OK... so Chisoxjim was right (there I said it ), the WSM is head and shoulders above my old Char-Griller off set. Finally got to fire it up on Sunday afternoon. I put a single solid layer of briquets down in the ring, put about 5 or 6 fist size pieces of hickory on top of that and about 8 medium sized chunks of lump. Then topped off the ring with briquets, added about 6 pieces of mesquite, and finally dumped a chimney of lit lump on top of all that. Gave it about 5 minutes to start getting the other stuff lit then put the rest of the smoker together and added water to the water pan. Put the lid on let the heat get up to about 225° then closed the dampers down by about 2/3, let the heat get to 250°, reduced the dampers down to about 25%. Once I had the heat dialed in to hold 250° added the meat: (here is that thread) http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...threadid=91098 I checked the temps at 1 hr. - still holding steady at 250°, at 3 hrs. was still holding steady and I pulled the corned beef and foiled the chuckies. Pulled the chuckies when they hit an internal of 205°, about 6 hrs., still holding steady at 250°. I had fired it up right about noon and I wanted to see how long it would maintain 250° so I just left it running - ate dinner, got kids in bed, watched some TV, checked it at 9 PM.... was still holding at 250°, checked it at 10PM... had finally dropped to 200°. Not a bad run 9+ hrs. on on load, no fussing, no tending... I could get used to this.. lol. Kinda wished I had just gotten a WSM from the get go, but at the time wasn't sure how into smoking I was going to be and $170 for the Char-griller vs. $375 for the WSM was big budget concern at the time. Long and short... if you are at all thinking about getting a WSM they are well worth it. I even used the factory therm and from what I could tell it was reading just fine. I am going to add some grommet holes for meat probes (especially on the lower rack), and I might add a therm on the side down by the lower rack. But overall a very well built smoker!