I'm surprised they say a heat sink is not needed. Seems to me they're essential for the vertical smokers as they help regulate the heat. Regulating heat by using plugs doesn't seem as precise as an adjustable vent cover.
Clean up could be an issue as the charcoal is way at the bottom and the barrel doesn't appear to be segmented.
Highly recommended! Just Do Not Buy One! This guy is ripping $$$ off of yankees, good for him. Build your own from a 55 gallon drum...they are incredibly simple, and efficient beyond anything besides maybe a Big Green Egg. UDS (Ugly Drum Smoker) is the most common name.
I am a very happy owner from my own build. I would guess I have at the most $100 to $125 invested, and maybe 3-4 hours of work.
*Apologizes for crap photo, originally snapped w/ crackberry, only loaded picture on the laptop with me while on the road.
I have no heat sink, it is not needed. Three air intakes are evenly placed around the circumference, and centered (if I remember correctly) 1.5" off of bottom. Two are removable caps, and one a ball valve for fine tuning. I easily get 15+ hours of a steady burn at whatever temp I set it at without doing jack, as in absolutely nothing...go to bed if I am smoking overnight, or living my life not tethered to constant temperature monitoring. 225* is what I am working at now for ribs, butts, birds, chuckies, pastrami...may drop a little lower (215-220) for my next brisket, which actually will extend my burn time...like I need it. Six or seven glowing briquettes is all that is needed to get things going.
The lid is off of a 22.5" Weber grill and lends another control of air flow with its basic, but surprisingly very effective adjustable vent cover. The lid also creates more space for meat (think turkey, beer can chicken) versus the flat lid offered from the website. Both levels of grates are also from 22.5" Weber grill.
Clean up is very easy. My charcoal / wood basket is attached to a pizza pan by 3 stainless steel bolts with roughly 3" clearance. The clearance allows for air flow from intakes mentioned, and space for the ash to collect. A handle allows for easy retrieval of the basket and ashes in one move.
I think all the drum smokers are about the same, just depends on how much you have to spend in time or money and what features you want. I have an electric Brinkman too and put a rheostat on the cord so I can fine tune the temperature. I wouldn't bother with a rheostat if all I smoked was meat but i smoke fish too and that's better at a lower temperature.i have a buddy that has one of these:
his ribs are the best ive ever had.
i have a brinkman electric that i really like. its hard to beat the price on old smokey.