20%,first , to the forum.Being an avid BYC(Back Yard Chef),I wish for you the best of all your efforts in learning 'Que'.This Forum will help you greatly in obtaining that goal.
I grew-up in Texas and have been doing outdoor cooking since I was a Child; not saying I am a "PRO", just well versed in slow cooking in my little Smoker(LOL).
I love to sit out at night with a group of Friends, drinking favorite drinks and seeing who can tell the biggest story.I moved to Ohio with the Wife in '92 , to help the In-laws with thier business and stayed. Since then , I have delighted the neighbors and friends with my 'Down Home' Texas flavors and friendliness.
I am what the others on here call a "Stick Burner" since I only use wood for my heating source, having said that,I'll back-up and mention I use Propane in my Gasser and to start my wood burning.Then I keep the coals glowing and enjoy myself and friends.Frankly,I go to a lot of [intresting and fun] trouble to keep my heat steady.The taste of Petroleum products Gags me, and the exercise I get tending the fire helps me to stay in good health.
When you decide to get your Cooker,make sure it is a good brand and is sturdy enough to last more than just one year;and once you have selected the one of your liking,get a size larger(believe me,once started,you will want to do more and the friends begin showing-up at your place for those wonderful goodies
A little word of caution though,don't start with something big yet,you'll get discouraged and give up. What I mean is...don't get too fast at cooking your goodies,slow down and let the meat do it's thing. Be slow of action,food on a smoker or grill does not cook like on a stove,it takes time and plenty of PATIENCE to Smoke meat and you don't want to waste a good piece of meat and you sure don't want your friends to be dissappointed
A bit of practice with cheaper and (easier) meats will do you greatly.Chicken,Butts and small fatty meats are great to practise on and won't break the Bank until you get some goodies under your belt.
A big part of "SMOKING" is "PATIENCE" and learning to leave the lid of the cooker closed until the time is right to peek in;you'll learn as you go;and this is a good place to learn when and how to tell. Most everyone likes Chicken,and it a very good way to start learning your cooker and building your confidence.Do yourself some Beercan Birds(or any liquid you want) by washing the bird and pushing a half can of liquid into it's rear cavity. It will set on the cooking grates in a Tripod configuration and cook so nicely friends will think you bought it somewhere.
Be sure to have some 'good ' thermometers(at least one) and have fun.