It is well designed and rugged and I am generally happy with it. Unfortunately, a thermometer is optional equipment and Home Depot didn't have one in stock. I expected the offset smoker to be much easier than the fairly complicated indirect setup of a kettle grill. I am finding it a little tricky (I have only used it once). The biggest problem is knowing and controlling the temperature.
I am used to being able to hold my hand over the grill to estimate the temperature. When I tried that with this smoker, there was a substantial difference between the end near the firebox and the far end. The far end felt almost unheated. I am assuming this is at least partly due to all the hot air going up before it gets to the far end when I open the lid to check the temperature. Is there a better way to do this short of finding a thermometer that fits in the hole?
Also, my meat seemed to cook much faster than I expected. I assumed this means I was running it too hot and am hoping that if I close the baffles a bit more next time there will be more uniform temperature if the fire isn't as hot. Does this seem reasonable?
Thanks for any suggestions on how to use this new smoker,