Sorry...been a long day.
Here are some pics of Earl.
Fire basket can be raised to upper level is I want to just direct grill.
Getting Earl all seasoned...in the rain.
Been hot since about 4pm now.
Threw some bacon on the racks after it had been hot for a couple hours and sprayed everything down with Pam.
Earl will get some more work in the morning, but I'm beat and decided just to grab some Subway for dinner.
Had a couple minor issues. With a rack in the bottom shelf slot, the bottom thermometer clashes with the rack handle. I have to run over to AJs to pick up the touch up paint I forgot, so I'm just gonna have him cut off the handle on one rack. The handles aren't really needed since I have full access to the front of the racks.
Second, despite a 48 hour pain cure, once the paint got warm it got pretty soft. I placed a couple logs on the top of the firebox lid to heat them and it marred the paint a bit. Touch up paint will fix it.
The 3rd issue is the tougher one. The thermal expansion of the firebox/grill-top lid caused it to have a slight rub against the side of the smokebox and it marred the paint as well. Again, I will touch it up (or just keep that spot well seasoned if it looks like it is getting down to bare metal) but it might be just a characteristic of Earl for the long term. AJ has offered to make adjustments but that requires cutting off the lid and trimming which would involve getting it back to his shop. All that seems a bit extreme, to me for a minor cosmetic issue. I was just kinda bummed seeing the finish marred up within an hour of getting it hot.
As for performance, this stick burning thing doesn't seem as hard as everyone says. Temp starts to drop, add a log. Want hotter temps, add a log. Earl holds temps pretty steady and he seems to breathe pretty well. I ran him at 250 for a while, then ran him at 350 for a while. Gonna let this fire go out and start again in the morning. Still need to do some better testing of the tuning plates.