First, let me tell you how nice it was to meet Paul, Tyler, and Cody when I went to pick it up. By far some of the most polite, funny, and good hearted people I met it a long time! Paul was a pleasure to deal with when placing my order, he put up with all my changes/additions to it, and returned/responded to emails and phone calls within an hour. He made sure I got exactly what I wanted when the day came for it to be constructed (By Tyler mind you, Paul was of course sitting on his butt making his son do all the work I'm sure ) Just kidding Paul!....maybe....
The smoker pulled like a dream going 75mph all the way from GA to MN, and the only way I knew it was back there was when I looked in the mirror. Paul said she weighs somewhere in the neighborhood of 2400 lbs, I would never have guessed that from towing it. The blue (Old Glory Blue) sample I sent Paul for the trailer was matched perfectly, and he was able to incorporate a piece of an Apache that I sent him. She has a 3/8" CC and FB, with a 1/4" cabinet. EVERY weld looks awesome, I can take a pic of any one of them to prove it if someone wishes to see. Ty truly crafted a masterpiece!
I sprayed her down with Pam and fired her up using about 1/2 bag of charcoal and some splits of oak. She came up to ~300* in about 50 min. Now I am new to a RF cooker, this was my first time using one by myself, so it took a while to get her dialed in to have even temps. I finally got the bottom grate within 3* of the firebox side vs the left side. The top rack was about 20* hotter than the bottom rack, but still within 10* of the right and left side. Not sure if this is how they run, or if it was just the way I had her angled. Either way, I love it! She held those temps even for about 40 min, where I would throw another split on. I was so used to checking on my ol Brinkmann every 15 min to maintain temps, this one always read the same number! Such a difference. Plus, I was able to warm splits in the warming cabinet, which they lit within seconds of tossing them on the fire...not used to that either!
Overall, I couldn't be more happy with my experience with Shirley Fabrication. For the quality and size of a cooker I got, coupled with how much it cost, it was such a deal. I realize I am biased, but I would recommend one of these to anyone.
I was hoping to cook something today, but all I had was 4 hours, and I wanted to give her a good seasoning. Plus I needed to mess around and see what temp she likes to run at (250-275 seems to be the easiest to maintain), any hot/cold spots, etc. Hopefully I can cook next weekend, I'll be traveling this week and won't have time to...boo...Here are some pics for now.
Edit: Since I don't know how to put text between the pics, or have the pics actually show, I'll just describe them. The one with the stacks shows the pitch-change link from an Apache tail rotor that was cut in half to make the stack exhaust handles. The pic with the digital thermo was me comparing the bottom left with it at 241, and the bottom right reads 238* (hard to see though, I didn't have any more slack in the wire). The others are just randos of it.
Thanks for looking and Happy Easter!!!