I bought one of these last weekend. It is able to maintain heat really well. It gets up to around 300 on high and it is easy to back it down to 200-225, but getting the smoke to show up is a little more difficult, especially at the lower temperatures. Chunks placed directly on the lava rocks will begin to smoke, but this makes a mess and there is limited space between the element, which you're not supposed to touch. I did modify a pie pan to sit directly above the element on some stainless screws, but it is still a little inconsistent. Beer can chicken I made was amazing, but a pork butt at lower temperatures wasn't as smokey as I would have liked. Like anything else, I think you have to learn your smoker and fiddle with it until you figure it out. I would take any advice as well. The person who assembled and approved the instructions should be found and beaten. As usual, I assume lawyers were involved.