Louisiana born, Texan that learned the art of charcoal and smoke from a Californian. Figure that out if you dare. Started with a bullet smoker like most I'd guess. Bought my first vertical New Braunfels about 8 years ago. The firebox finally rusted off of it this summer so I sealed it up for use as a charcoal grill. Been looking at Old Country BBQ Pits in Academy for about 2 years and finally made the investment last night. I seasoned it and burned it in last night with some SRV playing low and Shiner beer. About to smoke my first turkey of the year now. I can say from the initial burn in, the temperature management alone makes me happy with the $399.99 spent.