hey, jim - i got into this one late, but what gnu bee and fm cowboy said is pretty much the same as my experience. the thing to keep in mind with the big/little chiefs is that they are not designed for hot/moist smoke cooking of foods like we usually think of here at the SMF - they are very good at what they are designed for, which is smoking fish, jerky, sausages, cheese, nuts etc. i have successfully cmoked these foods with better results than any other method using my chief smokers, especially jerky and cheese.
for smoke flavoring of many, many other meats and other foods, they work well for what they are designed for, which is not smoke-cooking them. before i discovered this site, i threw some plain-ol' pork chops in the little chief with a little bit of apple smoke, then pan-fried them - some of the best pork chops i've ever eaten in my life! having said that, make no mistake that they are not designed to smoke-cook pork chops or much of anything else as we traditionaly think of here. i imagine they would work well for bacon and other cool/cold smoking, but have never really tried them for that kind of smoking.
as far as temperature control goes, they are powered by a single element that is non-adjustable. you can make it run warmer by insulating it. i use the box, in defiance of the safety warnings, and geet very warm and consistent temperatures this way when i want them. a person can also buy/improvise an insulating blanket or fashion an insulating box from ceiling tiles. the big culprit is wind, but when tempsa re cold, this line of smokers seem a bit wimpy in comparison to many others.
having said THAT, the best cheese i've smoked has been with my little chief at about 27 below zero!
bottom line is as i stated above - if you are interested in what it is designed for, the chief smokers work great - if you are interested in smoke cooking, stick with what you have.
i do have the instructions/recipe book for the chief smokers and if you'd like, i can email it to you in .pdf form. simply pm your email address to me - if nothing else, it is worth the read as it will better explain the functions of the unit.