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Author Topic: Kettle v. WSM Usage  (Read 8300 times)


  • WKC Ranger
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Kettle v. WSM Usage
« on: December 15, 2015, 11:46:22 AM »
I've been keeping an eye out for a good deal on a WSM, but have also had my share of success on a 22" kettle using the snake method (thanks to WKC!).  That makes me wonder, when would I actually use the WSM over the kettle?

To the owners of both kettle(s) and WSM(s) is, what is the deciding factor for when to cook on a WSM vs. a kettle? How do these factors come into play: cook time, desired temp, availability to monitor? 

Thanks for the input.
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  • WKC Ranger
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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #1 on: December 15, 2015, 12:08:33 PM »
Amount of food and if I am going to be home. If I am going out all day, the WSM gets the call.

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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #2 on: December 15, 2015, 12:51:44 PM »
to add on since I don't have a WSM but do have a 26er....how would a 26er fit into the equation?  It provides a lot more space, especially if you have a elevated grate for it.  @iCARRY's comment about being home or not would still give the WSM an edge if you aren't going to be home, but I have gotten comfortable enough with my 22's and 26er to leave it for an hour or two without worry of the temp spiking or the coals fizzling out (especially with my 26er).
62-68 Avocado BAR-B-Q Kettle, Red ER SS Performer, Green DA SS Performer, Black EE three wheeler, 1 SJS, 1 Homer Simpson SJS,  AT Black 26er, 82 Kettle Gasser Deluxe, "A" code 18.5 MBH, M Code Tuck-n-Carry, P Code Go Anywhere, 2015 RANCH FREAKING KETTLE!!!!!!

Josh G

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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #3 on: December 15, 2015, 01:14:08 PM »
I know some people are having good luck with the Slow 'n Sear on the kettle and swear you can leave them unattended for hours.  They are a little pricey but much cheaper than a WSM. 


  • WKC Ranger
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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #4 on: December 15, 2015, 02:05:14 PM »
The biggest pro of the WSM in my opinion, is that it is pretty foolproof.  I use the minion method for starting it up, get it up to temperature and it STAYS there for HOURS.  The first couple of times, I kept on looking at it every half hour or so, like my kettle, but the last couple of times, I'll check it every two hours or so, and it just keeps hovering around 250 or so.  I always find myself having to fiddle with the vents when using a kettle to smoke.

The other upside is using both levels of grill grates.  I've done five racks of ribs at once on there, and feel confident I could do four large pork butts.

The DOWNSIDE of the WSM (I have the 18.5) is that it uses SO much more charcoal than the snake method.  I know you can use it again, but still, it uses A LOT. 

Finally, as @MikeRocksTheRed said, I've been curious about a 26er.  If I could find one, I'd try it and see how it went in comparison to my WSM. 
Chasing the impossibles: Westerner, Custom, Meat Cut!

Big Dawg

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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #5 on: December 15, 2015, 02:54:28 PM »
The main factor, as other said, is amount of food being cooked.  I've fit up to eight butts, if they were under 8 lbs. each.  I can easily fit three racks of St. Louis on a grate.  I've considered adding a third grate so I could go up to nine racks if needed.

I've got a 26.75 kettle and think I could probably get four racks or butts.  But I've also considered picking a 22.5 rack and adding some carriage bolts to give some additional cooking surface.

Another additional consideration would be if you were thinking about adding controller, like the DigiQ, it bolts right up to the WSM.  I think you would have to cut a hole in the Kettle to add one.

The Sultans of Swine
22.5 WSM - Fat Boy
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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #6 on: December 15, 2015, 03:45:05 PM »
I use my 26 all the time, with a Slow N Sear.  Its pretty foolproof and doesn't need much adjustment most of the time.  At 225-250, I need to refuel somewhere in the 6-8 hour timeframe depending on air temps.

If I can find a good deal on a 22 WSM I'll jump on it though, for the increased volume of food it will allow me to prepare.  I can easily fit 2 butts on the 26 with plenty of room to spare.  3 would be no trouble, 4 is going to push it with the way the SnS sets up.  It might be possible with a snake, but it would definitely be pushing it. 

I cooked for a holiday party last week and I was definitely pushing the limits with the food I was making.

For regular family cooks, my 26 is just fine, especially with the SnS.  The 22 is great with it, too, but I tend to use the 26 more often just because of the amount of food I'm cooking. 
Q2000; 26er; P Code MT; 22 WSM


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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #7 on: December 15, 2015, 04:09:39 PM »
I've got a 22 wsm, a 26er kettle, and several 22 kettles, and for me it really comes down to what @iCARRY and @crowderjd said about size and easy of use.

The wsm will hold a lot of food and just hold temp like a champ with very little fiddling. That being said if I'm just doing one butt, or one rack of ribs I'll just run one of the kettles because I get the same results with a fraction of charcoal.

Do I regret getting my wsm, no way! They are just so easy to use, and I've gotten somewhere around 15+ hours easy out a load of charcoal.

Does it get the call a lot, not really since getting the 26er, but I love having it in the arsenal.


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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #8 on: December 15, 2015, 06:27:03 PM »
Brisket and butts go on the 22 WSM and Prime Rib and Chuck roasts on the 14 WSM - everything else on a Kettle.
"Why do you have so many bbq's?"....."I just like lookin' at em' sometimes....and I have enough purses and shoes"


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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #9 on: December 15, 2015, 07:55:06 PM »
I have an 18" WSM, a 22" CB conversion, a 26" Kettle, and a bunch of 22" and 18" kettles. They each have their strengths.
As was mentioned before, the WSM will lock in at the desired temp and stay there for hours. I like to put a couple of pork shoulders on it around midnight and go to bed. I check on them when I get up about 7 or 8 hours later. Sometime around noon the pork will be ready to rest in the faux cambro.
A bunch of black kettles

pbe gummi bear

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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #10 on: December 15, 2015, 08:38:54 PM »
I have a bunch of 22" kettles and a 22.5" WSM.  This is my cooking choice flowchart in text form:

1- Will I need temp higher than 300? If yes, use a kettle. If no, move to 2.

2- Will my smoke session last longer than 3 hours? If yes, use the WSM. If no, move to 3.

3- Will what I'm cooking fit flat on the grate without any of the meat being too close to the fire or being overcrowded? If yes, consider using the kettle or move to 4.

4- Do I want to impress my friends when they come over because I "fired up the huge smoker for them"? If yes, use the WSM. lol

Given that I don't cook too often I rarely break rules 1-3 unless there are extenuating circumstances. ymmv

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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #11 on: December 16, 2015, 03:10:31 AM »
I'll chime in and make a suggestion that you consider a Cajun Bandit Stacker for your kettle if you have reservations of using a WSM. I don't really want to try to talk you out of getting a bullet, because you'll love it once you get it and start using it.

Deciding factor for me is boredom using one particular cooker for any length of time. I'm actually partial to drum smokers over the WSM's, but that will likely change soon since I just got a Hunsaker Smokers Vortex Firebasket for the 22" WSM which should get my creative juices flowing!

I cook on: Backwoods Gater, Lang 36, Hunsaker Smokers, Pellet Pro 22" WSM, BGE's, WSM's, Cajun Bandits, PK Grills, Drum Smokers, Genesis Silver C, Weber Q's, Cookshack 008, Little Chief, La Caja China #2, Lodge Sportsman...oh yeah! Weber Kettles! Kamado restoration and pit modification hack!


  • WKC Ranger
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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #12 on: December 16, 2015, 03:37:23 AM »
For me it is amount of food and amount of time I'm expecting to that food to take to cook.

If its a rack or two of ribs, a small brisket flat, or a small chunk of chuck for Pepper Stout Beef, I always reach for the 26er.  If I'm doing a pork butt.....I usually take advantage of the opportunity and do 2-3 10Lb+ butts in the WSM.

I don't smoke much of anything in a 22" kettle, as the 26er blows it out of the water with reference to low temperature control.

Tommy B

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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #13 on: December 16, 2015, 04:48:05 AM »
I had a cheap-o brinkman gasser and then bought a WSM. the WSM brought me into the weber world and now I own a WSM and and 4 kettles. I cooked on the WSM 2-3 times a week every week for about 2 years before i got a kettle. I love my kettles but I have so much more control over temps etc on the WSM when it comes to long cooks. I know exactly how much fuel based on cook conditions etc. I use my WSM as much as my kettles. It is a good investment
Hotty Toddy!


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Re: Kettle v. WSM Usage
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2015, 08:23:39 AM »
I got a 22 performer and use it to smoke on all the time... 3 slabs no problem 5lbs leg of lamb great.  I am in the same boat with the WSM always wanted one but did not know if it is worth the $300?  I was in home depot yesterday and there she was 18" of smokey mountain just sitting there marked down to $150.  Wife was with me at the time so had to pass and did not really want to spend the cash.  Just bought 2 webers this week and got a bid on another.. I just cant stop thinking about it. just cant see how much use it will get.  Would be great to add to the collection.  If it is there Thurs.  that may be the sign to buy..lol.   Is the 18 too small??
Stay grilling  my friends!!!!