My name is Geoff. I live in NW Indiana about a three stones throw from the sunny shores of Lake Michigan. I've been cooking my entire life and used to be in the industry. I have my grand diplome from Le Cordon Bleu and worked in Paris for a number of years at some of the top restaurants in the world. I also worked at a number of restaurants in Chicago but am now in Metal Fabrication, lol. When I returned home, I started doing lots of BBQ and smoking, something which we hardly ever did overseas or in the fine dining restaurants which I worked in. I'm happiest when I'm outdoors, with an adult beverage in my hand and a fire of some sort in front of me.
I've had many, grills and smokers, from the traditional Weber Kettle, to a traeger to a number of custom built units. I've had the pleasure of cooking on a couple different eggs, in particular, my friends XL which I showed him how to do BBQ on. He bought his BGE specifically for searing steaks ala Cleveland or Pittsburgh style.
With my friends BGE XL, I noticed that the weak link appeared to be the hinge and the metal bands. I did some research on this site about that and found many people that had similar problems. It looks like the clamp has since been redesigned, or at least the spring had been removed. I'm not sure what that is supposed to do. It also seems like a barrel shim might be useful to put between the two 90 degree bends of the clamp to keep those "ears" from bending towards one another.
Ok, sorry for getting windy but the bottom line is this, is there any reason NOT to buy the XL? Have the factory "fixes" taken care of the problem with the band? I realize there is a little maintenance involved like tightening it after a week of initial use but I don't want to purchase the most expensive unit only to find that it has a problem with the lid.
Any and all info from XL owners would be really appreciated!
BTW, sold the traeger on Craigslist, it's getting picked up tonight!