I'm an amateur smoker in New Hampshire. Family and friends all say they like what I smoke, but I'm sure can do better. I like to smoke just about anything though ribs, brisket and fish (salmon and trout) are the usual fare.
I have a cheap, Char-Grill offset smoker (Tractor Supply special). I've modified it a bit (thanks to this forum) by adding flashing in the smoke stack to lower it to the rack surface. The the smoker-side has a large charcoal tray to allow use as a humongous charcoal grill. I use the tray as a baffle, raising it as high as it goes to force much of the firebox heat under it. Does a pretty good job for a cheapie. Thinking of making it more airtight to see if that will ease up on the fuel consumption (this thing really eats the charcoal).
Particularly challenging is smoking in the winter. I shovel some of the coals under the baffle on the smoker side to get the temp up. Sometimes, if it is cold enough, you can just pick up the coals with your frozen fingers and toss 'em to the other side.
Probably could throw on a fiberglass blanket on the smoke (and a wool one on myself) to help with the temperature.
However, once the snow buries the smoker I'll call an end to the season. Too hard to keep a fire going when the snowmelt keeps putting it out.
I live on the edge of a forest. Plenty of Oak, Maple, Hickory, just lying around waiting to be gathered. Also lots of apple orchards for apple wood. Ironically, my favorite smoking wood is Mesquite. To harvest that wood I need to visit a local grocer. Boy do thy get nervous when you walk into the store with an axe.
Looking forward to being part of the forum.
SmokeFreeOrDie in the LiveFreeOrDie State.