I've been using a Maverick ET-732 and PartyQ (2nd gen) for years and while they've worked OK, I couldn't resist a recent sale on the Smoke X. I'm doing my first cook with it today (I have not done a "dry run" although I know I should have): two 10.5# butts. So far, I've noticed two things:
- The controls on the Smoke X are very non-intuitive. I had to actually consult the instructions (as a life-long tinkerer and IT guy, this was very unnatural).
- Even the lowest volume on the base sounds incredibly loud on the back patio at 6:30 AM (I think I woke the neighbor's baby up) and it's very difficult to control the volume (it seems to lag behind the button presses)
- I'm not a fan of the settings ONLY being adjustable from the base unit. On the Maverick, I can change the alarm settings, etc. from the remote, which is great, esp. in cold weather. Everything on the Smoke X needs to be changed/set on the base unit. Outside. In the cold. Using controls that are very non-intuitive.
- The Billows fan seems incredibly quiet. I know it's running, but even standing next to it, I can't hear it. The fan on the PartyQ sounds like a leaf blower compared to this. It's a much larger (wider diameter) fan, and being a squirrel cage fan, I guess it doesn't have to spin as fast or as frequently to move the same amount of air. Still, I had to physically touch it to make sure it was running.
- It seems to take a looooong time to get up to temp. I followed the instructions to a tee (exhaust open 1/4, all other intakes closed) and took an hour to get up to 225. I put the meat in and it took almost an hour to recover, even opening the exhaust to 1/2.