I don't spend no where near as much time as I need to here at Smoking Meat.com I have been recently though and I've picked up on some things I'll be doing over the winter.
I have a Brinkman Trailmaster that I'll be adding a chimney extension and baffle to as well as getting some tuning plates. I started paying attention to the pictures of final products though and see a marked difference in what I see here and mine. My meat is delicious, of that I have no doubt based on what people tell me. Here's how I go about making it. Anything you notice will help. My meats invariably come out very very dark. I have fallen in love with the pics of the golden brown finished products I see here though.
I rub down whatever I'm cooking be it ribs, bird or butts. I use a homemade rub that people have offered to pay for. I coat it nicely the night before to imbue some flavor into the meat. To get the smoker going I make a pyramid of charcoal, light it up and let the center get red. I have Bradford Pears and pecan trees on my property so that is primarily the wood I use with some maple or oak thrown in. Sometimes I soak the wood in a bucket of water overnight sometimes I don't. I use logs about 18" long and anywhere from an inch to 4 inches in diameter. I flatten out the pyramid and sit the wood on top. Large pieces I use one at a time smaller ones I'll use 2 or 3. I keep an eye on the firebox throughout and make sure I have a decent fire going. I read in a post about how the smoke is supposed to be blue to invisible. Mine is usually heavy and white. I don't get a bad taste and I have no buildup on the inside of my smoker.
Reading the posts I note a disdain for charcoal. Being a city boy that's the only way I know how. how do I go about starting a wood fire. I have tons of small branches, twigs and sticks. Thanks for any help.