Whether you are looking to replace an old smoker or you are just starting to get into smoking your own meats, you have probably heard that the best pit barrel smoker is either the Classic Pit Barrel Cooker or Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.
They are both high-quality choices, but we broke down all of the features and specs between both of them to find which would come out on top as the best one.
Pit Barrel Cooker vs Weber Smokey Mountain Comparison:
Classic Pit Barrel Cooker
This PBC (Pit Barrel Cooker) smoker has a pretty basic design and is easy enough for beginners to use, even if they have never used a smoker before. It is a little more expensive than the Weber, but it does have more pit barrel cooker reviews than any other; they are also some of the highest-rated.
This is one of the best drum smokers since it comes with a variety of accessories like hanging rods, hooks, grills, and even a hook remover tool that you can use to get the hooks out safely without ruining the meat.
It is also one of the best charcoal smokers since it comes with a durable and high-quality charcoal basket, too; something that many vertical barrel smokers do not come with, or if they do, they usually do not last that long.
Its biggest strength, the fact that it does not have or need a temperature regulator, could also be its biggest weakness, but we will talk about it being a weakness later.
The fact that it does not need a temperature regulator means that you can just leave the fuel, whether you are using wood or charcoal, by itself to burn without having to check on it and adjust the heat.
It can also smoke more meat than the Weber can unless you get the Weber’s accessory kit, but that will cost extra.
The porcelain coating is what helps to make it last as long as it does, too. There are a few other smokers that have a similar coating, like the Weber, but when compared to the other smokers that do not, this is definitely one of the features that ranks it as high as it is.
Because all of the attachments can be removed from this, this is one of the easiest smokers to clean, despite being a little large. When compared to other smokers like the Weber, it can be harder to reach into the compartments to clean, especially in the fuel chamber.
You may need to reach down in order to clean the deepest parts, but you do not have to worry about trying to reach in tight spaces or clean non-removable accessories in hard-to-reach areas because everything can be removed from the barrel.
Despite being larger and heavier, which we will talk about later, the Pit Barrel can be a bit easier to move since, unlike the Weber, it has handles on either side of the barrel.
However, these handles are only for moving the barrel when it is empty and unlit, and you should never try to move or touch the barrel by the handles when it is full or lit. They are not designed for that, and even if you are wearing heat-resistant gloves, there is still a strong possibility you can get burned.
There are two aspects that can make this inferior to the Weber bullet smoker, depending on if these are important to you or not.
This is a bit heavier than the Weber and other models, making it a little bit harder to set up and move around. In total, it weighs a little over 55 pounds, meaning you might have to get some help with moving it.
Remember, even if you have someone to help you carry it, you should always lift with your feet and not your back; try not to bend over or use mostly your arms when lifting.
Otherwise, you can easily pull a muscle or injure your back reasonably easily, and then you will not be able to start using your smoker for at least a few days or weeks.
The other way it can be inferior is that it does require a bit more attention than Weber or other smokers.
Because it does not have a burning control as the Weber does, you may have to check on your wood or charcoal a little more often to make sure it still is smoking.
You might have to check on it more if the weather is a windy day, too. It also only comes with a one-year warranty as opposed to several other cookers, including the Weber, which can come with a warranty that can last up to 10 years.
Compared to other models, particularly the Weber Smokey Mountain, the Pit Barrel Cooker smoker is possibly the best out of the rest because of its ease of use/cleaning, quality materials, accessories, mobility, and capacity.
You may be looking for something different based on your needs, but it is hard to deny that the price of this smoker is worth it when it comes to the high quality and simple use that you can get out of it with each and every slab of meat that you smoke with it.
Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker
This smoker, also known as the WSM (Weber Smokey Mountain) cooker, has one of the more unique and modern looks between its rounded, capsule-looking design. It is a little bit smaller than the PBC, but only by half an inch.
It is also one of the more affordable smokers and has more Weber Smokey Mountain cooker smoker reviews than nearly all other models, Weber or otherwise.
Like the Pit Barrel, all of the smoking is done from the top of the barrel; there are some smokers that can cook at the top, middle, and bottom of the smoker, depending on the design it has.
Besides the unique shape of the smoker, one of the other main features that this has is the special fuel door.
Many other smokers, like the Pit Barrel Cooker, do not have a fuel door.
Not only that but this fuel door can be completely removed so that you can easily put more fuel in or clean the smoker when you are either done using it or are about to use it again.
The large top handle is also another unique feature. It has a special heat-resistant handle that is also designed to be easily gripped.
Even so, you should still use a potholder or heat-resistant gloves when grabbing them to prevent the risk of burns.
This is one of the few smokers that you can get that comes in several sizes including 14-inch, 18-inch, and 22-inch barrels. Depending on where you get this from, you can also get this professionally installed, too; sometimes for free.
This is also one of the few models that have one of the longest warranties available, up to 10 years, and it often is free; depending on where you buy it from.
However, you may never need to use the warranty since this is porcelain-enameled and not coated, making it a little more durable and long-lasting than the Pit Barrel Cooker.
This is also one of the few models that have temperature control, and this can let you burn the fuel quickly to smoke the meat faster or slowly for a more thorough smoking session, making it a little more versatile than the Pit Barrel Cooker.
With or without the accessories, this is one of the easiest smokers that you can use, especially if you are using it as a slow cooker.
It can be a bit more time-consuming to do a quick smoking session since you will have to keep checking on the fuel, but we will talk about that later.
Setting up the Weber Smokey Mountain smoker could not be easier between the fact that you can get an expert to install it, possibly for free, and all you have to do to start it up is put the fuel in, light it, and wait for it to get warm enough to start smoking.
Unlike the Pit Barrel, this smoker does not come with any accessories or tools. You can get the accessories separately, but it can be hard to find a kit that comes with every possible accessory; the price can also vary but it can be a little expensive for just the accessories.
Unfortunately, without the accessories, this smoker is a little inferior to the Pit Barrel since it only comes with two grates that can smoke two to three steaks or so each at a time, making it a pretty low-capacity smoker.
Quick smoking with this model can be easier than some of the others, but it still demands more of your time and attention when it comes to keeping an eye on the fuel and temperature of the smoker.
When compared to the Pit Barrel, this is a little harder to clean, mostly around the door, but it is still a bit easier than some of the other models.
It is also a little more challenging to move since it does not have any handles, only a hole for string handles to be attached.
Still, it is lighter than some of the other models, making it a little bit easier for you to move by yourself.
It may not be at the Pit Barrel Cooker in some aspects, but it is still a worthy opponent if we compare it to many other models. It can be more aesthetically pleasing and come in a smaller or larger size if you need it to, but it is about as functional and easy to use as the Pit Barrel Cooker.
Insights and Takeaways
It can be pretty unclear which is the better model since they both have their ups and downs, but if you are looking for a smoker that is affordable and versatile, you may prefer the Weber Smokey Mountain.
On the other hand, if you want a more classic-looking smoker that comes with everything you would need, then you might prefer the Pit Barrel Cooker. It is also one of the better options for cleaning and slow cooking, too.
The best rule of thumb when trying to decide between these two is to think about the features that matter most to you (price, movability, etc.) and decide based on those features.