I decided to try the smoking thing, but did not wan to dive headfirst in to it until I had some idea of what it was all about or would even like doing. I did lot of reading, including great info here, and I bought a Char Broil Side Fire Box 2-2424tn. II decided the grills were lower than I wanted them, so I modified the inside by raising the sides 1 1.2 inches, added a couple of removable heat deflectors heat deflectors and had a nice looking small smoker with room for a water pan and a chip box. I bought an inexpensive grill thermometer, calibrated it by placing it ins boiling water (it was close enough at 212 to leave it alone), then mounted it just above grill height (food level) with the thermometer oriented so 200 degrees was straight up so I could monitor the temp at a glance. My first smoking attempt, a brisket, was, in the end, an shakedown run. There were a few leaks I plugged with aluminum foil, and I even did a quick refuel with lit charcoal and chips, how well the thermometer worked, progress checking and the myriad of details with smoking something. I ordered some FDA approved food safe high temp silicon and sealed around the lid and a couple other small places there were leaks. Form y second run, I tried our gas grill with some ribs, and used an inexpensive grill top surface thermometer. IN both attempts, I used a generic dry rub recipe with a couple additions, some generic BBQ sauces during the last 20 minutes So final analysis: I am hooked! Smoking is work, but fun work, and the end result is worth the time and effort. The ribs were great. The brisket was edible. Okay - the brisket - I followed a general cooking time based on weight formula and cooked it longer than I should have. It was a little dried out, but everyone said in spite of an incredibly thick bark (you know what I really mean) the meat itself was delicious, just a little dry I must add that to keep the cost down, I used a cojupel gift cards, so my ou of pocket expenses were bout six dollars for the smoker..
Next up is another brisket, with the sealed leaks and a Redi Chek 73 for better temp monitoring. I am looking forward to a few more shake down runs and then smoking on a regular basis!