Wanted to bring an update to this build. It has been over 6 months now since I took on this build. The build is for the most part finished but it always has room for possible growth. The space I currently have in it, is not used to its max capacity. I rarely have a need for more capacity then the 1600+ inches of cooking space I am using now. If I want at a later point to add more racks it certainly can take them.
Now since it was finsished at the end of August I had the chance to run it in lots of different outside temperatures. The out side temps have ranged from 70 degrees down to 5 degrees during this winter. Yep I was using it when it was 5 degrees outside! I have to say it hardly mattered outside temp when running. It managed the temp setting within 5 degree of the set temperature. The temperature of 165 degree for jerkey or 375 for pizza. I have done lots of different cooks on it smoking Brisket, Turkey, Pork Butts, Jerkey, Pork Loin, Ribeye and even Pizza. The heat sheild, that is a cast iron lid for a 14 pan, works great for putting wood on for extra smoke. I often use a chunk of Oak or Maple on it for a twist on the smoke flavor. When cooking turkey or chicken I smoke at 225 degrees till I get about 170 inside temp then turn up the heat to 325 till I get 190 inside temp. You get great juicy chicken and turkey with a crispy skin. The smoker workes flawless doing this with just a push of a button.
There was a few things I had to change. One of them was the upper door seal had to be replace with a felt seal. Reason being when I cranked it up hot for the pizza the rubber seal just fell apart. If I do much more higher temp cooks I am sure I will have to replace the bottom door seal too. In the begining I had some trouble with heat creep. Meaning the temp just kept creeping higher even though the temp was set at a low setting. I solved this by adding in a second lower vent in the door. During cold weather cooking, those vents can be closed off but during warmer weather they are critical to keeping control of the temperature.
I found this smoker so easy to use now that I am doing lots of smoking of foods I rarely did in the past. It use to be just a summer thing before this smoker. Now I have to say its a smoke any weekend thing. The easy of use is compairable to using a gas grill. With a push of a button its going and within a few min its warmed up and ready for you to smoke what ever you desire.
Here was our Thanksgiving bird!