Yes, there are still hot and cold spots, but they are greatly diminished compared to the basic design of the firebox on one end the chimney at the other. With a basic design, the heat enters the main chamber, and like heat does, it wants to rise. Thus it travels across the smoker and out the chimney. With the offset, the heat rolls under a steel floor, the heavier the better, and thus cooks by convection so to speak. The heat absorbed by the steel floor radiates up towards the items being smoked, plus, the thicker the steel, within reason, will give you faster recovery times when you open the doors. Combine that with the heat that goes by the plate and back around (reverse) into main chamber, this makes for well rounded heating, but not perfect. You would have the same problems with the design of the firebox behind as you would on the side. Meaning, if you had one chimney on one side of the smoker, the heat would naturally gravitate towards that end, leaving the opposite end cooler. Same thing if the chimney were in the center, the heat would go towards the chimney, thus leaving each end cooler. Knowing the cool and hot spots on any smoker is the real key if you ask me. Just like a professional grill in a steakhouse, they have cold spot and hot spots, and a good cook will know where they are and how to use them. Putting a larger chuck of meat on the hotter area and smaller cuts on the cooler areas can help in getting everything done at the same time to close to it.
Am I an exert at this? Far from it, but I did stay at a Holiday Inn express last night
Hope I did not confuse you in anyway, if so, let me know.
Not to toot my own horn or anything, but here is a link to the one I built this year. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...t=75075&page=5
Also, for some ideas, you may want to check out BBQ Engineers build. An insulated model. Very sweet.