I purchased the Master Forge Smoker after reading tons of reviews and driving all over looking at all the brands of units available at the local chain stores.
Bang for the buck, This smoker is the best! Packing alone was high quality, everything wrapped, standardized bolts, logical build order, complex parts preassembled, clean surfaces, good welds, even the outer box had shipping straps!
This is a solid unit and the complaints about the doors leaking smoke is not a problem. I used a plastic paint brush handle to pry the door lips square and also used a small wood block and a hammer to tap out the edges around the openings. The bar that crossed between the top and bottom door was pressed in and was causing a large gap. I used my hand to pull it out and worked around the edges and was able to make a nice fit for both doors. Seems they bent the sheet metal edges in a bit too far during manufacturing. One other thing is when you tighen the door handle locks slide them all the way back in the slots to make the doors get pulled tight when the handles are in the lock down position.
I took the thermometer and put it in a small stainless steel bowl and placed it into my home oven. The bowl was so I could see through the window of my oven the face of the meter. My oven is a newer model with digital settings and so I set the oven to 220 degrees and waited for it to beep that the temp was achieved. After about 20 minutes the thermometer was reading about 50 degrees high. So I removed the unit and once it cooled I took a wrench and unbolted the nut on the sensor and removed the thermo from the black metal holder. (dont need to loosen the two black bolts on the housing) Once I removed the meter, I used a small screwdriver and bent the tabs on the shiny metal housing and carefully removed the bezel and exposed the face of the thermometer and needle indicator.
I then used my finger to gently pull the needle backward about 1/4 to 1/2 around. The thermometer is made from a bi-metal coil. I did this several times until the needle would rest farther back from it's original resting point. I reassembled the unit and bent the tabs back down and put the nut back on the housing and returned to the kitchen and placed the assembly back into the oven. I set the temp to 220 and waited. This time the meter read about 10 degrees higher at 230. Close enough for me and I did not want to re-twist the needle again and risk any more the possible breaking of the unit. Now if I am cooking anywhere between 220 to 250 I am happy, it's not that critical.
So now I am all set and after breaking in the unit , I cooked my first Pork butt. Be sure to line your water bowl with foil and make some wings so you get better coverage from the drippings.
I used the cowboy hickory chips sold at lowes and they worked perfectly after a good soak pour off the water and let them dry a bit. I like smoke flavor but I want to taste the meat too, so when my chips cook out after about 4 hours I don't add any more, even the owners manual says the smoke flavor sets in the meat in the first two hours. I like to add a small stainless bowel with apple cider vinegar on the low rack to add a little twang to the pork. I also dont like mixing meats, I like to cook pork with pork, beef with beef. It's not just smoke your making, it''s moist heat, low and slow. This cooker sure beats my old charcoal unit by a mile.
As you can tell , I am very happy with this smoker!!