I'm from south east Michigan. The idea of owning a smoker started creeping into my mind about a year ago. A buddy of mine smoked a pike that my 7 year old son caught. It was easily the best pike we've ever eaten. Since then, I've been reading reviews on different web sites, keeping my eye on prices and talking to a few friends.
I came across this site a few weeks ago and I read some of the threads and reviews it has to offer. I'm pretty sure that is what pushed me over the edge. For an early father's day gift, I decided to give it a go.
I purchased a Masterbuilt 2 door vertical, propane smoker (it is reviewed on this site http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/products/masterbuilt-two-door-propane-smoker ) from Bass Pro Shops. Of course it went on sale for $20 less than I paid for it a week later. Bass Pro was more than happy to refund the difference so ultimately it was about $150. I think I'll reinvest that into a meat thermometer.
The only thing I've had a chance to do with the smoker so far has been season it and smoke 3 sucker fish. I made a brine with some salt, brown sugar and onion / garlic powder. I used chunks of hickory for the smoke. I smoked them a little long (3 hours) for the two smaller pieces, but all in all I enjoyed my 1st effort. My son and neighbor agreed, it was good but I should get better.
Anyway, I found that this site has already given me a lot of information that I never had before. Additionally, I signed up for the 5 days of email tips, which have also helped. I figured I need to join and really explore what you guys have to offer. I look forward to learning how to make some good meals and (who knows) maybe even share some of what I learn along the way...
This weekend I'm hoping to smoke a pork loin.