I know, I know, but that's another subject for another forum. Let's, for now, talk about smoking meat and other edibles. I grew up in Central Texas, went to school in Austin, lived here and there (Houston, Chicago, Dallas, Portland OR, Austin, Seattle) and landed, 25 years ago, on the Olympic Peninsula on an island (Marrowstone) in the Puget Sound. Since there were no BBQ joints close by, I had to make my own. I started with a New Braunfels Black Diamond offset that it took four of us to get up on my deck. After 10 or 12 years of fun with the NBBD, my wife decided that my coming to bed after a night of tending the smoker, smelling of hickory and PBR, had to stop, so she bought me a Bradley Digital Smoker for Christmas. She was nervous and I tried to act appropriately appreciative. "What the hell is this office refrigerator with a bunch of hockey pucks?" I thought, but didn't say. "Thanks, Sweetie, what a wonderful and thoughtful gift," is what I said. Then I tried it. I am now a true believer in Lazy Q the Bradley way. I have done salmon, halibut, steelhead, scallops, mussels & oysters from my beach, shrimp, Dungeness crab, chicken (whole & parts), turkey breasts, duck breasts, beef (brisket, chuck, prime rib, tri-tip, eye of round, clod), pork (butts, loin, tenderloin, belly, whole), lamb (leg, rack, shoulder, whole), and assorted cheese, veges, etc. I have, over the years, made all the mistakes and enjoyed all the triumphs you would expect, from waiting until midnight for a pork butt to finally finish so we could eat it (didn't matter - we were so sloshed at that point) to smoking and serving up 48 pounds of pulled pork to 100 or so folks at a local apple-cider pressing event. (Please don't tell Bradley that I did 48 pounds of pork butt in a 4 rack smoker - I think it's a tad over their recommended maximum load.)
BBQ, generally, and smoking stuff, in particular, is one of the most absorbing and rewarding things a guy can do. I am a sponge for tips, tricks, and advice from everyone out there and will give back the same.
By the way, since I grew up in the 50's, when you actually could take your car apart and put it back together (Hmmm, I wonder where this little spring went - Oh well, it doesn't seem to matter.), I could not resist "opening the hood", voiding all the warranties, and tinkering with what was a perfectly good smoker to begin with. My Bradley now has 900-watt finned heating element, a convection fan, and an Auber PID controller. I also clad the unit with P-Max 3/4 " rigid-foam insulation to retain heat in the cooler parts of the year. It works like a charm.
I am thawing a brisket flat right now to do a dry-cured, steamed pastrami and thinking about doing another pulled lamb shoulder, this time with Mediterranean seasonings instead of the Western Kentucky version I did last year.
Happy smoking! Let me know what you are doing and what you think works.