Smoking tri-tip on a bullet smoker

I have been making some amazing meals on a compact bullet smoker.

After my first try with the super cheap bullet smoker, I decided to go for a Santa Maria tri-tip. It worked out beautifully.

I loaded up the fire ring of the Dynoglo smoker I was using with lots of wood chunks and charcoal, essentially using the same 'Minion' Method of leaving the center of the ring empty, and filling it with hot coals. The coals slowly burn their way out to the center, while also smoldering the wood. Smoke ensues, food cooks.

I read a ton of online forum advice and went for a 90 minute smoke at around 225. I had gone to Trader Joe's and picked up a marinated chunk of meat. It went straight from the bag on to the top grill.

At the end of the 90 minutes, I took the center portion of the smoker off and moved one of the cooking grills directly above the fire ring. I seared the tri-tip on the super high heat for a couple of minutes. Less time down there is more, and I would have gone with 60 seconds less per side than I thought I needed.

The DynoGlo smoker, however, completely came apart during this smoke. Previously the paint would heat up, run a little, and stick to stuff. This time the paint totally bubbled and started to peel, crack and break. The metal looked a bit fatigued on the inside of the smoker as well. The paint had stuck the bottom vents in place and I had to use a screwdriver to pop them free. Had I needed to adjust them during cooking this would have been impossible. The top vent also would freeze in place due to liquifying and rehardening paint.

I let the Dynoglo go. It was falling apart after 5 uses and declining rapidly. The paint situation is just not tolerable. I am going to get a Weber Smokey Mountain. I want to keep on with this new cooking hobby, even tho I think my days of living in my van and camping on the coast are over for a bit. There are three sizes and I am internally debating which to get. The 14" seems like the best if I were to continue camping, but for entertaining at home the 22" will feed a lot of people.