I just finished my assembly while watching the Charger's-Chief's game tonight. Assembly took about 1.5 hours. I am sure it would have gone faster if my attention was not on the football game too. I really can't compare this to A GOSM, so please feel free to add your "two cents". Some basic observations:
1. Packaging. The Smoker came in a very thick box with extra styrofoam packaging. All racks and parts were secured inside boxes that were taped together inside the smoker box itself. There were 2 spare boxes with nothing in them to ensure that items did not move around while in transit. My particular unit had no dents or visible blemishes other than an occasional rough weld. GRADE: A+
2. Assembly - The directions were very clear with two exceptions. The front legs have to be installed a certain way to ensure that the control assembly can be mounted properly. I had to switch the front legs after I made my mistake. Also, do not tighten the legs down at all, Just thread the crews until they hold. For a few minutes, I thought that I would have a return because the holes on the legs and the control assembly were off a hair. Just push or pull while trying to thread and it should work. One of my screw channels must have had some gunk in it because I had to torque it to break it free, The screw went in freely after I gave it a little force. There are 2 side handles but the instructions tell you to only install one. GRADE: B-
3. Exterior Fit and Finish: Over all I would rate the fit and finish and A-/B+. The metal is powder coated and seems to be durable. The metal box is thick, and the welds are thick too. It feels much more sturdy than the smaller GOSM units that I saw at Bass Pro Shops. There is a locking mechanism that ensure the front door will be very snug when operating.
4. Design of Interior Items: Ceramic coated water pan and wood chip pans get an F-. Flimsy construction at best when compared to the cast iron box of the GOSM. To make matter worse, the water pan suspends from a custom rack on the bottom of the unit. What happens when a new pan or rack might be needed due to rust issues? The wood chip pan has venting for the heat from the burner to ignite the wood chunks or chips. I want to modify the current water pan system and wood chip system to be a little more durable. In my opinion, this is the only major negative for this unit. I will be working this out over time once I see things work.
The rack system is very nice. It has adjustable rack inserts that allow you to choose the location of your racks. They slide in and out with ease. We will see how the stainless steel burner holds up over time. I would have liked a thicker brass burner, but steel might work just fine. GRADE A-
I won't give it a final grade until I use it. Hopefully I will try a pork shoulder in the next 2 weeks or so. I will have a better opinion at that time.
A few observations: there is only one vent. It is located on the top back of the unit . There are no top or side vents! The vent can be completely closed or open. On the GOSM, I believe that you could not completely close the top vent? Not sure though. The bottom of the unit slopes towards the back where grease is allowed to drain in a suspended drip cup. I am not sure if I like this idea. I rather have a drip pan, but I will give it a try.
Here are some pictures:
Latch mechanism ensures a tight fit.
Water Pan tray. Notice the wood pan below sitting on top of the stainless steel burner.
Open rear vent. (This is the only vent that I saw during assembly.
Drip cup at the back of unit that collects the grease.
Close up of drip cup.
Wood chip pan.
Wood chip pan has some feet to keep over the burner.
There are hooks to hold up the regulator.
Match stick lighter.
An example of fit and finish. Notice the thick welds on the corners.
Edited by dbarnett66 - 9/15/10 at 5:58pm