Hi there... Thanks! Yea they really are effective mods (all of them). Good tip on the thermometer! I will keep that in mind if it ever becomes an issue. As it is right now, it is "spot on". Just a little slow. One thing... If you do decide to build the "wind skirt". Consider whether or not use use it out in the yard or on concrete. I use mine out in the yard, so I made the skirt 1 inch off the ground. If you are using it on concrete, you will want to make the skirt go all the way to the bottom.
I don't see any problem with drilling some holes for your probes? The holes would be really small. So, not a significant loss of heat or smoke. Plus you could use little bits of paper towel to plug them if you needed. Are they not long enough to run through the chimney? That is where I run mine.
After I cut my water pan I never had any problems in the bottom of the smoker ever again. There are some of the pics of my mods in this thread:
Yes! You would be correct! I still use the factory wood chip tray for "hot smoking". I only use the Cold Smoke Generator for "cold smoking" Cheese and Veggies. I have never had any issues with getting the wood chip tray hot. I run the thing on high for the first 15 minutes before loading, to warm everything up. This gets those wood chips going. I also do not use chips. I buy the big bags of "chunks" and split them into 1/2 inch slivers. I also only smoke for the first 1 to 1.5 hours ans that is all. I think most people tend to "over smoke". Even after the chunks have turned black and visibly quit smoking.... They are still smoking, you just cannot see it, the smell is definitely there. I have read where some folks have drilled new holes to lower the chip tray rack up to 1 inch, to get the tray closer to the flame. Maybe that is an option for you? If you do that, I would start at 1/2 inch and move down from there.
I can measure my distance from the top of the burner to the bottom of the chip tray. Maybe yours has a discrepancy there? These things are made in China, so I imagine things like this are a little different on all of them....
Lastly I live near Sebastian, so I make a trip to Petty's in Melbourne for meats. It is an awesome meat market. Lots of stuff in there! Very interesting place. I have seen one in Ft. Pierce up on U.S. 1 just South of that huge Marine Liquidators place. I plan to drop in there this week and have a look. Cant think of the name. It looks like a "real meat market" from the road. We are selling our house and moving down to Stuart sometime this year. So, I need to find a good one down there!