I got into smoking last year about this time and bought a Akorn Kamado. I really liked it and it made food just as good as the BGE and others out there, but I could tell that the materials were not quite as good as the BGE or Vision.
I was in Sams the other day and ran across a Vision Classic (series B) for $569. Costco had them for $399 last year but missed that steal of a deal The quality was there, even moreso than the BGE that I have looked at. So I bought it.
I did my first test smoke and the things I noticed were that it took the ceramic much longer to heat up compared to my Akorn. Once I got it up to temp it seemed to want to jump up to 250. For those who don't know there's an ash removal slider that has airflow holes cut in it and then a cover slider that's supposed to restrict airflow. Even when closed I could see where air could get behind both of the sliders because of a gap.
So here are my questions for the ceramic smokers out there:
1) I use the Weber starter cubes, so for low and slow at 230 do you typically light just one cube in one spot when using ceramic? On my Akorn I would light 2-3 cubes in various spots and then control it with the vents to 230 (although I'd have to adjust it much more than the Vision).
2) Do you fill up the fire box for a short 2-3 hour cook (say for chicken)? The Akorn didn't matter how much charcoal I use. But it seemed that the Vision wanted to go higher and stay there.
2) If cooking a butt, for instance, at 230, how do you peg it at 230 without going over? What's your process? My Akorn was a little more temperature responsive so it didn't matter, I could always bring it down fairly quickly. What's your process for stopping it at 230 without going over..for instance, let it slowly build to 200 with the grates open and then shut it down to let it yoyo to 230?
I'm sure I'll have more but will stop there.