Good day all! I am so looking forward to learning some new things from you folks here at SMF. This is indeed my first post and my first visit. I am in my infancy when it comes to smokin meat so be easy on me. I am a quick learner though. I have smoked meat (pork ribs) a total of 1 time and it was a couple of weeks ago. While the ribs turned our great, I am hoping to find some ways to expand my knowledge. After doing some research on the web, I have some questions I hope to have answered here. First of all, to soak in a brine or not to brine before cooking? Secondly, does brown sugar or sugar of any kind in the brine or any other mix make the meat sweet or does it act as an offset to the salt? What purpose does it really serve? I have to admit I don't want my meat sweet. I like a really good robust smoked flavor. I want to taste meat not candy... I think you get the picture. To this point I have only used hickory chips in my propane upright cooker (which is also brand new) and I understand mesquite yields a stronger smoked flavor (some say it is best on beef). The reason for my question about soaking the meat in a brine first is because the first set of ribs I smoked I simply washed and rubbed them with a Cajun season and tossed them in the smoker. They turned out great. I still need to work on my ability to keep the temp where I want it. Sorry to be so long winded but I have many questions... More to come. Oh and thanks in advance for your input.