I actually got a nicer barrel-style smoker with an offset fire box for my birthday (thanks mom and dad), so I've been using that one a lot lately. Here's the one I'm using right now...Brinkman smoker
Aside from being much larger and thus able to hold more food, the best thing about my new smoker versus the older one is that it holds heat MUCH better. With the Smoke-n-Grill (old one) I had to add 5-10 coals pretty much every hour just to keep it at a constant 250-degrees...and if I ever lifted the lid, almost all the heat dissipated immediately. The new smoker is made of cast iron, which holds onto heat very well, so I can throw in a few handful of coals and a couple of hickory logs at the beginning, and it'll hang around 325-350 for a few hours before I have to even worry about adding more wood/coals.
I still haven't gotten around to making a brisket with this one yet...last time I tried on my older smoker, it came out leathery tough and very dry, so I decided to do some more homework before I shell out another $25 for a giant hunk of meat. Ribs, chicken and pork butt, however, are another story...I'm not going to say I've perfected them, but they're damned tasty!
It helps that I've been tinkering around with dry rub recipes for the past several months, and finally made one that's delicious and works well with pretty much any kind of meat.
Once I feel that I've conquered the beef brisket, my plan is to take my little operation around to a few local flea markets and swap meets to see how the public at large reacts to it...and if the reaction is positive, there may be a "Pappas Family BBQ Restaurant" in the near future
A word of advice for the Smoke-n-Grill...mine had a pretty large gap around the lid, which let out a considerable amount of heat, thus lenghtening the cooking time of whatever was inside. To combat this, I rolled up pieces of aluminum foil into "snakes" (like we did with play-doh as kids) and shoved them into the gap all the way around the lid. As long as you're not opening the lid too often (which is a BBQ no-no to begin with), it shouldn't be too much of a hassle.
in the bag: pd2 / destroyer / orion lf / sidewinder /eagle / teebird / rancho roc / fuse / ion / jokeri / wizard