This is a good smoker, but buyer beware!

There are two models that I have seen of this cabinet-style front loading gasser, but I hear reports of a number of slightly different sizes and configurations depending on where you buy. Apparently the manufacturer makes them custom for several retailers, a photo of one of them is shown at the top of this page.. There is a narrow body that is about 16″ wide x 15″ deep x 35″ high on the inside and about 44″ tall on the outside ant a 13,500 BTU burner. The bigger one, users call it the “Big Block”, stands about 48″ high and is a capacious 24″ wide x 15″ deep x 35″ high cooking chamber and a 18,000 BTU burner. The 24″ has five rack positions and four chrome plated racks. This means it is wide enough for any slab of ribs and can handle up to eight slabs. Ten if you buy an additional rack.

It has has a cast brass burner, electronic ignition, three adjustable dampers, a cool grip front door handle that is a bit awkward, a porcelain coated water pan, and a cast iron box for wood. I have heard of people replacing the cast iron box with a cut down coffee can because the cast iron took too long to heat up. I often hear users complain that workmanship is poor, that it leaks around the welds, and the door does not seal tightly, but they don’t worry because it seems to operate best when all the dampers are open and the extra airflow doesn’t hurt.

Wide stance legs offer good stability and the flame is set where it is not likely to set fire to the dog’s tail. There is a temperature gauge located near the center of the door. As with most other thin metal uninsulated units, it gets hot on the outside, especially on the bottom. Users recommend that you put an aluminum pan beneath it to catch grease and protect your deck. One has put tuna cans under the legs to catch drips. Other users have replaced the water pan with a larger capacity stainless steel mixing bowl. The manual has minimal instructions and recipes.

The manufacturer, CFM Home Products of Canada, has no info on these smokers on its website. Nor do they respond promptly to emails. I get emails all the time from people who need spare parts or the manual and the manufacturer is no help. Frustrated users have one-upped the manufacturer by forming a support group with some knowledgeable cooks who have lots of good advice and ideas, recipes, modifications, and tips on techniques. Here’s a link to the Smoky Mountain group on Yahoo.

Another word of caution: Before you take it home, open the box. I have heard reports of customers being disappointed by missing parts. Regardless of the poor workmanship, it is easy to use, works great, and the price is right.

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