Gentlemen (and some ladies perhaps?),
I have been reading the reviews of various smokers - I want to get one for my husband for our anniversary. He loves to grill and has faithfully used his little charcoal Weber for 10 years now. As someone who loves BBQ (esp. the Texan kind), I think he would love a smoker. He is all about the details when he grills and he sincerely appreciates meat (and he's a metallurgist, so I know he would appreciate the super thick gauge varieties, but I can't swallow the price that comes along with them).
Based on the rankings on this forum, I checked out the Char-Griller Smokin' Pro on amazon. The one I found on amazon is model 1224, comes with the side firebox, has 580 square inches of main cooking space (extra 250 w/ grate on firebox) and has cast iron grates. Price $217.49.
There is also a Char-Griller Outlaw (model 2137) with 725 sqin of main cooking space, cast iron grates, and advertised as "air-tight." Adding on the firebox, total price about $265.
Does anyone have the Outlaw - it seems for $50 more it might be worth it to have more space and an "air-tight" lid?? Is this a true claim? Just wondering if anyone can recommend one over the other.
Also, is it standard practice that these things arrive all beat to heck? The reviews on amazon are a little scary for damaged parts, lousy assembly instructions, mismatched holes, missing parts.... my husband is a very handy guy, but still I don't want to get him something that shows up as junk and has to be custom built from the outset.
Thank you all for any input you may have. I am the "inside" cook so researching these things has definitely been like learning a new language!