Is there any way we can assign the abbreviation (KK) through the forum???
Disclaimer: I've never used a propane smoker before so I have nothing to compare it to in that regard. I'm used to an ECB electric, a Weber gas grill, Weber charcoal, and various other homegrown or purchased grilling/smoking/frying apparatus.
The bottom-line is that I like the KK. It's solid, well-built, versatile, and easy to use. I would recommend it.
Specs and stuff are on their website (http://www.kingkooker.com/detail.php?ID=157) and other places online (like http://www.amazingribs.com/BBQ_buyer...s_smokers.html) so I'll mainly keep this to my experience while breaking it in this weekend. Buyer Beware--I think KK is as guilty as most other companies in that there are "cheaper" versions of King Kookers lurking around that may or may not be of the same quality and build as the 2 on the KK website (website has a 30" high-pressure and 38" low-pressure). I got the Model# 2106 Heavy Duty Portable Propane Outdoor Smoker Package (a.k.a. King Kooker 38").
First, I guess I'll answer why I ended up going with the KK over my other final choice the GOSM 24" as it's highly rated on this forum. Mainly it was on recommendation from my dad, who already did lots of leg work shopping around last year and ended up with a KK himself (and enjoys it). I have never seen a GOSM but he was able to compare his KK with the GOSM at the store and said the KK was much heavier duty (120 pound ship weight!). Plus, it wasn't too much more $$$ over the GOSM since I would have had to ship it anyway or drive 5 hours round trip to get the GOSM from the closest Bass Pro Shop. On their website BSP claimed shipping could take 4 - 6 weeks! And it didn't hurt that KK's are out of South Louisiana (where I used to live)--though the item is clearly marked as being made in China. I know those Louisiana folks know a thing or two about propane powered cookers. I do admit that if I didn't have a little "extra" Christmas $$$ "burning" a hole in my pocket, I may have ended up going GOSM.
I ordered it Monday afternoon from the website and UPS dropped it off Thursday! So far so good! Assembly was pretty smooth even though it was dark and below freezing on the porch. A couple nuts/bolts were missing but it looked like a parts bag ripped during packaging--luckily I had spare in the garage and they give you a few extra bolts. The door was a little bent in the corner where it looked like the box had been hit/dropped. I've ordered enough stuff to know all this is par for the course. And with a simple set of pliers I fixed it without issue. Otherwise packaging was sound (double boxed, lots of foam), parts bags were clearly labeled, instructions clear enough, screw holes well aligned and properly sized, and it all went together easily and with minimal cussin'.
After tightening all gas joints and checking for leaks as per instructions, I did an initial chemical burn-off at full blast for about 2.5 hours which was a good thing as it was really fumey at first. The next night I did a seasoning burn for ~3 hours after spraying the inside and all racks with PAM olive oil and using hickory and oak chips.
It comes with 4 racks (3 regular and 1 with indents for cans/marinade), 8 rack positions, and 3 sausage hanging racks (not pictured). The lower rack temp (right above water pan) tended to read a little lower (~10*) than upper rack temp. Spare ribs (and extra long fattie) had to be laid diagonally to fit, but they went in just fine. With the sliding racks it was easy to access everything. Shelves felt solid, never concerned about too much weight or instability of shelves or the unit. Thick gauge steel construction throughout. A little smoke leakage around the door but not much. Two side dampers and the one on the chimney give you additional air/temp control. The handles are "cool grip" as advertised.
I love the side access panel! It works great in that you really don't loose much heat when you open it. It has a large water pan that I re-filled about every 2.5 - 3 hours. Solid cast iron wood box holds fair amount of chunks or chips. I seemed to get more smoke out of a combo of chunks and chips but feel I still need to work on finding the sweet spot for smoke. I'm used to LOTS of smoke flavor; you might argue too much. And I figure the flavor of the box will develop the more I use it. My ECB is 10 years old after all.
My only real complaint is that temp gauge on the unit reads ~100* lower than my calibrated digital and 2 analog thermometers. While that is a lot, at least it's consistent. Dad says his is only ~25* lower. Will look into a replacement for that as it sounds like many out-of-the-box gauges are off based on what I've read here. ...except my Weber. And it's certainly not the more portable object. You can move it, but it's big and heavy.
For the first cooking session--with a nod to my south Texas roots--I went with something familiar, fairly forgiving, and cheap (though not necessarily my favorite): beef ribs. And I threw in the trimmings from the spare ribs for day 2. And some potatoes, just cause. I did the 3-2-1 rib method and they fell off the bone and were nice and juicy as advertised.
By the second cook session I felt I had a good handle on how to use the KK and what to expect. Once you get the touch of the control and a sense of it's recovery time, the KK holds temp fairly well. At full blast (and below freezing temps with light breeze) I was holding at about 325 - 350*. I was able to keep 275* (for the fattie) and 250* (for ribs, chicken, turkey breast) easily. Adding boiling water to water pan helped maintain temp.
Everything came out great! Turkey was probably the moistest and most juicy and best-cooked I've ever done. Spare ribs rocked. chicken quarters were fine. I attribute all this to ease of use and a good design more than I do my skillz.
I finally cashed the gas tank after ~20 hours of burn time with ~5 h of that full blast. But as I'm a home-brewer, I always have a spare tank on hand.
So yeah, a great purchase and solid competition for the cabinet propane smokers out there.
Beef Ribs and trimmings from full rack of spare ribs on first cook.
Sorry no pre-pics from the main event...only tasty post-pics.
Note:The beer is (obviously) not Guiness but a killer West-Coast Style Pale Ale from our local LoneRider Brewery!