I've been lurking for a bit and figured I'd take the plunge and post.
I'm a newbie from Iowa and just started smoking this summer. I've always loved the idea of smoking and have some friends that do it off and on. About a year & half ago my brother-in-law gave me a smoker which most of you know as "El Cheapo Brinkman"...The Smoke n' Grill. It sat in my garage collecting dust till he asked me about it a couple months ago. Well, it lit a fire under me and I decided to get to work on it.
I didn't know much about my smoker so I researched it and found some info on how to modify it for optimal use. I purchased a little "Smokey Joe" weber grill and used that for my fire pan. I put the ECB's legs on the out side of the smoker and set them on top of some blocks. The other mod I made was taking the vent of the Smokey Joe's lid and drilled 4 holes in the top of my ECB. I installed the vent and combined with the the one in the bottom of my "new" fire pan, I have a lot more control over the air flow.
First up...Bacon Wrapped Chicken Breasts. I used charcoal briquettes & apple wood. I used a chimney to get it going and then added the wood which I had soaked 30 min prior. The chicken had a rub I picked up from a store in KC on a work trip and then I wrapped them in 5 strips of thick cut hickory smoked bacon. I know 5 strips is overkill but I wanted to make sure the chicken didn't dry out. Besides who doesn't love more bacon? Smoked them for 4 hours @ 225. The chicken wasn't quite at temp and we had to eat in 20 mins so I placed them in a foil pan and we baked them to temp.
The end result was good. I put too much of the rub on them and yes, the bacon was overkill. I did learn a ton in the process about what to do and what not to do so over all it was a win for me. I don't know how you guys feel about using a foil pan or using the oven but at this point in the game I'm fine with it. I've got a buddy that told me after 5-6 hours the meat stops absorbing the smoke so at that point it's all temperature anyway.
The last two times I've done a pork shoulder. Steps as follows: charcoal briquettes, soaked apple wood, a rub recipe my friend gave me, a foil pan, 5 hours @ 230 (ish), after my 5 hours covered pan in foil and placed in oven @ 225 overnightn for another 6 hrs, pulled it out the next morning to let it sit for 30 min, shred.
I'm going to take that 5 day course that someone posted about and keep reading up on what I can do differently. I realize that I know very little but I'm excited to have started the process. I'm open to any suggestions/comments/instruction since I'm pretty new to this. I would love to learn from you guys! Thanks for reading and hopefully I'll see you all around the forums!