I am pretty new to smoking meat, but have a few books and ideas. right now I am primarily going to use the stand-alone fire box for some initial smoking, I'd love some hints, but basically here's what my plans are:
The grill I will start with is the Char-griller fire box and it is meant to be attached to complete an offset smoker. However, I don't have the other part yet and this can be used as stand-alone a charcoal grill. I figure that I can use it as a mini smoker by putting the coals on one side and the meat on another with some wood chips or chunks in with the coals (in packets, probably) and a water pan directly above the coals. This leaves me with a pretty small area to smoke meat on - probably about 10" x 10", and I have no idea if I'm going to have a cold spot.. I figure the water pan will divert the heat (and smoke) horizontally somewhat and since it is such a small smoker the cold spots will be fairly insignificant.
Also, I have some wood in my wood shed (mostly for our wood stove) that is apple, cherry, pear and pine.. I really need to figure out how to separate out the pine - to be honest, I haven't looked really hard at it yet. The fruit woods I can mix and am not too worried about separating them from each other, but I definitely don't want to accidentally put in a stick of pine.
Okay, that's my intro. see you on the boards.