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Pro-Q versus Weber Smoke Mountain

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catfish charlie

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Sorry if this topic has been discussed before.  For those who have experience with both, how do they compare?  I own an Pro-Q Excel 20 and overall not greatly satisfied.  Seemed like it was nearly impossibly to get temperature up to 225, and to maintain for any length of time.  Constant adding of new hot coals and stirring the basket to keep the heat.  Ash buildup restricted airflow after only a few hours - mod to raise basket helped somewhat but not hugely.

I read posts every day claiming WSM can hold temp for hours and hours unattended.  Makes me think that not everything that looks the same is created equal.

Appreciate any and all feedback
#1 - February 29, 2012, 10:59:41 am
2009 Pro-Q Excel 20
2010 Traeger XL
2011 Traeger XL converted to mobile unit!
2012 WSM or UDS with Stoker?

RudedoggAZ

I own a ProQ and use it for my part of comp cooks. It's been a great cooker but is getting a little beat down so my next one will be a 22 WSM.I load a FULL basket of coals minus the middle and dump a full chimney of hot coals in the middle. Then I usually close the vents to half way.  I haven't had much success getting it past 250 but once I get it to temp it holds for 6+ hours. Anyway, as I said it's been a great cooker but it's not built as well as the WSM.
#2 - February 29, 2012, 11:23:28 am

AZWildcat

  • Karma: 22
The problems you mentioned wont happen with a wsm. No experience with a Pro Q tho..
#3 - February 29, 2012, 11:24:51 am
2 UDS's-Stoked
2 WSM's-Stoked
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22.5 Kettle to burn burgers and steaks.

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G$

  • Karma: 0
I have used both extensively  and have a strong personal preference toward the WSM.  In terms of temp stability, it is simply far more reliable.

Now, as you said, we can get 6-8 hours from a PRO-Q with no problem, by making tweaks (some of which you listed like rasing the basket an inch).  Frankly, that aint bad unattended time for an affordable cooker!    The point is, (again, personal opinion here)  a PRO Q is way more stable than a horizontal charbroil .... but a WSM is way more stable than a proQ.

By the way ... I also have plenty of experience with the 18 vs 22 WSM.  You could continue down the continuum and say the 18 is more "stable" than the 22.      Would I trade make an even trade of my 22 for an 18, not a chance - it is the perfect compromise IMO!
#4 - February 29, 2012, 12:26:54 pm
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Mike P in Tucson

  • Karma: 7
I have an Excel 20 and I love it.  I have cooked on a WSM and would stick with the ProQ anyway.  The WSM is a bit stingier with charcoal, but I love the flexibility of the ProQ stackers, with their thermometer eyelets.

I have had no problem at all getting the Excel 20 up to 250 to 260, using one stacker.  And, unattended, it holds that temperature for over 8 hours with a fully loaded charcoal basket.  Also have had no problems with ash buildup and I have not raised the charcoal basket.  I have run it at 280, using a BBQ Guru pit minder, and it still burns for over 6 hours on one charcoal load.

How are you measuring the temperature?  Not with the lid thermometer, I hope. 
#5 - February 29, 2012, 01:36:44 pm
all time series records with asu (as of 12/1/2012)

football: 47-38-1 arizona
basketball: 142-80 arizona
baseball: 237-203-1 arizona

AzJohnnyC

  • Karma: 2
When you want to unload that Pro Q, let me know.
#6 - February 29, 2012, 06:15:18 pm
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Twin Pro Q Excel 20s
Lang 84 Deluxe

catfish charlie

  • Karma: 0
I have an Excel 20 and I love it.  I have cooked on a WSM and would stick with the ProQ anyway.  The WSM is a bit stingier with charcoal, but I love the flexibility of the ProQ stackers, with their thermometer eyelets.

I have had no problem at all getting the Excel 20 up to 250 to 260, using one stacker.  And, unattended, it holds that temperature for over 8 hours with a fully loaded charcoal basket.  Also have had no problems with ash buildup and I have not raised the charcoal basket.  I have run it at 280, using a BBQ Guru pit minder, and it still burns for over 6 hours on one charcoal load.

How are you measuring the temperature?  Not with the lid thermometer, I hope.  

The longest unattended time I ever got with a Pro-Q might have been 3 hours, then the constant fiddling just to keep temp over 200.  Temperatures measured right below the rack using Maverick ET-73.

I always had the feeling that the stacker sections and access doors had a lot of looseness that was causing heat loss, but the bottom line was I just didn't seem to have coals that wanted to stay lit, whether it was ashes blocking the air inlet, or some other factor.  I wondered if there was a trick to arranging the coals / unlit briquettes that I wasn't aware of, but having used that smoker probably 15 times the experience I got wasn't bringing any ground breaking improvements.
#7 - February 29, 2012, 07:12:30 pm
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 07:22:10 pm by catfish charlie »
2009 Pro-Q Excel 20
2010 Traeger XL
2011 Traeger XL converted to mobile unit!
2012 WSM or UDS with Stoker?

Mike P in Tucson

  • Karma: 7
That really baffles me, because I haven't experienced anything like that.  Where are you located?  I am in Tucson, and if you are down in this area, I would be happy to get together with you to see if we can figure things out.
#8 - February 29, 2012, 07:28:45 pm
all time series records with asu (as of 12/1/2012)

football: 47-38-1 arizona
basketball: 142-80 arizona
baseball: 237-203-1 arizona

catfish charlie

  • Karma: 0
When you want to unload that Pro Q, let me know.

I have a brand new never used one I'd love to sell, but I live in Michigan.  I bought the 2nd unit to use the stackers for extra capacity, and before every getting around to using it my friend introduced me to pellet smokers which solved my first problem and gave me "hands off" smoking capability.  Only problem is pellet grills don't give the same smoke flavor as conventional grills, so now I'm back to looking at a WSM or UDS with BBQ Guru or Rock's Stoker to get the "hands free" operation I want.  

On one hand I think maybe I should try the Stoker with the Pro-Q, but I guess I just have little faith in it.  When I got the pellet grill I gave away my original Pro-Q, so now I'd risk using the new one, when I'd much rather sell it and take my chances with the WSM or UDS
#9 - February 29, 2012, 07:29:25 pm
2009 Pro-Q Excel 20
2010 Traeger XL
2011 Traeger XL converted to mobile unit!
2012 WSM or UDS with Stoker?

catfish charlie

  • Karma: 0
sorry, tried to delete this post
#10 - February 29, 2012, 07:31:53 pm
« Last Edit: February 29, 2012, 07:36:36 pm by catfish charlie »
2009 Pro-Q Excel 20
2010 Traeger XL
2011 Traeger XL converted to mobile unit!
2012 WSM or UDS with Stoker?

catfish charlie

  • Karma: 0
That really baffles me, because I haven't experienced anything like that.  Where are you located?  I am in Tucson, and if you are down in this area, I would be happy to get together with you to see if we can figure things out.

Appreciate the offer Mike, but I'm in MoTown.  In fairness, I probably should say that much of the time I used the Pro-Q was Fall and even Winter, with cold outdoor temperatures - never used it thru a full summer.  Maybe that was part of the issue?
#11 - February 29, 2012, 07:34:14 pm
2009 Pro-Q Excel 20
2010 Traeger XL
2011 Traeger XL converted to mobile unit!
2012 WSM or UDS with Stoker?

Bam Bam

  • Karma: 7
I have a pro Q is my garage and honestly I don't see why people like them as much as they do. WSM all day for me. Not to mention, you have an excellent company behind it. If you have ANY issues with your WSM, Weber bends over backwards to fix the issue.
#12 - February 29, 2012, 08:34:19 pm
Cooking on 2 WSM's 22.5's W/BBQ Guru DigiQ

Crash

  • Karma: 19
I've had little experience with the Pro Q E20s.  I absolutely love them.  It did take us a little playing with to perfect them, but it really wasn't that hard.  

I have 4 Pro Q E 20's and one 18" WSM.  I still have yet to use the WSM in the past 2 years.  I'd much rather cook on the E 20 than any WSM, but that's probably just because I now know exactly how to use it.  

I think both the WSM and the Pro Q E 20 have a fairly solid fan base.  It really just comes down to your preference and learning how to control your fire/fuel.  I'd strongly suggest learning to manually control your temps before going to a draft control system.

Oh yeah, you didnt mention this (or maybe I missed it).  Fuel Source?  Fuel type?  Amount of fuel?  How many stackers are you using for a cook?  Water in the water pan?  

The answers to these questions might allow us to help you out.  
#13 - February 29, 2012, 11:21:15 pm
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catfish charlie

  • Karma: 0
I've had little experience with the Pro Q E20s.  I absolutely love them.  It did take us a little playing with to perfect them, but it really wasn't that hard.  

I have 4 Pro Q E 20's and one 18" WSM.  I still have yet to use the WSM in the past 2 years.  I'd much rather cook on the E 20 than any WSM, but that's probably just because I now know exactly how to use it.  

I think both the WSM and the Pro Q E 20 have a fairly solid fan base.  It really just comes down to your preference and learning how to control your fire/fuel.  I'd strongly suggest learning to manually control your temps before going to a draft control system.

Oh yeah, you didnt mention this (or maybe I missed it).  Fuel Source?  Fuel type?  Amount of fuel?  How many stackers are you using for a cook?  Water in the water pan?  

The answers to these questions might allow us to help you out.  


I always used a water pan with both stackers that came with the unit.  Used regular Kingsford charcoal briquettes.  Filled the basket to the top with a bit of a hole in the middle, where I'd pour a full chimney of lit coals.  Not sure what you mean by fuel source.
#14 - March 01, 2012, 04:03:36 am
2009 Pro-Q Excel 20
2010 Traeger XL
2011 Traeger XL converted to mobile unit!
2012 WSM or UDS with Stoker?

bucaguy

  • Karma: 4
I am a Pro Q guy as well.. I had a Crash hand me down ;D

She is a very good cooker but you have to play with it a bit.. Things I found using the Q to help the temp.. No water in the water pan! and I started using 6#'s of Lava rocks.. That help out more then you would believe. I was running a lot over night in AZ in the fall and I could get 8-10 hours at 235-255 with now problem at all and that was using 3 Stackers.. It just takes time to get it dialed in.
#15 - March 01, 2012, 05:41:51 am
Owner of Sin Bin BBQ and Member of Fat Man Que bbq team
Just some big heavy offset right now.

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