I'm an intermediate level smoker. I started with a Brinkman Smokin' Pit with a modification of a heat shield between the wood box and the smoking chamber. Did OK with that for about 8 years, mostly chicken and ribs. I enjoyed the ritual of using block charcoal and wood chunks to keep the heat and smoke coming, but to be honest it was a ton of work, particularly when temperatures dropped in the fall (almost impossible to keep an even temp below about 45F outside) and so I only smoked a couple times each year, and in large volumes. In more recent years I committed a minor crime in just using the 'Pit to get some smoke into the meat and then finished in the oven. I could see the way I was heading, got past my high aspirations, and just got a Masterbuilt 30" SS with the window and remote. I know its lazy Q, but I can live with that, and still hope to haul out my 'Pit every now and then for the full ritual. Love the little Masterbuilt and hope it will increase my smokin and experimenting. I can also report that, despite what people claim, the window actually works pretty darn good, particularly for people like me who were always tempted to take a peak. If you clean it with a scotch brite it stays useable and if you are producing the proper smoke there is plenty to see in there.
Mike from Maine