"I saw that too... great instructable. He had a few good ideas on design change too. Not sure I'm sold on using aluminum where he did though. Wish he was on here so we could get a report after a few smokes."
It's me. :)
So I stumbled across this forum just trying to see what kind of traffic the 'ible had been getting. Prior to this, I hadn't realized a "smoking meat forums" existed! So this is officially my first post.
So the smoker has made it through the first summer (and weathered it quite well, in fact). This weekend we're supposed to be getting close to 60 and sunny here in Virginia, so I'll be throwing a couple chickens and pork picnics in it on Saturday.
After building the smoker, I literally used it *every single weekend* for about four months, and about every other weekend after that until the weather quit cooperating.
After it seasoned up well, the end results are phenomenal. I've not had any problems from the heat (I was worried about how well the aluminum would hold up myself) though if I were to tear it down to make some changes, there's two major things I'd do differently:
1.) Spend the money for the fiberglass rope door seal on both the top and bottom. Over time, the silicone becomes brittle and starts to deteriorate. Now, I have some rebar propped up against the lower door to keep it shut tight, and I still use the clamps on the upper door.
2.) I would absolutely spend more time getting a better seal on the flue that connects the two barrels. The half-assed job I did before leaks like a sieve.
Also, despite what I say in the 'ible, I've come to love the Kingsford Mesquite Charcoal. It's just easier to regulate temperature and burn time than trying to use raw chunk charcoal, even if it feels like cheating. Also, don't bother trying to use raw wood. I did, and ruined everything I put in there...
I also will wrap some mesquite and hickory chips in heavy-duty aluminum foil and put them just close enough to the charcoal bin that they'll turn to charcoal themselves without melting the aluminum.
Thanks for the compliments! I can vouch for the functionality of it!