Hi, yes I'm using mine through the winter months, snow and all, have been since I built it. If your concerned why not start up gently and build up the heat. Give it a small burn the day before, leave the embers overnight. Rick
I used mine a couple of weeks ago, and then a week or so before that as well. found that I needed a bigger fire to bring it up to temp but once there it was fine. seems to have cooled down with no issues or cracks either but mine is a barrel type so not sure if that makes a difference.
You can get away with a stack of bricks as a temporary door; just remember to use welders gloves to remove them when the time comes!
Fire it up the night before and have pizza, just before you go to bed bung a few logs on the embers and brick the door up; the air gaps will feed the fire all night. In the morning rake out the embers and let it cool while you prep the turkey. Bung it in for a long slow roast, leaving your main oven free for spuds etc.