The Virtual Weber Bullet - Your best source for Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker information & discussion on the Web

This article shows how to assemble the 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker. The process for assembling the 18.5" WSM is virtually identical.

As for the 14.5" WSM, the only major difference is that the heat shield is not connected to the legs, as shown in Photos 5-6 below. Instead, it rests in the bottom of the charcoal bowl.

Assembly only takes about 20 minutes and couldn't be easier. on any of the pictures to view a larger image.

Unpacking The Box

WSM 22.5 inch in the box
Photo 1
Charcoal ring and heat shield (in paper bag) sitting on water pan
Photo 2
Contents of hardware pack
Photo 3

I've documented the out of box experience in the WSM Out Of Box Experience article (including videos) and explained all of the WSM parts in the Component Parts article, so you should already know what to expect when you unpack the box.

Just to refresh your memory, here's what you'll find inside:

  • Lid + Thermometer
  • Middle Cooking Section + Access Door
  • Charcoal Bowl
  • Top Cooking Grate (with handles)
  • Bottom Cooking Grate (without handles)
  • Charcoal Grate
  • Charcoal Chamber
  • Water Pan
  • Heat Shield
  • Hardware Pack
    • Legs (3)
    • Grill Straps (4)
    • 1/4-20 x 5/8 Inch Screws (14)
    • 1/4-20 Nuts (14)
    • Fiber Washers (8)
    • 1/4 Inch Steel Washers (6)
    • Owner's Manual & Registration Card
  • Vinyl Cover

If you find that any parts are missing or damaged, contact Weber Customer Service at 800-446-1071 for assistance. In most cases, you will get a faster resolution of your problem if you contact Weber directly instead of going back to the retailer that sold you the cooker.

Tools Needed

To assemble the Weber Bullet you only need two tools:

Assembly Video

Here's a short video that shows how to assemble the 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

Assembling The Charcoal Bowl

View of edge hole in heat shield
Photo 4
Leg tab engaging heat shield
Photo 5
Leg/heat shield assembly ready to receive charcoal bowl
Photo 6
Charcoal bowl sitting on top of leg/heat shield assembly
Photo 7
Fastening leg to charcoal bowl
Photo 8
Finished charcoal bowl
Photo 9

Start by setting up the three legs and heat shield to accept the charcoal bowl. Insert the tab on each leg into the heat shield (Photo 5). Place the leg/heat shield assembly on the ground (Photo 6) and place the charcoal bowl on top, aligning the holes in the bowl with the holes in each leg (Photo 7).

Attach the three legs to the charcoal bowl using two nuts, two screws, and two steel washers per leg (Photos 8 & 9). The washers go on the inside of the charcoal bowl.

You may have to flex each leg a bit to get the holes to line up with those in the charcoal bowl.

Assembling The Middle Cooking Section

Protective plastic bag on access door
Photo 10
Fastening grill strap in middle cooking section
Photo 11
Finished middle cooking section
Photo 12
Close-up of grill strap orientation
Photo 13

Remove the access door and discard the protective plastic bag, then replace the door. If the door seems to fit poorly, see Parts Troubleshooting.

Attach the four grill straps inside the middle cooking section using two nuts, two screws, and two fiber washers per strap. Each strap is positioned so that the end with two "ledges" is at the bottom (Photo 13). The fiber washers go on the outside of the middle cooking section.

Installing Grates And Water Pan

Charcoal grate and charcoal chamber placed inside bowl
Photo 14
Water pan placed on lowest level flange
Photo 15
Bottom cooking grate inside middle cooking section
Photo 16
Top cooking grate inside middle cooking section
Photo 17

With the heat shield and hardware pack installed, now put the remaining pieces in their proper place.

  • Put the charcoal grate in the bottom of the charcoal bowl, resting on the leg bolts. Place the charcoal chamber in the center of the charcoal grate. This completes the charcoal bowl assembly (Photo 14).
  • Place the water pan on the lowest level flanges in the middle cooking section (Photo 15).
  • Put the bottom cooking grate (without handles) on the flanges just above the water pan (Photo 16).
  • Place the top cooking grate (with handles) on the flanges at the top of the middle cooking section. This completes the cooking section assembly (Photo 17).

Putting It All Together

Animation of three WSM sections coming together
Photo 18

Now it's simply a matter of putting the three major sections together.

  • Place the charcoal bowl assembly on a level surface.
  • Insert the middle cooking section into the charcoal bowl assembly.
  • Place the lid on top of the middle cooking section.

This completes the assembly of the Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker.

Visit Parts Troubleshooting for problem areas to look out for when unpacking and assembling a new Weber Bullet.

Weber Bullet Undercover

WSM under vinyl cover
Photo 19

One of the most important things you can do to protect your investment in Weber quality is to keep your WSM covered when not in use.

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Remember...A New WSM Will Run Hot

According to Weber, the WSM may run up to 50°F hotter when brand new.

The shiny interior surfaces reflect heat back into the cooker, resulting in higher than normal cooking temperatures. After a few uses, a layer of smoke and grease builds up on the interior. It becomes less reflective and absorbs more heat, which radiates out of the cooker and results in lower cooking temperatures.

Don't be too concerned about high temperatures during your first couple of cooking sessions. If you continue to have problems controlling the temperature of your cooker, see Temperature Control Problems: Too Hot, Too Cool.

Updated: 10/08/2017

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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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