Hey Mike(LoveBBQ) the reason 4 the 1st burn is not to take the paint off the out side. The reason is to sterilize the inside so that there are no gasses from whatever to contaminate the food. Not all bad gasses can be smelled or tasted. Sorry for the big words I don't belief in luck(why be ify) so good success with your smoker.
Ron, 1 little Chief top loader, 1 UDS (90% built) 1 mini UDS (in plans)