Hi, I am Dan and have been lurking here for a number of years. You guys seem to have the best advice on how to combine meat and smoke. Happy 4th, I decided I didn't want to fight traffic to see fireworks, and it seemed time to catch up on some administrative crap like actually registering.
I am in Hermitage, Tn, and technically have been smoking meat for 25 years, I say technically because there was a 20 year gap between the first time and when I started doing it on a recurrent basis. The first time, I was living in south Florida and was missing old home-style BBQ for the Fourth of July. Home is Fayetteville, which Moore County (Lynchburg) was carved out of, and they do NC style BBQ. My grandmother gave me the recipe for BBQ dip and a couple of cousins on Mom's side had a bit of experience with performing the art. Mom got one of the cousins to tell her the technique and she had about 800lbs of hickory cut and sent down south. I drove to Miami (the nearest place to get a whole dressed-out pig) and picked up a 150 pounder. I stopped on the way back to get a load of concrete blocks (already got a piece of bull wire from a horse place in Delray) and a sheet of 1/4" plywood, and we built a pit on the beach. It too about an hour to figure out we needed a separate pit to burn the wood to create coals, but we finally got it smoking. The plywood is the cover, and if you can't hold your hand on the plywood, it's too hot. About 18 hours later, there were 200 people there and that pig disappeared in about 30 minutes.
Fast forward 20 years, and I am back in Tennessee, and bought a cheap Brinkman electric. It works, with patience. I discovered that the squirrel who wired the house put the back deck outlet on the same circuit as the garage when I turned on the compressor and the smoker tripped the breaker. But I only smoke a few times a year now, because 1) it's fattening and 2) there are so many great places to get BBQ around here. Also, I can no longer eat pork, so I resorted to Texas style. Now it's brisket, pastrami, turkey, and salmon.
The supermarket had some tempting looking short ribs today, which is what got me sniffing around here tonight.
BTW, here is granny's recipe for NC style BBQ dip:
Big box of black pepper