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I am new to cooking with my smokett, got it two months ago. I was having long cooks on some cooks and normal cook times on some. To make a longe story short, if I use the higher setting on my grate holder and put my grate in the lower slot my grate touches my temp probe. This makes my temp run 25 to 30 deg too low. If you are haveing long cooks somtimes this may be your problem. I love the food I cook with 008!
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On my 008 with the 3 postion rack slides installed as low as they will go (meaning the bottom rack can't be placed any closer to the wood box), my thermostat probe is located almost dead-nuts center of the bottom and middle rack.

If they are in the highest postion (meaning the bottom rack is as far away from the wood box as it can go), then the bottom rack touches the t-stat's probe bracket.

Usually the only time I have them in the highest position is when I am hanging jerky, sausage, ribs, or some other meat like bacon. Which means I am not using that bottom rack anyway.

I've had mine since 2004 so maybe there's been a design change.
Thats what I do, I just do not need the top setting. I wanted to let other people know what happened when I did. It was a puzzle for a while for me. If you are like me, If the shelf touches the probe, temps will be 25 or 30 deg colder than setting. Q is still good, cook times are just long.
With my rack in that position, if I was set at 225 deg, the smoker would vary between 180 and 220 deg. When I moved the racks off the probe it ran 200 to 240 deg. I think what you want to look for is a temp that is moving up and down. That means the the heat coil can get smoker up to temp. The thermostat then turns the coil off, temp starts to drop. If I saw a cooker that could not make it up to temp and temp was not going up and down thats a different problem. Like a bad heat coil or bad plug. Hope this helps.

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