Buying and Using a Smoker – The Weber Smokey Mountain cooker/smoker

Several years ago we used our Weber charcoal kettle grill to slow cook chicken quarters over indirect heat. We did this for a group of glider friends when we lived at Hidden Valley Lake. The chicken was excellent. I remember spending all afternoon watching the temperature  inside the grill. Keeping it steady and not too hot required constant monitoring. I think we probably got lucky. It might not have turned out so good.

A few days ago Ronnie and I were talking about what to cook next time we have a few people over for a BBQ. I remembered how good that chicken turned out and suggested we look at smokers. We still have this big book of BBQ recipes and that was a starting point.


The book also has a lot of reference material including pros and cons of various types of smokers including the kettle grill, the charcoal “Bullet” smoker, wood pellet grills, the Big Green Egg and others. I first got all excited about the wood pellet grill but after a while came to my senses. Good ones are expensive, big and heavy. Many of the competition BBQ’ers use the Weber Smokey Mountain smoker, WSM’s as they are known. So, I found one in stock at Home Depot in Bluffton for $299. We  went to Bluffton and bought it….some nice woman there got us a 10% discount off that for opening a Home Depot charge.

The Weber Smokey Mountain is one of the charcoal “Bullet” smokers….I found a write-up on this web site about how to break it in or season it….

The bottom line was first burn a full load of charcoal then, on the next pass, cook something with a lot of fat in it….we found some very thick sliced bacon for step two. It is now in our fridge as delicious crumbled bacon bits. I kept finding that I needed something else, one item was a thermometer that I could leave in the meat to tell me when it had reached the target temp….while looking through Lowe’s grilling accessories I spotted this….the iGrillmini for $39.


It’s really tiny with a magnet on the back so it sticks to the side of the grill.  A wire is attached to a meat probe which is inserted the meat. Made by iDevices which provides an app for IOS devices (Apple) or Android. Download the app. Push the button on the little mini device and it talks to your phone via bluetooth.   You choose the meat (and thus the temp) , set it to start and the temp is displayed along with a graph showing the progress. You get a message when the meat is within 10 degrees of the target and an alarm goes when target is reached….choice of alarms including songs on your phone.  Here is closeup of the mini alongside a regular thermometer inserted into a grommet on the side of the grill…..



Yesterday was the big test. We decided to try a whole chicken first. Found a simple recipe here on this site…

Extraordinary BBQ

We had never tried brining before so we brined the chicken overnight in 1 gallon of water, 1/2 cup salt and 1 cup brown sugar. Rinsed off the brine, stuffed it with a simple dressing found on the site, oiled the bird down with olive oil and a light dusting of BBQ rub we happened to have.

Here is a 5 minute video on YouTube of our smoking adventure….


Hope you enjoyed this….been a while since I have done a blog.













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