From mouthwatering ribs to juicy pulled pork barbecues, you can prepare a wide array of delicious recipes with a smoker. More than the right technique, however, you will need good equipment. With this, if you are looking for a high-quality smoker, read this comparison of Pit Barrel Cooker vs Weber Smokey Mountain.
Deciding what to choose between the two isn’t an easy decision. They are both reputable brands, but they are different in many ways. From the construction to capacity, this short article looks at some of their similarities and differences to help you make the right choice.
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Table of Contents
Comparing Pit Barrel Cooker vs Weber Smokey Mountain
If you are buying a vertical smoker for the first time, it is easy to assume that the two are alike. Upon closer examination, however, you will see that they are different in many ways. To help you evaluate the two products, this section takes a closer look at some of their features.
As it is with other smokers, the material is highly indicative of the overall quality. It dictates how fast it will heat up or how long the unit will last. The choice of material can also influence care and maintenance, as well as the price. They are from two of the most trusted brands in the global market, so we are confident to say that they utilize top-notch materials.
The Pit Barrel Cooker is made of an 18-gauge steel drum. To make it even better, it has porcelain enamel cooking. The latter makes the material thicker while also protecting its core from external damages that can speed up wear.
For the Weber Smokey Mountain, it is also made of porcelain-enameled steel, but the company does not disclose its specific gauge. From the lid to the bowl, the porcelain enamel helps in improving rust resistance.
To determine the capacity of the cooker, you should look at the size of its cooking surface. The larger it is, the more you can cook at the same time. This is beneficial if you live in a large household or you often host parties at home.
The Pit Barrel Cooker comes in two different versions, each with its respective cooking capacities. The Pit Barrel Cooker Classic has a capacity of 240 square inches. Meanwhile, it has a smaller version known as Pit Barrel Cooker Junior, which has a cooking surface of 154 square inches.
Meanwhile, Weber Smokey Mountain is available in three configurations, each with its respective cooking area. The 14-inch model has a primary cooking surface of 286 square inches. Its 18-inch counterpart, on the other hand, has 481 square inches of cooking area. The largest of the three is the 22-inch model, which has 726 square inches of cooking surface.
This is one of the biggest differences between the two. This is important as it affects how user-friendly the smoker is. It is annoying when the temperature is difficult to control. Not to mention, it can also make the cooker inefficient.
In Weber Smokey Mountain, the temperature control has a more conventional design. You can adjust the top and bottom portions of the damper to change the airflow. By putting a lot of charcoal, you can restrict airflow and lower temperature. If you want the smoker to take in more oxygen and for the fire to be hotter, you can do so by opening the vents.
With the Pit Barrel Smoker, the temperature is fixed. Meaning, once you load the charcoal, all that you need to do is to put the meat and leave it. It will most likely maintain the same temperature throughout the process.
Ease of Use
Using a smoker should be straightforward, but such will depend on the specific product that you are using. While the two models are both intuitive, if we have to pick only one winner, then we would go for the Pit Barrel Cooker. It has a set-and-forget functionality, which means that it is less complicated to operate.
While the Weber Smoker Mountain is also uncomplicated, some people might not like how there is a constant need to adjust the damper. Doing the latter is necessary to control the air that gets in and out of the cooker, which is also what will control the temperature.
While they are both called smokers, they can go beyond smoking meats. Hence, whether you choose the Pit Barrel Cooker or Weber Smokey Mountain, you can expect that both of them are versatile. It is a great investment because you can use it for different outdoor cooking applications.
They are both dedicated smokers, bit you can also use them for grilling. From sausages to chicken you can prepare grilled specialties in these cookers.
These smokers do not have wheels, so moving them around can be quite a hassle. Not to mention, they are also made of a heavy-duty material, so it is heavy. It is a good thing that they both have handles, so you can lift and carry the unit easily.
If you are looking for portability, the two brands have small models available. You can opt for the Pit Barrel Cooker Junior and Weber Smokey Mountain 14-inch cookers if you want portable models.
Care and Maintenance
When it comes to care and maintenance of the smoker, the two are almost the same. They require quite an effort to maintain peak functionality. Refer to the manual so that you will know what to do to keep the cooker in its best condition even after years of use. The failure to do so can result in wasting your money.
The best practice is to clean the smokers after every use. Pay attention to the soot and other hard deposits on the grate. Use mild detergent and warm water to soften the residues. It is also important to add cover for prolonged storage, which will protect the unit against dirt.
Being aware of the dimensions is important when evaluating the capacity of the smoker, as well as its compatibility on the space available for outdoor cooking. The dimensions will differ depending on the specific mode. For the Pit Barrel Cooker, below are dimensions of the two main models:
- Pit Barrel Cooker Classic: Height (including the lid) – 36 inches, width (including the side handles) – 25 inches, shipping weight – 57 pounds
- Pit Barrel Cooker Junior: Height (including the lid) – 33 inches, width (including the side handles) – 21.25 inches, shipping weight – 32.7 pounds
The Weber Smokey Mountain cooker, on the other hand, has the following dimensions:
- Weber 14”: Height – 31.4 inches, width – 14.7 inches, depth – 14.7 inches,
- Weber 18”: Height – 41 inches, width – 19 inches, depth – 21 inches
- Weber 22”: Height – 48.5 inches. width – 23 inches, depth – 24 inches
Especially if you are buying a smoker for the first time and you are on a budget, the price is a crucial consideration. Between the two, Weber Smokey Mountain is a cheaper option. Their 14-inch smoker is the best choice if you want an economical product. Their 18-inch smoker, meanwhile, is roughly the same price as the Pit Barrel Cooker Classic.
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