As much as I love my UDS, I decided it was finally time to buy a stick burner. Believe me fellow Q'ers, I've looked at DOZENS of 3 to 400 dollar stick burners....Started off with the Rio Grande Sidewinder at Academy, but then discovered the Brinkmann Trailmaster, which seems to be the staple offset smoker that kinda teeters between awesome quality and the "eh, I can spend alittle more for a better quality" one. I brought her home today. My girlfriend and I put it together, however we couldn't quite get the firebox to mount to the support bracket, and now that it's mounted, I believe we have warped the firebox as the lid closes, but still has a gap. Just as much smoke comes from it as it does the firebox, however this baby draws like a freight train. I loaded it up with the rest of my lump charcoal and some semi seasoned oak...and was thoroughly impressed. Got it up to about 450 to burn off all the impurities, and now it's time to start thinking about doing mods.
I'm not going to use it as a grill, at all, unless it's to do steaks or something on the firebox itself. I DEFINITELY need to seal the firebox door, and tomorrow after I get off work, I'll probably take the firebox off and just mount it without the bracket. Hell, it's got 8 screws holding it in place without the bracket anyways. But, aside from smoke coming out of the firebox door, which I've seen lots of smokers do, this looks to be a solid little guy. It's 1/8" steel. I plan on extending the chimney down to grate level and putting 2 more thermometers in it. I had thought about putting a cookie sheet as a heat deflector as when I have a big fire built in it, which I did earlier to do the initial burn out, flames were leaping from the firebox to the inside of the cooking chamber. I've also thought about putting around 20 pounds of lava rock into the cooking chamber itself to help even out temps.
I DO have a UDS, but it's not built as efficiently as I would like. I tend the fire so much on it that getting the stick burner will keep me entertained. I know the UDS I can walk away from for 3 or 4 hours, maybe add a chunk of wood or 2 and let her run. From about 6:15, when I built my first fire, until about 9 or so, I only added maybe 3 splits of wood to it, and it was green poplar at that...didn't know it was poplar until I looked it up, so glad I didn't smoke anything using it. I've gotta get a few cans of Pam and spray it down, inside and out, to let it season and get some soot buildup.
If anyone from the Athens, GA area wants to help me seal it up or maybe give me some pointers on what to do, I would greatly appreciate it. I can take a computer apart and put it back together blindfolded...but I'm lost when it comes to this stuff.