Just wanted to let everyone know that my new Chubby is on the way to me. My Friend Old_Dave really did give me some good insight about this little guy. I posted the same question over in the smoke ring and thought i would bring the results to this post here too..
Old Dave's Comments below:
The Backwoods Chubby is a nice little cooker and will cold smoke, smoke, cook, and bake at many different temps with very good results. However, it is a small cooker and the grids are 15-1/2 X 16-1/2" so in some cases, you may have to cut a bone off of your slabs of ribs.
I use both the Chubby and the Party for KCBS competition cooking and am very happy with how they perform. The Party is the same size as the Chubby but is taller with two more cooking grids.
I find some your questions tough to answer or would have posted earlier.
Recover time...really depends on the load, the cooking temp, how far are you into the cook, how long was the door opened, etc..
A cooker with a full load of cold meat running at about 225 degrees at say about 1 hour into the cook and with a short door opening to check something might take about 10 minutes or longer to get back on temp.
The same cooker with all your load warmed up to say about 180 degrees would probably cut this time in half.
A full load of meat running at say 350 degrees, and early into the cook, and with the door opened for a longer time, may take as long as 20 minutes to get back on temp....just tough to answer and my answers are guessing as it is never a problem for me.
Firing up can be done with many different methods and again, this will depend on what you plan to cook, the temps required, the fuel used, the amount of time you have for the cooker to warm up properly, the use of water or not, the use of hot water over cold water. A cold start with a cooking temp of 225 degrees, using lump, and adding water after the cooker is on temp, could be done with one Weber fire cube in about one hour. With the use of two cubes on each side of the firebox, this can be cut to about 40 minutes to get a cold cooker up to temp and ready to cook. A charcoal chimney can also be used to fire the cooker but it doesn't take much.
It will take much longer for a higher temp cook at say 350-450 degrees to get the cooker dialed in and properly warmed up. Again, just tough to answer and it doesn't enter in to my cooking at all. It is ready when it is ready!!!
I don't have the foggiest idea of how long 10 pounds of charcoal will last in the cooker....I don't weigh charcoal going into the cooker as I just fill the firebox full. A lot would again depend on your load, your cooking temp, the fuel used, if water was used or not, etc.....I would say that roughly, a full load of all lump brickettes, running a medium size load of meat, at a temp of around 250 degrees, with water in the pan, might last up to about 8-9 hours. Using lump for the above cook would reduce the cooking time to about 4-5 hours. Up the temp on this cook to say 350 degrees and the fuel may only last about 3 hours. Tough to call without more info.
I do use a Guru on my Party for low and slow overnight cooks but do not use one on my Chubby. Should work just fine. I sure don't think you would need it to cook just ribs at a contest.
The Chubby is just a wonderful backyard cooker as well. What is not to like!!!
I am sorry that I couldn't give you better answers. E-mail me with more specific questions and I will try to get you an answer.