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WSM Cooking Capacity

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To give you an idea of the cooking capacity of the Weber Bullet without any modifications, I have cooked the following quantities of meat at one time in my cookers. (Not the entire bulleted list at one time, just each line!)

14.5" WSM

  • 2 whole butterflied chickens
  • 1 chicken on vertical poultry rack on bottom cooking grate
  • 1 small turkey on bottom cooking grate
  • 4 slabs of baby back ribs, cut in half, using two rib racks
  • 2 8-lb pork butts

18.5" WSM

22.5" WSM

  • 6 slabs of baby back ribs cooked in a rib rack using only the top cooking grate
  • 6 beer can chickens
  • 6 8-lb pork butts
  • 2 13-lb whole briskets

Comparing Capacity Between 18.5" and 22.5" WSMs

Here are some photos showing how much meat you can fit in the 18.5" WSM versus the 22.5" WSM. Click any of the photos to view a larger image.

Beer Can Chickens

In the 18.5" WSM, the chickens touch the underside of the top cooking grate—they do not in the 22.5" WSM. Notice that I squeezed 5 beer can chickens onto the bottom grate of the 22.5" cooker.

18.5" WSM 22.5" WSM 18.5" WSM 22.5" WSM  
3 chickens in 18.5" WSM
Photo 1
4 chickens in 22.5" WSM
Photo 2
3 chickens on bottom grate of 18.5" WSM
Photo 3
5 chickens on bottom grate of 22.5" WSM
Photo 4

Baby Back Ribs

Three slabs of ribs can lay perfectly straight in the 22.5" WSM, and it can easily hold 6 slabs of rolled ribs on the top grate.

18.5" WSM 22.5" WSM 18.5" WSM 22.5" WSM  
3 slabs of ribs in 18.5" WSM
Photo 5
3 slabs of ribs in 22.5" WSM
Photo 6
4 slabs of rolled ribs in 18.5" WSM
Photo 7
6 slabs of rolled ribs in 22.5" WSM
Photo 8

Pork Butts

Three boneless pork butts on the top grate of the 18.5" WSM; 4 on the 22.5" cooker.

18.5" WSM 22.5" WSM      
3 pork butts in 18.5" WSM
Photo 9
4 pork butts in 22.5" WSM
Photo 10


These photos show the same 15.39 pound whole packer brisket on the top grate of each cooker. This brisket could be cooked in the 18.5" WSM by "shoehorning" it between the grate handles or laying it across a small bowl or a chunk of smoke wood and it would shrink during cooking, but a 12 pound brisket would be a more comfortable fit.

18.5" WSM 22.5" WSM      
15.39 pound brisket in 18.5" WSM
Photo 11
15.39 pound brisket in 22.5" WSM
Photo 12

Increasing Cooking Capacity

No matter how big your cooker, there are always times when you wished it was just a little bit bigger! See Increasing Cooking Capacity for ideas on how to fit more barbecue into your WSM.

Updated: 08/25/2016

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The Virtual Weber Bullet
The Virtual Weber Bullet is your best source for Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker information and discussion on the Web. Popular with competition barbecue teams, the WSM is an easy-to-use water smoker that's equally at home in the backyard. See the WSM and its component parts; get recipes, usage tips, and modification ideas; check-out BBQ-related resources; and discuss the WSM with owners and enthusiasts in our online forums.
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