well I finally bit the bullet and am going to try to smoke for the first time tomorrow. I bought a Brinkmann Gourmet, made a few modifications. added a damper to the lid as well as a thermometer. and added a raised grate to the charcoal pan. I also drilled some extra air holes on the side of the pan. i hope this fixes many of the problems that people say they have had with this smoker. I bought 3 racks of spare ribs St. Louis style and am going to make a couple bacon wrapped fatty's while the i have the smoker going. I have never even made ribs before so tomorrow will be a day of firsts for me. I have been reading up on everything for a couple weeks and feel like I have a grasp of the basic ideas, now i will see if I actually learned anything. I am pretty excited! wish me luck!!!!