Am I going to let two badly fabbed units and no response to my last post slow me down? Naw. I picked up a third version of this same smoker from Lowe's yesterday and it was perfect right out of the box... hooray. There were, however, two other boxes on the shelf with fork blade holes going right through the box. A third looked as though a granite slab had fallen on it. Who the hell handles these, Three Stooges Logistics Co.? LOL
I brought it home, put it together, cleaned it, and set up an easy chicken smoke with leg quarters and bone-in breast to see how this MF would perform without trashing any expensive cuts.
Filled it with a half chimney full of hot Royal Oak lump and a handful of apple chips and it quickly went to 200 and parked there for more than an hour, slowly dropping until I got another chimney ready. By then it had dropped down to 150. I probably should have used the minion method but everyone else seems to have trouble keeping temps DOWN with this smoker so I was trying to be conservative first time out. Did I mention that it was 30 degrees outside? *hits self with chimney* The chicken was delicious after 2.5 hours, a loooooong dip in the temps kept it from finishing sooner. The skin/exterior was a tad bit dry but the rest was moist, juicy and delicious.
Seems there isn't enough airflow with this guy to get temps to 225-250? Let alone higher temps for carmelizing, etc.
I'm going to do a pork tenderloin this weekend and am now researching mods to increase performance. I should note that this smoker was not my first choice, I was hankering for a WSM and almost bought one recently after my earlier bad experience with those two damaged units from Lowe's. However, after buying a new car, new computer, and new TV this last month (oh yeah, and then there was Christmas) the WSM was def NOT in the cards for me.
So this was my only affordable choice. Having said that, this unit is very solid and seems much better made than similar Brinkmann and GrillPro el-cheapos. BUT it will probably never perform to my satisfaction without being modified. First order of business is to install exhaust and intake vents to improve airflow and gain control over it... along with judicious use of stove rope to seal up some of the larger gaps where body parts join. If anyone has any ideas they've implemented on their own MF smoker or sees any holes in what I've described, please share.