I recently purchased a Master Forger charcoal vertical smoker from Lowes. I did a bit of research and purchased all my necessities, but my first run has been less than stellar. I used the minion method and have failed to exceed 200 degrees on either the top (factory) gauge or an additional I placed near the lower rack. In addition, I sealed around the door with with red RTV silicone and silicone weather stripping. There is minimal lose from around the door and lid, but I have hung steady around the 150-175 marks on i both gauges?! I suppose the one at the top could be less than 100% accurate, but my lower seems to correlate well.
I have watched several videos and read several posts about modifications. Adding a vent at the top and multiple by the bottom to adjust air flow, also adding a charcoal grate to lift and prevent it from dampening itself. However, I guess I am surprised that the product as it stands isn't at least functioning adequately pre-modification. Any thoughts, suggestions? I have ordered 3 weber air dampers and will be getting them in on friday. I had planned on placing one on the top and two on opposite sides leveled with the coals. I have read people talking about having difficulty controlling temperatures over 300, so I can't fathom why I am barely attaining half of that. PLEASE help a man get some heat!