Friday, October 14, 2011

Welcoming Another WSM to the Family

Hey y'all. I am pleased to report that I finally acquired one of my dream smokers. No, I'm not talking about the totally amazing Pit-Boss from American Barbecue Systems. That bad boy would set me back at least $4K (but one of these days I'm gonna own one). What I'm referring to is the monstrous but affordable 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker that I picked up from Amazon for less than $350.  (see assembly photos)

This big beast is truly impressive. I like not only its gargantuan capacity – it can hold a couple of full-size packer cut briskets without any difficulty – but also its temperature control and fuel efficiency. The jumbo WSM will run rock steady at 225-250°F for 13-14 hours (or longer) on just one load of charcoal (using the Minion Method) and with minimal vent adjustment.

My new smoker is actually the second 22.5" WSM that we've brought into the team. Some of you regular readers may recall that Luke bought one in May 2011, and we used it on the competition circuit this past year. Having had previous experience with the unit, the first cook with my own unit was flawless.

I broke in this enormous beauty with 2 racks of spare ribs (cut St. Louis style), 1 whole chicken, 10 chicken thighs, and 1 eye of round roast. That's a lot of meat to cook at once, but it's no big deal with the 22.5" WSM. This unit can accommodate a couple of  racks of ribs without any difficulty. I could have gotten 3 on the top rack if I curled them a little.


The thing about ribs is that they are delicious but they take up a lot of space in an inefficient manner. Some people use rib racks, but I prefer to cook ribs flat rather than at an angle. In the months ahead I'm going to maximize vertical space by using an additional grate that I either buy or build. But none of this really mattered at the time of the inaugural run, because the bottom line is that these were the best ribs I ever cooked. Seriously... they were that good.

The whole chicken was done in the beer can style, and the thighs were prepared just like we do for competitions. The resulting product was flavorful and juicy, just like one would expect from a WSM running at the perfect temperature.


So, what's next for the team now that we have another WSM? For the upcoming competition season we will run with my 22.5" WSM, Luke's 22.5" WSM, and Eric's 18.5" WSM. We'll also bring along a 22.5" Weber One-Touch for keeping food warm and/or setting sauces.
Our all-Weber line-up is poised for success in 2012!!