Well I finally bit the bullet and ordered up a serious piece of equipment- I'll miss my old Vertical propane smoker and the DDS that I built, but holy smokes is this thing awesome!! I called up Mark from Patriot BBQ about putting something a little smaller than his normal 36 or 48" model, and wanted to add a grill on top of the firebox- Mark was super accommodating, and just over three weeks later, he delivered my Colorado built custom reverse flow BBQ!
First: Build quality
The reason that I went with these guys is I saw one of their units locally here, and it even impressed the wife! 3/8" thick rolled steel on the main body, and 1/4" thick firebox. Super clean welds, and includes steel wheels, commercial ball valve for the drain, and well thought out and balanced on all angles- can't tell you what this thing weighs, but gotta be 400lbs plus when we were rolling it off the trailer! All in all, super build quality- plenty of coats of paint, and a gorgeous piece in the backyard.
Second: Reverse flow
I did a bunch of research on different types of smokers- almost went with a Backwoods party instead because of fuel efficiency and insulation, but wanted the real stick burning version instead, and wanted something that was still efficient with even cooking temps across the chamber- I've been incredibly impressed with it- still a little warmer across the firebox side, but overall it keeps and maintains temps really well, gotta love the thermal mass! The other big advantage I've found with the reverse flow is it's almost like having a convection oven- the heat/smoke really moves through the chamber quickly- that hot air movement has cut my times down by probably 20%, and that's maintaining 225 or thereabouts the entire time- cut my brisket down to 8 hours last time!
Third: The important stuff: Results!
So far I've done ABT's, brisket, Pork butt, st louis, baby back, country style ribs, couple of chickens, some mushrooms, and some stuff I'm probably forgetting still, but i've put this dude through it's paces now, and it has turned out some seriously tasty Q- as I mentioned it cooks a bit fast, and you have to burn some wood in it to keep it going, but with charcoal for my base of coals and some good
quality splits, she hums right along- keep it 10-20% open on the firebox damper and once she settles in, kicks off some nice TBS.
Here's some pics for review!