I have been a member for years, never posted before. Until 2 weeks ago I used a modified ECB. Since I never got good heat I only ever smoked ribs and usually finished them off in the gas grill. I finally took the plunge and bought a Char-Griller with the side fire box. I have since smoked my best ribs ever (Wife's opinion) and A pork butt/pulled pork that was to die for..for a family 4th of July party. Last weekend I did a 5lb pork shoulder, a turkey breast and a cornish hen. All came out good. I now consider myself an offical BBQ/Smoker person. I write short stories, usually somewhat truthful, about my life experiences...The story that follows is all about the day I bought and put together the new smoker.... July 3, 2008 THE NEW CHARCOAL GRILL/SMOKER After many years of using my â€˜el cheapoâ€™ Brinkman Smoker ($39.99) to make my smoked ribs and pulled pork, I finally decided to upgrade my meat smoking capabilities. My decision to purchase a new smoker was helped along by the fact that the bottom of the charcoal pan in the old device was rotting out AND the truly deciding factor was that Rose and Shadow won a few bucks on the firehouse weekly number pool. I was able to coheres, beg, plead and shame my wife and my cat into giving me a small portion of their winnings towards the smoker. The wife was easy; getting the money from the cat was a *****. I had to explain to Shadow that IF I didnâ€™t get the cash heâ€™d have to learn how to open his own cans of food. He saw the logic of my reasoning and begrudgingly kicked in a few dollars towards the purchase. For the past 2 years I had my good eye on a CHAR GRILLER Barrel grill/smoker with a side firebox option available at LOWEâ€S. It is about the size of a 30 gallon drum and will easily hold twice as much as my old smoker. I picked up the new smoker today along with the side fire box option. The thing came in two boxes and both items were not exactly light weight. Rose supervised my manhandling of the boxes into the Escort Wagon and we then stopped at Wal-Mart to get some Ribs and Large chunks of Pork products to be transformed into delectable, smoked morsels hot off of the new smoker. Rose asked me if she should ask her brother to give me a hand in the soon to come assembly process, I told her I didnâ€™t need any help and that I felt that the assembly would be a piece of cake. My wife laughed and told me sheâ€™d remind me of my statement when she heard me cursing in three different languages. Little did I know how prophetic her words would be. We got home around lunch time and I unloaded the grill stuff into the back yard. Being as I am a Big Kid at heart, I immediately opened the smoker box and started to pull everything out. When I got to the Directions Packet I paused and gave the directions the once over. The directions pack contained 2 booklets of directions, one in English, and the other in Spanishâ€¦with a smile on my face; I threw the el spanisho directions in the el trasho. I finished unpacking the smoker/grill box and Actually read the directions Before I started to assemble the thing. The front page of the directions had a warning in bold printâ€¦. CAUTION: This Unit Is HEAVYâ€¦Do Not assemble without a helper. Seeing as I already busted my cajones getting the boxes into the car and then into my back yard, I really didnâ€™t need a bold print warning telling me how heavy the unit was. I also figured that the CHAR GRILLER Company did not know how helpful my wife could be assembling a project so I decided to totally ignore the warning and go solo in the assembly process. I followed the directions and everything was going very well. The directions also stated that â€œassembly time was approximately 45 minutesâ€â€¦I was well ahead of the assembly time curve. When I started to attach the bottom half of the smoker to the leg section I stopped and decided to see what attaching the optional firebox would entail. I unpacked the Side Fire Box Unit and perused the directions. When I got to step #4 in the directions I got a very uneasy feeling about the 45 minute time curve. Step #4 read as followsâ€¦ #4- With a Hammer and Screwdriver knock out the 6 holes (5/16â€ diameter) that are around the damper opening. Then with a hammer, knock out the large perforated section of metal around the damper opening that is shaped something like a football. (See Fig. B) This entire step may require heavy hammering and/or drilling with a 5/16â€ diameter drill bit. I got a hammer and screw driver and started knocking out the bolt holes, that step went very smoothly. I then attempted to knock out the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. Remembering the Heavy Hammering aspect of the directions, I swung mightily at the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal with my Hammer. The Herculean Hammer Swing made solid contact with the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal, made a loud bell ringing sound and bounced back towards my head at a high rate of speed. The hammer missed my face and the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped section of metal was still firmly attached to the Smoker. The Herculean Hammering Plan was halted and Plan B, the 5/16â€ Drilling Project, commenced. I got the drill, extension cord, my drill bits and the Drill Doctor bit sharpening device and attempted to drill some holes in the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. I had two 5/16â€ drill bits. Drill bit #1 was a Titanium Tipped, fairly new, beauty recently purchased at the CUMMINGS TOOL SALE held at the local fire company. Cummings Tools are Low End, low cost, throw away and easily broken. I started with the titanium tipped specimenâ€¦That drill bit had a hard time penetrating the black powder coating layer of the steel smoker. I sharpened the titanium drill bit and tried againâ€¦it burned through the black powder coating and didnâ€™t even dimple the metal. Drill bit #2 was a Black & Decker bit that Iâ€™ve had for years. I sharpened it up and attempted to drill the holes. With some effort I drilled my first hole into the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. As I was drilling hole #2 Rose came out to see how I was doing, as she leaned over the back porch railing, watching me drill, a VERY hot sliver of drill tailing found its way under the strap of the sandal ensconcing my naked, left foot. I immediately stopped drilling and proceeded to hop around on 1 foot, cursing profusely. From her perch on high, Rose smiled sweetly at me and saidâ€¦.â€You were right Butch; it sure looks like a piece of cake to me. Staring up at my loving wife, as the hot sliver of metal continued to burn its way into my foot, I had a mental, crystal clear understanding as to Why I do NOT own a firearm. I drilled 10 to 12 holes along the upper edge of the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. During the drilling process I removed approximately 11 sharp pieces of metal shavings from the soles of both feet and endured 7 more burning hot slivers attaching themselves on the tops of my feet and forearms. It was at this point in the assembly process that I determined the following. If I continued to drill another dozen holes along the lower edge of the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal I would probably be hideously scarred for life. I decided to again institute The Herculean Hammering Plan. I again gave a mighty swing along the upper edge of the newly drilled area of the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. Much to my surprise, the whole section of metal gave way. I whacked the bottom edge of the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal and the entire piece fell away. After I defeated the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal, the remainder of the assembly went without a hitch. I am going to do a small smoking session on the fourth to get a feel for the new smoker and then I will be Smoking a boatload of ribs and pork for a family get together slated for Sunday. Hopefully, all will go well, I will enjoy the taste of good BBQ ribs and my house will still be standing.