WSR vs WSM

Sudz

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I'm trying to understand the SF differences with cook results for those of you that have a Smokey Mountain. I have a highly modified WSM which is a pleasure to use but admittedly a bit of a hassle to prep and clean. It does very well at smoking all the typical meats we generally discuss in the BBQ world. I only use it for longer cooks because the convience factor is not there for quick cooks. I've been eager to grab a SF but given the present situation with the product, I'm somewhat hesitant.

I'm willing to take a bit of a risk if the sucessful cook is not a step backward from the WSM. I have no experience with pellet grills. Never had a bite from something cooked on one.

So can someone help me to understand the differences between the two with respect to taste? Does one make beter BBQ than the other?

Cheers...
 

abmet

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For me I have both but only used the WSM occasionally because of the setup and cleanup times. Of the few things I’ve done on both I think WSM maybe had slightly more smoke flavor. The issues people have experienced are concerning for the cost of the SmokeFire Though. I‘ve had a couple issues but overall the food I’ve made has been great. I really like salmon fillets off the SmokeFire way better than my WSM or Genesis. The convenience factor over the WSM is huge for me at least.
 
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I'm trying to understand the SF differences with cook results for those of you that have a Smokey Mountain. I have a highly modified WSM which is a pleasure to use but admittedly a bit of a hassle to prep and clean. It does very well at smoking all the typical meats we generally discuss in the BBQ world. I only use it for longer cooks because the convience factor is not there for quick cooks. I've been eager to grab a SF but given the present situation with the product, I'm somewhat hesitant.

I'm willing to take a bit of a risk if the sucessful cook is not a step backward from the WSM. I have no experience with pellet grills. Never had a bite from something cooked on one.

So can someone help me to understand the differences between the two with respect to taste? Does one make beter BBQ than the other?

Cheers...
Sorry, this response got longer and longer as I typed it out.....

Interesting to read your post, as I currently have a SF, and I'm thinking of going the WSM route. I'm not an expert, but from what I have read, you are going to get more smoked flavor out of your WSM than from the SF. But with that said, the smoked meats I've cooked on the SF have been awesome, very tender, great smoke flavor (though I can't compare to what it would have been if cooked on a WSM). My experience of smoking is coming from a Weber kettle to the SF pellet. My understanding of the WSM is that once you get the temp dialed in, it just stays there, and the smoker is very fuel efficient. The WSM may take a bit of prep work and tending of the fire to get there, but once it is, you are good for the duration of your cook. The idea behind the pellet grill is that it is a "push button have smoke" kind of grill, and for the most part I believe this to be true. My prep for a cook is pretty simple, fill the hopper with pellets, vacuum out the pellet dust that collected in the bottom of the cooker and in the fire pot, and for a long cook with fatty meat, I place a water pan above the flavorizor bars and below the grill grates where I place the meat. Then set the temp, hit start and start cooking.

I don't know what cleaning a WSM is like post cook, but a SF is pretty simple, but there are a lot of pieces to move around. After a long cook I remove the grates, then scrape and remove the flavorizor bars, then remove the heat shield. I can then use the scraping tool to scrape down the inside of the cooker, and push everything out the drip holes in the bottom. I then vacuum out the pellet dust from the bottom of the cooker and clean out the drip tray. Then I put everything back together. This isn't required after every cook, but I do it at least once a week, and after any really long cook.

As for buying a SF now....I honestly would wait a little longer.


I bought mine as a pre-order. Initially my grill was flawless. I fired up to 600 degrees, seared the heck out of steaks, cooked amazing pizzas, and slow smoked pork butt and ribs to perfection. The versatility and convenience of the grill is amazing, and when it works it is absolutely worth it because while it might not produce the same smoke as your WSM, the convenience of being able to smoke or grill on the same unit with the ease of pushing a button and setting the temp is pretty amazing.

But then there was a firmware update, and my grill has never been the same. I've since replaced the pellet chute and the auger with the new welded versions. I've replaced the motor (revision F) and have reset the software multiple times. The grill is just inconsistent. Some days it will reach temp and I will have a great cook, other days it might reach temp, but then after I open the grill to put on my food, it never fully recovers, and struggles for the remainder of the cook. This happens on both low and slow, and high temp cooks. Last week I installed the new motor and reset the software, and I immediately fired up the grill to 400 degrees and cooked some awesome pizzas. The next day I cleaned it out and tried to cook some food at 450 and the grill could never get above 390 degrees. Then I tried a lower temp cook and once again it couldn't maintain temp. I don't know what happened other than to say that my grill was perfect, and I admittedly wondered if people were just being trolls when they posted all their negative results. But now I'm one of those people, as I literally walk past my SF to fire up my old Traeger, or my Weber 22" kettle because I just don't want to deal with the frustration of my SF.

Weber customer service has been good, if I account for the fact that email will take about a week for a response. Then they will send me a new part FedEx overnight. I install it, the grill works for a single cook, and then I am back to sending an email to Weber asking what to try next. I admittedly asked them to exchange my grill for a new SF, or allow me to exchange it for a Summit Charcoal as I've replaced everything on this grill except for the controller board and quite honestly I don't think that for the amount paid for it I should have to go through all this.

Do I love my SF grill...YES...when it is working.

Bottom line, I believe that Weber will work the kinks out on the grill, and when they do it will be awesome. Right now it is hit or miss, you could get a good one that works, or you could get a problem child. Or you could be like me, and have one that worked flawlessly, and then all of a sudden becomes a trouble maker.
 

abmet

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Cleaning the SmokeFire takes me maybe 10 minutes. Cleaning WSM was probably 20 to 30 after waiting an hour to cool down. I leave mine outside so I would dump the leftover charcoal into a small galvanized bucket. my WSM was pretty stable but occasionally would have to adjust the vents. I would use a terra-cotta pot base as a heat sink instead of water pan because I hated dealing with the water. I wrapped it in foil and replaced the foil after greasy cooks. I like my WSM just for me some Of the maintenance kept me from using it consistently.
 

Bruno

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I have a WSM 22 and I doubt I ever touch it again, the SF can’t be beat in convenience and ease of cook.
 

eth555

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I have a WSM 22" and 14" models, along with the WSF. As Bruno stated I am not sure I will use my WSM's again as the WSF is just so easy to use and control. I really enjoyed my WSM's but it is so nice just to go out flip and switch dial in a temp and go. All around the WSF is so much easier to use and food is every bit as good; I get more consistent results from WSF.
 

Boilerbdub

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I came from a WSM and a Performer Kettle. Initially I thought I would keep both the WSM and the SF so I had options. But now that I see the quality of the food coming off the SF along with the ease, im now considering selling my WSM. I have had it for years, well modified, and well used. Even though its not a lot of maintenance to clean it, the SF is still easier.

I will probably keep the WSM until I am confident the SF issues are resolved. Even though I have not had any issues yet, im hyper aware (thanks Internet) of the potential issues out there.
 

richfleek

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After a handful of cooks on my SF EX6 I just sold my WSM this past weekend. Now I hope my SF doesn't crap out on me lol
 

dudemcnally

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After a handful of cooks on my SF EX6 I just sold my WSM this past weekend. Now I hope my SF doesn't crap out on me lol
well, they're not all having problems. I have cooked 4x per week since the last week of February on mine and it's been great! No replacement parts either. I don't doubt that some are having issues, just letting you know some percentage work well :)
 

KevinD

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I have both the SF and the WSM. I use an electronic device that operates a fan to better control the temp on the WSM which can be an issue if you don't pay attention. The WSM can be a cleanup issue if you put it away dirty. I agree with dadhastoomany grills regarding the SF. BTW I have 5 on my deck, all Weber. My last two cooks have been perfect, a 350 for an hour and a 275 for 3. I am convinced a lot of the problem is the "plug" that forms at the base of the auger due to reversing at shutdown. If you get low on pellets in the hopper, empty said hopper and shop vac the auger. Clean your vac first and reuse the pellets. I bet the first cook will be perfect.
 
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Sudz

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Good stuff guys. Sounds like those with functional WSFs do like the results and apparently the level of smoke is above what is typical of pellet smokers in general.

I do love the results from my WSM which is made really easy with my Signals/Bellows temp control, but clean up is too much a hassle for a short cook.

I think it may be about time for me to roll the dice... :)

Thanks!
 
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I’ve never heard anyone complain about the flavor of the product that the smokefire puts out. In fact it’s always complimentary. It’s all the other stuff that bothers people.
Exactly, when my grill works, the food I prepare on it is excellent, some of the best I’ve ever cooked. I understand that there is a Firmware update in testing that should address the issues 🤞
 

Bruno

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After a handful of cooks on my SF EX6 I just sold my WSM this past weekend. Now I hope my SF doesn't crap out on me lol
Sad that is even a thought, but certainly one of my concerns as well.
 

dudemcnally

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I have both the SF and the WSM. I use an electronic device that operates a fan to better control the temp on the WSM which can be an issue if you don't pay attention. The WSM can be a cleanup issue if you put it away dirty. I agree with dadhastoomany grills regarding the SF. BTW I have 5 on my deck, all Weber. My last two cooks have been perfect, a 350 for an hour and a 275 for 3. I am convinced a lot of the problem is the "plug" that forms at the base of the auger due to reversing at shutdown. If you get low on pellets in the hopper, empty said hopper and shop vac the auger. Clean your vac first and reuse the pellets. I bet the first cook will be perfect.
When it became apparent a few weeks ago that the sawdust accumulation or grinding could be a problem, I used all the pellets in the hopper in order to check on sawdust accumulation on mine. At that point there was a fair amount of dust, but my WSF was still running completely fine. I cleaned out the accumulation with a shop vac and went on about my day.
Two days ago I was getting near the bottom of the hopper again so I decided to run it out and check on sawdust again. This time there was very little accumulation.
I've just put it in the back of my mind that once a month or so I'll run the pellets out and check for too much dust, just a maintenance item for me
 
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When it became apparent a few weeks ago that the sawdust accumulation or grinding could be a problem, I used all the pellets in the hopper in order to check on sawdust accumulation on mine. At that point there was a fair amount of dust, but my WSF was still running completely fine. I cleaned out the accumulation with a shop vac and went on about my day.
Two days ago I was getting near the bottom of the hopper again so I decided to run it out and check on sawdust again. This time there was very little accumulation.
I've just put it in the back of my mind that once a month or so I'll run the pellets out and check for too much dust, just a maintenance item for me
As much as I have had my issues with the reliability of my SmokeFire recently, this latest update appears to have addressed them. I've had two very successful cooks in a row which is something I have been unable to do in a long time. Cooked pizza at 400 degrees a few days ago and the grill performed flawlessly. Reached 400 degrees pretty quickly, and then held the temp very well. It also recovered very quickly when I opened the door to add food or rotate my pizzas. Then I cooked a pork butt for about 5 hours using the smoke boost and the results were amazing. The grill held temp perfectly, and the smoke boost function worked exactly as described. The remote monitoring of the grill, and ability to change temp remotely worked perfectly allowing me to monitor my cook and adjust temp (including disengaging smoke boost) while working in my home office without every going out to the grill. I'm cautiously optimistic, though I will need more successful cooks to be convinced.
 

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