Hi Thumper! I bought the Cimmaron Deluxe from Bass Pro Shops last year for $550, thought I was getting a great deal. This was my first ever smoker, I've used hibachis and a Weber kettle for years, mostly grilling, but a little smoking in the Weber. I have only used the Cimmaron for smoking, so here's my take:
1. Made of 1/4 inch steel, retains heat well
2. Kinda cool looking wheels, though I never move it around
1. Smallish cooking area. 2 racks of spares laying flat and theirs skirt meat fill it. I have to remove the grates to use my ribrack. If I sit it on the grates the lid won't close. Even then I can only load 4 racks at a time. And I love ribs.
2. Temperature variation, 150 degree difference from side to side. Looks like I'll be making tuning plates, see thread I started the other day in charcoal smoker section. Their website claims that it has a "unique convection system in cooking chamber to distribute heat evenly". Apparently this consists of an under sized baffle by the firebox and air, because there's nothing else in the cooking chamber but the grates.
3. The fryer/burner attachment appears to have been welded up by drunken howler monkeys. None of the radii pieces that the pot would sit on are in the same plane, so a pot rocks like crazy. I wouldn't dare put a pot of hot oil on it. I need to write them letter, I think. Or maybe I'll just weld
up a new one myself, it's not that complicated and I'd know it was straight.
I reckon once I modify it a bit it'll be a good little smoker, but it's still going to be small. And for the price, I didn't think I'd have to make a bunch of mods to make it do what it's supposed to. I would look at some of the other options out there real hard. I think you can spend about half the money for a comparable unit (although it won't be 1/4 inch steel) make some mods and still have a couple hundred bucks to put towards grub.