Yeah, I got it on Friday. Unfortunately we left for Ohio for the weekend so I didn't get it unpacked and set up until late Sunday afternoon.
The grill itself is really nice looking. The red finish is awesome. I did find a few fasteners loose though. If you get one take the time to tighten everything on the grill. My hinge mechanism was pretty loose. It would suck to have the top of the grill fall off and shatter. I also had one screw stripped out in the stand that needed some finessing. The packaging itself was really slick. Someone spent some time thinking about the difficulties in unpacking heavy oddly shaped object. You basically cut the shipping straps off, remove the top cover, and the four sides fall off. Really cool.
I thought I would try a whole fresh chicken plus we found some nice boneless ribs pre-rubbed at the butcher. The chicken was about 3.5 lbs so I wanted to try smoking/roasting between 225 and 250 for about 90 minutes. The ribs got away from me and ended up being a total loss. I salvaged the chicken by wrapping it in tin foil for the last 30 minutes to get the internal temp up a little more without burning the skin any further. The chicken did end up being OK although it was slightly over done. It was still very tender and tasty.
I rushed. I was in a hurry to get the grill lit and get things moving as I was working against time (2 years old's get really cranky when they don't eat, lol).
I followed the directions on the fire starter cubes and had troubles getting the coals lit. I went to KJ's website and they have a video on lighting the grill. Once I followed those directions the grill took off. Because of this it took almost 40 minutes to get the temperature sorted.
One key accessory you MUST buy is the heat deflector rack. Mine didn't show up until yesterday. I kept the temps under 250 F but the ribs and chicken still were cooking too fast. The heat deflector is the key. I should have waited to cook with the grill until that arrived. I tried using a pizza stone and the extended cooking rack to do a make-shift heat deflector. It didn't work for shit and I ruined my pizza stone.
The good stuff:
Temperature regulation is amazingly accurate. A few millimeters of movement on the top vent netted a couple degree change. It was very consistent. I like that the top vent has a "fine" and "course" adjustment. You can really dial in the temp you want. With my char-griller I never had this nice of temperature control.
I followed the directions and put enough charcoal in to just cover the vent holes. I will have enough good charcoal left in the grill to do one more grilling without adding more. I found Cowboy 100% natural lump charcoal at my butcher for $9 for an 8.8 lbs bag. I used about 1/2 of the bag. I'm sure I can find this cheaper at other places. HERE
is a link to a site that has done some nice charcoal testing.
Our first meal wasn't a total success but I did learn from my mistakes and hopefully will have a little more success on my next time out. Tonight we are going to try Filet Mignon. I may try to high temp sear them. I'll post up to give my results (hopefully we don't end up at Portillo's tonight!!)