch version but the real estate is limited.
The 22.5” model steps up to the plate to fill a gap in service and help to round out the Smokey Mountain series.
The design on the 22.5” model is a match to the other Smokey Mountain models, so you are still going to get the great even cooking temperatures you need to smoke. Multiple vents allow you to control the temperature of the cooker easily and to compensate for wind.
Finally, the 22.5” is sealed well, so you can shut it down and save some of your charcoal for the next time you cook. Saving time and money is never a bad thing in my opinion so that that feature is nice to have.
The Negative Side
The built-in bi-metal thermometer is inaccurate. It’s said again and again in reviews and found again and again in test runs. That’s unfortunate since low and slow cooking is very reliant on accurate temperature readings, so your meat doesn’t come out tough.
I’m not sure why Weber hasn’t upgraded their thermometers to digital yet, especially with the addition of iGrill3 to the lineup. It seems like a simple fix to a larger overall problem.
Regardless, you will need to find another way to gauge the temperature of this cooker, so make sure to keep that in mind before you buy.
Another thing I don’t like about this grill is that it doesn’t want to cook as low as the other Smokey Mountain models. It is hard to keep this grill below 275 degrees without knowing tricks of the trade. Since low and slow cooking is typically done at a temperature closer to 225 or 250 you will need to learn how to adjust your techniques.
Still, it is possible to get the grill to the right temperature if you aren’t a beginner, and a quick online search will give you tips and tricks to fix this particular issue fairly quickly.
Versus the Summit Charcoal Grill 24”
This might not be an entirely fair comparison since the Summit is a grill and low and slow cooker and smoker all in one, but I think it’s important to take a look. Weber doesn’t have a lot of smoker options, so these are two of the only styles they offer if low and slow is your way of choice.
The Summit has an abundance of fancy features to throw it over the top regarding luxury. However, it comes with a price tag that proves its superiority, and that is far and away more expensive than the Smokey Mountain 22.5”.
The versatility of the Summit often draws consumers in. You aren’t committing to a low and slow cooker or smoker; you’re simply adding the option on to your normal grill. It’s the best of both worlds.
The Summit is a high-quality grilling machine that has the added insulation and venting of a smoker. It features a two-position fuel grate, one-touch cleaning system, and even a briquette-measuring cup as part of the deal.
Overall, the Smokey Mountain is a much better value if you’re looking to get into the low and slow lifestyle, but if you want the versatility to grill and smoke, while also living a life of grilling luxury, the Summit is a good option. My personal choice, however, would be the Smokey Mountain.
Versus the Master Touch Charcoal Grill 22”
The Master Touch is made to be a simple charcoal grill but comes with the ability to be converted into a smoker fairly easily. It is the smoking capability that gives us ground to compare it to the Smokey Mountain.
The Master Touch is designed to look like the Original Kettle, but with a few more bells and whistles. It features cooking grates with a removable center, so you can quickly and easily add a pizza stone or a chimney for low and slow cooking and smoking.
The Master Touch is a great option if you want to focus more on grilling and only smoke occasionally. It is not the kind of grill that you will want to spend equal time with doing both activities. If you are trying to get into the smoking or low and slow game, you will want to stick to the Smokey Mountain series and use another grill for simple grilling.
The Smokey Mountain is still the best value for what it does, and the capabilities of the Master Touch simply don’t compare to the quality of cooking you get with Smokey Mountain 22.5”.