First, a little about me. I'm middle-aged, bald, have a mostly-grey beard, and could stand to lose some weight. Yup. A suburban cliche--I've even been wearing Hawaiian shirts since I was in high school.
I'm also retired and have too much time on my hands. That's indirectly how I found this website.
The first time I was involved with smoking (meat, etc) was sometime in my teens. I wouldn't call that "experience," though.
On long weekends, a bunch of friends would pile into my car and drive to Maine. One of them had a brother who lived there and made a smoker/grill made from an old 55gal drum, a couple hinges, a lawnmower handle, and a bunch of cinder blocks.
The days were spent grilling burgers, dogs, and sausages but, come evening, someone would move the embers to one end, add some wood, throw a butt or two on the grill and close the lid. Then we'd sit around doing our bit to help solve the country's excess beer and bourbon problem, adding wood here and there, until it was time to check the insides of our eyelids for pinholes (I never found any).
The first two to wake up (come to) had the most important jobs; one would grab the meat out of the smoker and pull it apart, while the other made a bucket of coffee and fried up a mess of eggs and hash browns. Someone would set up the picnic table with plates, coffee cups, forks, and assorted bottles of hot and BBQ sauces.
Once the bell on the porch rang, the rest of us would drag ourselves out of...wherever we ended up the night before...and kick start the day with heaping plates of deliciousness.
Rinse, lather, repeat...
Fast forward thirty years. I decided to get into smoking. I was sitting in one of my favorite Q joints last fall when it occurred to me how much I was spending on dinners, and realized a smoker would pay for itself PDQ.
Having spent a bunch of time working as a systems analyst, I found myself over-researching what to get and changing my mind every couple days. It got ridiculous.
Then, day before yesterday, I was picking up some stuff at Lowes and spotted a couple MES 30" boxes sitting on the racks. I tossed one on my cart, bought it, and stuffed it into my Jeep.
I opened it up this morning and was surprised that the only real assembly needed was attaching the timer/controls. Most of the time was spent cutting the protective wraps off the racks.
I just finished seasoning it and will be heading to the butcher shop to pick up tomorrow's lunch (and possibly dinner) shortly. My 84yo neighbor came over with his eyes lit up when he noticed the smoker puffing away in my driveway--he was like a little kid when I let him know he and his wife would be testing plenty of my experiments this year.
I look forward to asking lots of questions, sharing successes and...most of all...helping to reduce the bovine and porcine populations... =o)