I searched for a Pecos owner's thread but found only one, and that was mostly about temp issues and other grills. Since I had a few folks at Academy Sports tell me that the Pecos is their number one seller by far, I thought I'd start a thread on them to see what mods other owners have done and usage tips, etc.
I got mine about a month ago after about 10 years on an old, trusty Brinkmann Smoke'N'Pit Professional. That old thing had to be built in the USA because it was very stout. It would hold temp pretty well and I had her tuned to about 275 degrees every time (according to the lid mounted thermometer...more on that later) She developed a small hole in the firebox about 6 months ago and it just grew to the point of no return. Rather than weld over the hole, I started shopping for a new smoker. As most of you know, that can be a frustrating chore. My dilemma was that I wanted a better quality smoker, not made in China, not made from a propane tank (because my wife hated the way they look) and since I only smoke about once or twice a month...I wanted it to be affordable.
So after about 6 months of shopping, research and loitering around here (a superb resource, BTW), I got my Pecos.
I have smoked twice so far and here are some of my initial impressions:
-It's very easy to get it up to temp with charcoal followed by splits...the hard part has been keeping the temp stable. I switched my old stick lid thermometer over from my Brinkmann and just torched my first racks of St Louis ribs. They tasted great, but they were way overdone. After I ordered the Maverick and tested the temp I found out why. At 200 degrees the lid thermo was 100% accurate. At 275 degrees, it was off by 50 degrees. So, I was making bony, charcoal tasting pork jerky. The second effort worked out much better after I tossed the old lid thermo and went with the Maverick.
-I used the included firebox charcoal support shelf as a makeshift tuning plate and it seems to fit and work very well, but more testing is needed. I used an old grate from a weber hibachi as my new coal support. I decided to keep my upper grate just in case.
-This grill leaks a bit around the lid, but I get the feeling that after a few more smokes, that won't be much of a problem...we'll see.
-I don't ever clean my smoker because it just seems like it gets seasoned just right, despite recommendations from manufacturers like Lang. I would love to hear if everybody else cleans their smoker's grates while hot. I've heard arguments both ways on that.
-Finally, when I bought mine I was allowed to step into the store warehouse to pick from several grills on pallets and got one that looked especially tight. If you go to buy one I would suggest you ask if they have any in the back, because the one on the floor was scratched up and bent.