Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker Charcoal Smoker Review
Just because you happen to have a small deck or patio, doesn’t mean you should be denied the joy of homemade barbecue. In recent years grill and smoker manufacturers like Weber have been making a conscious effort to offer smaller versions of their more well-known cooking appliances.
This is the case with the Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker. It’s a little more compact than it’s 18-inch and 22-inch siblings, yet you can still pack a lot of food into a single smoking session. This is thanks in part to the dual 14-inch diameter grates, as well as a more than fair amount of height. If you are in the market for a charcoal bullet smoker, this one should be at the top of the list.
It includes a water pan, which also helps to collect excess drippings. The lower body has three dampers to help you dial in just how much air accesses the charcoal and wood chips. There is also a side access door built into the body, which allows you to reload fresh charcoal and smoking woods. There is also a heat resistant silicone grommet which allows you to run the lead for a probe thermometer without having to interrupt the other seals.
The lid also has a damper built into it to help you control smoke density and release excess heat. The thermometer built into the lid is also very accurate. Which is something that can’t be said with most small charcoal smokers in this niche.
Construction & Ease of Assembly
The Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker has most of the hallmarks of quality you expect from the Weber line. The metal body is coated with black enamel, which matches Weber’s signature look. The grates are also chrome plated just like you will find with the high-end grills in their line.
The silicone grommet is also a nice touch, and not something that you usually find with small smokers. With most of the competitors, you either have to violate and air seal, use a wireless probe thermometer, or simply trust the reading on the lid thermometer.
When it comes to assembly, there’s a little bit of work that needs to go into making sure everything is seated correctly. Still, it shouldn’t take you more than half an hour to start prepping for your first smoking session.
On paper, the Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker isn’t meant to be used for direct heat grilling. If you leave the water pan out, and you build a traditional high heat charcoal fire in the bottom, you will be able to sear the meat over direct heat on the bottom grate. This gives it a little bit of versatility if you need a portable grill in a pinch.
When it comes to using it as a smoker, you might be surprised at just how much temperature range the Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker can handle. If you are really careful, with the airflow, and you use soaked wood chunks instead of chips, you can dial the heat down to the 180 to 200-degree range. If you open everything up and you build a strong coal bed, the Smokey Mountain Cooker can reach as high as 400-degrees.
The side access door is a little bit on the leaky side. This is true of every Smokey Mountain Cooker in this line. It would have been nice if Weber would have put a little more effort into creating an effective seal!
As you might expect, size is a little bit of an issue with the Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker. It’s the smallest in the line of vertical barrel smokers that they offer. You would be hard pressed to get something large and flat like brisket in it. Yet it can handle taller pieces of meat like a pork shoulder or a beer can chicken.
The two 14-inch chrome plated grill grates provide you with 154 square inches of cooking space or a grand total of 308. This isn’t enough to accommodate a full rack of ribs unless you cut it down into portions. Still, you could smoke two butterflied chickens.
The silicone grommet in the body of the smoker is handy for tracking the internal temperature of the meat with a probe thermometer. Most other bullet grills in this range don’t have a feature like this.
The multiple lower dampers are also nice for dialing in the airflow and flame.
The side access door is “Technically” a special feature, but it does leak smoke a little more than you might like.
Ease to Clean
Getting the ash out of the bottom of the Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker can be a little bit of a pain in the neck. It’s not the easiest thing in the world to reach down in and scoop out.
The chrome plated grill grates are a signature of the Weber line. They happen to be a little sticky. This isn’t too much of an issue, but you might end up putting in a little extra elbow grease if you need to clean up after some messy marinade.
The body, lid, and cooking grates for the Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker all come with a five-year warranty. All other parts come with a two-year limited warranty
If you are in the market for a charcoal bullet or barrel smoker, then the Weber 14-inch Smokey Mountain Cooker is worthy of a little consideration. The side access door leaks a little, and it can’t handle large pieces of meat like beef brisket. Still, it has enough quality and value to smoke most of the stuff you want and can even be used as a grill in a pinch.
- Weber quality
- Backed by a superior warranty
- Two cooking grates
- Silicone grommet for a probe thermometer
- Side access door to reload charcoal and wood
- Side access door leaks
- Grates are a little sticky
- Difficult to clean ash out of the bottom