I finally got around to tearing down and rebuilding the Brinkmann Trailmaster that I got from Home Depot. It was the last one left and had been assembled incorrectly so they gave me a discount on it. I had been eyeing them, trying to decide between one and a WSM before they ran out of stock and after haggling with the manager about the quality of assembly we had a deal and I could not say no.
Rebuilding ended up being not as bad as I thought and the process went fairly quickly, taking about an hour. The legs were a little wonky as the mounting flange plates were not well aligned in the fabrication process which was a problem since they are pretty thick, but my impact driver made short work of getting the assembly straight and tight. Broke the firebox down and sealed the seams with Rutland's high temp RTV, as well as all the bolt holes and joints between the smoke chamber and firebox and chimney.
Cured it yesterday morning and then in the afternoon I threw on a slew of chicken legs rubbed with Szeged chicken rub and tossed a few chunks of apple wood in the firebox with the burning hardwood and an hour or two later I had my first meal off her. I'm quite gleeful of her 18"x41" smoke chamber...should accommodate pretty much anything I want to throw on her for he foreseeable future.
I have to say I'm pretty pleased. She hold's heat well and is easy to control and responsive. The stock thermometer, appears accurate but 50 degrees above grate temps, no doubt from the short probe. There is a bit of smoke that escapes from the main door but the fit is as tight as one could expect and it's not worth doing anything about it as it is pretty minor. I'll eventually get around to the obligatory SFB mods starting with the firebox basket. If I have one complaint it is that he firebox door is on the smaller side and that will limit the size of the basket I can wrangle in there.
For the money I think this is a great value. I got mine for $200 but even at the MSRP of $299, after using it, I think you can't beat it. It is 1/8" steel and a very solid piece of equipment.
Interestingly, I think this product is the direct descendent of the Oklahoma Joe's Longhorn smoker (http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/products/oklahoma-joes-longhorn-smoker). They sold a version at Sam's Club for a bit, then sold out to New Braunfel which in turn as I understand it sold out to Brinkmann.
Funny thing is they have a serial number on each to highlight that it s a limited edition, but mine is something like #009521 which means they have room to go up to 99,999, lol. Also on the plate it says "For Outside Use Only" which I found pretty entertaining.
Next time I cook on her I'll post some pictures...