I have had the Wrangler since June of last year. I bought it to replace my thin rusted out Char King.
It took me a while to get it tuned in for me. I agree with a lot of what has been said in this thread. The fire needs to be build near the door, using lump charcoal as the base and throwing one split-split on at a time. The first I built a basket which seems to work the best. I load it with cold charcoal, drop hot coals on top and add already burning split. When adding future splits, I Keep open the door until the split is burning well (Always pre-warming the splits on top of the firebox. I have learned that you need to work with the wind or keep it out of the wind entirely. Wind blowing from the stack side drives my temps down.
I have made the following Mods:
- Pulled door apart and cleaned up the cuts. I added a spring and wing nut to keep the vent tight. I also added a bead of weld on my latch to keep the door closed tight.
- Added 5 tuning plates, the first two are tight together, the third spaced 1/2", the forth spaced 1", and the 5th about 1-1/2" space. I may have been able to get by with 4, but I bought enough metal to cut 5.
-Removed the grate/pan from the bottom of the fire box, I put 2" tube steel in to set my basket on.
-Added 6 fire bricks to help with temp control in the smoking chamber (I also use 3 small water pans on top of the tuning plates.
-Added gasket material & high temp sealant to the fire box and smoke chamber.
-Welded on masonry split nails to allow me to hang my tools on the unit.
-Finally I scuff sanded and sprayed the entire unit with Header paint (IMHO better than high temp paint).
My next mod will be to build a rack to either hang or fasten to the handle to hold items and maybe a table attachment since the table on the front is way to small.
I recently smoked some cheese (my first attempt) I took a coffee can, drilled 12 1/4" holes in the sides and bottom. I bought a Soldering iron, and inserted it into one of the holes. I added chips and turned the iron on. Within 10 minutes I had nice TBS and held the temp at 90 degrees. I smoked the cheese for 2 hours. I tried some when I pulled it, I was upset as it was very bitter. Thinking I had just ruined 6lbs of cheese (yes a bit much for my first time, but hey...go big or go home). I decided to tightly wrap it (as recommended on a few other websites) and put it in the fridge. After two weeks the bitter taste was gone and was better than any store bought smoked cheese I had ever had (confirmed by others). I did learn however that Cheddar does not take on much smoke flavor and would not use it again.
Since buying the smoker I have smoked: Eggs, Mac & Cheese, Pork Shoulder, Pork Tenderloin, Ham, Ribs, Turkey, Turkey breast, Chickens, Brisket, Sausage & Cheese.
While it requires a bit a few mods, for the price if you have the proper tools you can turn the Wrangler into a great smoker.