Ok, so my first smoke was chicken. The chicken was good, but the skin was a little tough for my liking. My next smoke was baby back ribs which came out awesome. Today a bought a 7.5 lb.brisket flat on sale. Now this should be a good test for me and my new smoker. I'm totally new at this, any knowledge I have comes from this website, the tv show bbq pitmasters, and a book and video from Ed Emig at www.kickassbbq.com. Ed is an awesome guy. I recommend his book and video to anyone getting started with an offset smoker. I'm about an hour and half into smoke....so far so good. I'm using royal oak lump which is burning much better than the frontier brand I used in the last 2 smokes. I'm also using apple and cherry chunks. It's about 50 degrees outside temp, with sun and light to no wind. The mods I made from this forum seem to be holding up great- lowered stack, basket, angle iron, gasket tape, and baffle. I'm holding temp around 300 degrees! So far so good. I was worried about this unit because a read a lot of negative comments about COS, but with these mods it seems to be going well. Buster agrees too!