Although it’s possible to smoke meat on a standard charcoal or gas grill, it’s only by using a specialized smoker that one can achieve great results every time they cook. Not only will the right equipment save you from having to worry about over- or under-cooking the food, but it will also fast-track the whole process to prevent exhaustion on your part. At this point you’re probably wondering how on earth you will be able to work your way towards singling out the best smoker for your outdoor kitchen. Why not start by taking a closer look at the Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker?
Coming from a brand that has become synonymous with quality and reliability, the Weber 721001 Smokey Mountain Cooker seeks to continue with this tradition of excellence in customer service. As the mid-size version of the company’s original charcoal smoker, the Weber 18.5 inch model carries a handful of features that will definitely make a difference in your cooking. These include:
-Dimensions: Measuring 41 X 19 X 21 inches in height, width and depth respectively, the Weber 18.5 inch smoker has enough space inside to ensure you aren’t limited to one area when cooking.
-Intelligent fuel holder: The Weber 721001 comes with a ring-shaped fuel holder to facilitate uninterrupted combustion of the fuel, besides ensuring that the heat generated in the process always travels upwards.
-Plated steel grates: Both the cooking and charcoal grates are made of plated steel to lengthen their lifespan. This is further reinforced by a porcelain coating that protects against the adverse effects of exposure to high temperatures for extended periods.
-Porcelain-enameled lid and bowl for better heat retention
-Built-in thermometer: The unit’s temperature gauge is mounted on the lid for convenience purposes
-Aluminium dampers: These come in handy when one isn’t using the main temperature control unit. The Weber Smokey Mountain smoker comes with multiple dampers installed in several parts of the body, all of which are made of aluminium to reduce their vulnerability to rust.
-Aluminum fuel door: Depending on the kind of food you’re cooking, it might be necessary to top up the charcoal at some point. Unlike most similar models, the Weber 721001 smoker comes with a door designed just for this task so you don’t have to compromise your safety or the food’s integrity whenever you need to add some more fuel.
-Corrosion-resistant water pan: This is conveniently placed in the middle section of the smoker to ensure the water works perfectly in flavoring and moisturizing your food.
-Chimney starter: This means you’ll never have a hard time igniting the coals, which would be the case if you had a smoker that required you to do it manually.
What Makes the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Stand Out?
Still not convinced about this smoker’s ability to meet your expectations? It’s worth mentioning that (most of) these features aren’t exclusive to the Weber 721001, but there are some good reasons why a number of industry experts have asserted that the brand’s grills and smokers define what a great grilling experience should be like. This calls for a closer examination of the unit to reveal its standout features, such as:
-Wide doors: With most other models, you will likely have a hard time getting flavoring chips and charcoal in and out of the unit. The Weber 721001 smoker eliminates this challenge by having its doors wide enough to provide better access.
-Ash catch pan: Part of cleaning your smoker will involve getting rid of the ashes, and this model comes with a catch pan so you don’t have to sweep up when you’re done cooking. What you do instead is to wait for the ashes to cool down sufficiently, then remove the pan and empty it into the garbage can.
-Spring-loaded door latch: This makes the door shut automatically to minimize heat loss, which is more convenient than a setup where this is done manually.
-Easy assembly: As long as you follow the manufacturer’s instructions, it won’t take you more than 15 minutes to assemble the Weber 18.5 inch smoker.
-Solid construction: The use of heavy gauge steel plus the enamel coating make the Weber 18.5 inch one of the most durable smokers on the market. As such, you won’t have to worry about dings and bumps causing damage to the unit when packing it in your trunk.
-Great handling: The smoker has a storage cover that makes it convenient to use and move around, and this is further enhanced by the heat-resistant handles.
-Easy maintenance: The only maintenance task you’ll have to keep up with is a thorough clean-up each year, a process that’s made easier by the unit’s separable components.
Like all great things, the Weber 18.5 inch charcoal smoker does have its fair share of disadvantages. These may or may not influence your final decision, but you need to understand them first. Some of the pain points you can expect with the unit include:
-Lacks side handles: The manufacturer says that this unit was designed to be portable, but this is countered by the fact that the device doesn’t come with side handles.
-The unit’s temperature control leaves a lot to be desired, mostly because the door doesn’t shut as firmly as it should, plus the fact that the thermometer isn’t as accurate as you might expect.
-The internal layout makes it hard to fit in a slab full of meat without placing it too close to the sides, which would increase its likelihood of getting scorched by the heat.