I've been smoking for a couple of years. Used to grill a lot until my job just didn't leave time for the whole thing. Bought a gasser many years ago, thinking that my wife would/could use it if she wanted something off the grill, but life happened, and that never panned out. I used it when I could, always noticing the lack of good "grilled" taste...
Bought a CG Duo when my gasser gave out and parts were more than the unit was worth. Started checking internet for info on the unit and stumbled across numerous forums. Everybody kept talking about "smoking" when I was thinking "grilling", but it sounded so good I did a small butt using indirect heat on the Charcoal side of the Duo. Carrying it into the house to put it into the cooler, SWMBO showed more signs of life than usual (long story--medical issues), and kept asking "Is it done yet? Is it ready?" Pulled it out of the cooler and started pulling it. Grabbed a chunk, took a chunk into her, and you would've thought she hadn't eaten in months. She kept getting in the way as I was pulling it apart.
I figured if she enjoyed it that much, I needed to get one of those SFB thingies everybody was talking about. Got it, hooked it up, smoked a couple butts, a few chicken quarters, and got real disillusioned real quick. I'm a simple meat-and-potatoes type guy. If I'm cooking, I want to put the food on, get it started, then come back when it's ready to eat. Dealing with a SFB on a CG was too much work.
I read everything I could find on mods, tried most of them, but still wasn't impressed with the need to babysit the unit. I kept seeing references to "drums" and "UDS", but never bothered to look into them. When the idea of "set it and forget it" kept coming up, I decided to dig deeper. I can drill holes and screw pipe together, so I figured I could probably make one without too much trouble.. Googled for "drum" "container" "55 gal" and most everything else I could think of, and realized there was a place that reconditioned drums about 10 miles from here. Picked one up, read through a number of forums on "how to", and put one together. WOW!! Been using it ever since. Actually, made a second one, then pulled the hardware off the first, gave the drum away to somebody who wanted to get started, and built a third one. Also picked up a couple of old Webers off CL, cleaned them up, sold the newer one at a profit and kept the old one. The newer one was maybe in better shape, but had plastic handles. I don't like plastic. Also sold the Duo this spring, and picked up a dead minifridge to use as a cold smoker. I probably drove Todd batty with questions about which AMNS would be best, and picked up a 6X6 unit. It's awesome! And his service is first-rate, too.
I cruised all the forums when I started, trying to find one that felt good. This place seemed to be having some personality issues at the time, others seemed to have a number of "Me God, you nuthin'" personalities trying to run roughshod over people. I finally settled on one that I felt comfortable with, but kept checking out the others just to see what was going on. The forum I chose has become dominated by one person who feels that no thread is complete without his input, his opinion/methodology is always superior, and by the way, if you need supplies, he'll be glad to sell you some--and what he sells is better than what anybody else sells.
So anywho, I've jumped ship over there and landed here. Bearcarver has been a great help on my first bacon attempt, I don't see an over abundance of flaming and catfights going on, so I'll hang around here if you'll have me.
I enjoy writing and tend to ramble, so my posts are a bit long-winded at times. Some folks like 'em and some don't. Life goes on.
I also ask a lot of questions and don't mind playing devil's advocate or asking for background info on things that "everybody knows". So many "facts" in this hobby appear to have no coherent reasoning behind them other than "that's the way it's done". That'll stick in my craw every time until somebody can come up with supporting arguments for why. Seems to me that other than basic food safety (and some of that is even questionable), most "facts" in this hobby are nothing more than "opinion". For everything that common wisdom says you can't do, there will be many who profess to having done it for years with no ill effect. I say the best bet is to educate yourself the best you can, then use your brain and make your own decision. If it flies in the face of what others are doing, get over it. Dr. Porsche's rear-engine idea was certainly different at the time, but it seemed to work well...