I see a lot of new folks around and would like to add a few simple observations in no particular order that may help our new friends. This is not to sound preachy, just helpful observations. Most of my posts have this theme in there somewhere. Feel free to add others as you see fit.
1. You will get conflicting advice from people on TV, in cookbooks, on the internet, etc. BBQing is a craft, and craftsmen often have differing opinions on the best way to do things.
2. Your own common sense is probably pretty good. Trust it. You'll find what works for you over a short time as you become a craftsman.
3. It's actually fairly difficult to ruin BBQ, so don't worry about it too much. If craftsmen over hundreds of years have done it, you can, too.
4. BBQ cooking temp is a range. Control your pit temp but really, anywhere plus or minus 25* is fine. Don't chase temps. Close enough is good enough.
5. Have patience. Give it the time it needs to cook without you watching, mopping, spritzing, etc every five minutes.
6. There are a bazillion gadgets and gizmos on the market. Though they're fun to play with, very few are actually required to produce great BBQ. A long lasting, clean burning fire and good technique is more important than expensive equipment. Famous Dave started by cooking in a trash can.
7. Cook easy stuff first. Try other's recipes before modifying them until you gain confidence. Then feel free to experiment based on principles you've learned.
8. Backyard BBQ for your friends and family is not competition "one bite" BBQ. You would not want a whole meal of competition BBQ. Careful which recipe you use that you saw on Pitmasters.
9. Have fun. Relax. It's just cooking. It's not suppose to be stressful.
10. Cook to your family and friends preferences. If they like fall off the bone ribs, cook them that way. If they like what you cook, you'll be asked to cook more.