So, after looking around for a couple of months and reading through hundreds of threads here and other places I decided on a vertical trailmaster from Brinkmann. I wanted to stay to a pretty slim budget, and seriously considered the small WSM, but I really wanted a stick burner. I'm not going to be cooking for parties, it's just my family (and my wife is convinced that anytime I make anything in the smoker she'll need to eat out) so the small cooking footprint of this smoker is a benefit.
I told my wife that I wanted the smoker for my birthday, and even though she wants nothing to do with it this is what I found in the garage when I came home from work yesterday:
I'm psyched! I pulled everything out to see just how bad it was going to be (some of the feedback on the Brinkmann trailmasters show that they can be a little sloppy) and I have to say it's not as bad as I expected. A couple of minor dings and dents (some screws worked out in shipping and the packing leaves a lot to be desired) but no deal breakers and everything seems to fit together pretty well.
I've already sent emails to Justin at BBQ Gaskets (I can't leave a link but you can google it) and I'll be picking up one of their gasket kits and some door latches from them. Great customer service there, BTW, they don't see many of the verticals but he is completely flexible, willing to help and has great advice. I would definitely recommend them.
I'll be making an expanded steel burning bin for the firebox (already checked out the 3/4" expanded steel sheets at Home Depot), and I'm considering putting in an upper air inlet with a damper on the SFB for better air / smoke control, found these air controls on line
I'm not a welder, but I'm pretty handy and I'm sure I can get one of these in without too much trouble. Any opinions from the crew here?
I'll be putting it together over the next couple of weeks, my weekends out going to be tied up for awhile so I won't get much time on it right away, but I'm planning on posting my progress as I get her together. Stay tuned!