Well, the smoker has arrived!
Box was in great shape except you could tell the UPS guy thought down was up as the top of the box was skidded around on the bed of the truck by the looks of the dirt on it.
Opened it up and everything seems o.k. One thing though, and I'm not sure if it's a problem or a design feature;
The box isn't square. Measuring diagonally across the front left to right/top to bottom is 25 inches. Measuring right to left/top to bottom is 25 1/2 inches. The sides are parallel to the door but the top of the door barely catches the box on the latch side. It's pretty obvious looking straight on at it that the box is a parallelogram and not square. Is that supposed to be that way? It's such a heavy unit, that there's no way it got "tweaked" in shipment and there's no marks on the box. It's like someone didn't set it in the jig right before welding it up. The tweak is enough that the door just barely covers the opening at the upper right corner, the side with the latch. I closed the door with a piece of paper in it and the paper easily slides in and out along that edge. The bottom is tight and the paper won' slide between the door and the box.
So, is my smoker defective or not? Heck, I'd tweak it back, but it would take a big sledge hammer several whacks to do that!! ha!
1 1/2 hours into seasoning and there is zero smoke, so, I peeked. One of the two pieces of wood has a dark spot on it but they are no where near ready to start making smoke. I tweaked the heating element so that it touches the box holding the wood. Nothing in the instruction book even mentions the placement or proximity of the element to the wood pan. I do think I read about it somewhere here on the forum though. I wonder what someone who doesn't own a computer would do? Call cookshack I suppose, but cookshack could save themeselves the cost of a toll free phone call by making a note of this in their owner manual.
Also, there's a little light next to the temperature display that clicks on and off with a noise. I am guessing that is a lamp to inform me that the element is on or off. It stayed on when first powered up, then as it got closer to the set temperature, started to cycle. Another thing that should be in the manual.
Checked at 20 minutes after adjusting the heating element and there is smoke! However, it's coming out from the upper edge of the door and very little out the hole in the top. I shoved a damp cloth in the gap between the top of the door and the smoker lid; the space that isn't even across the top. It seems to have slowed the smoke coming out the top of the door.
I initially set the temperature for 205 and it shot up to 215. I have two temperature probes in there to check accuracy. One on the upper shelf and one on the lower shelf. The upper shelf measures 218 and the lower measured 224. Within 10 minutes the smoker temperature indicated 205 and the test probes measure 211 and 214 respectively. 5 minutes after that, the temperature had dropped to 201 and the heat cycle light started to switch on and off again. The probes measured 206 for the top shelf and 209 for the bottom.
Sat for 3 hours and the wood was barely scorched. Not hardly any smoke. I suspect the duty cycle is too short without a load of meat in there to heat up. Reading around, I see where I am not the only one who's had this happen, i.e. no smoke and wood unscathed during the seasoning. Seems the secret is to fill the supplied drip pan with water to simulate the mass of a piece of meat. Just did that, so now we will see. Also reading, I should have smoke within 10 to 15 minutes, but I can't find how much I should see coming out the top and/or door seal...
Within 5 to 7 minutes I have SMOKE and I mean a lot of it! That wood must have gotten hot, then by opening the door and adding the pan of cold water, the temperature dropped, kicking on the heater hard. Door leaks like crazy so I am going to leave the damp rag strip tucked in to the top of the door and force the chimney to work as designed. I know, it doesn't matter if some smoke leaks past the door, but I'm not wired that way; a door is SUPPOSED to do something!! Like, close and stay tight so the smoker design can do it's thing. Ha! I will probably design a gasket to SEAL my door.
BTW, I don't know what cookshack will say about the tweaked box, but I'm of two thoughts here;
1. Probably won't matter since I'm going to see that it stays pretty smoke tight anyway.
2. For what this thing cost me, over $500, I am sure they will make it right. Here is a photo. I'll see if I can do better tomorrow with the camera.