I'm very new to trying to use a smoker. Not being able to afford a nice expensive one I got a Master Forge at Lowe's for about $70 and after watching some youtube vids put dampers in the top and bottom, and made it so I can control the hole in the bottom that came with it. Also raised the water pan a bit so it's easier to add wood and shift the coals around.
I bought a digital "wireless" meat thermometer and cooked a pork shoulder, putting it on the well done pork setting which I believe was 160 degrees. When I put it in the meat I was planning on it taking about another 40 minutes but the thermometer said "H" so I figured that meant it was above the target temperature. So I closed all dampers and after a few minutes took the meat out, and it was still red inside. I returned the thermometer. Does anyone have any suggestions about that?
A week later I tried a chuck roast about the same size as the pork shoulder, just under 2.5 lbs. I cooked it for 2 hours at between 250 degrees and 300 which was about the same as the pork, and hoping it would still be red inside like the pork was (not having replaced the thermometer yet or still). But sadly it was well done and a bit dry. Does beef cook quicker than pork? Can anyone suggest how to not overcook beef, since I like it rare to medium rare?
I'm still trying to find a favorite rub. So far I like Butt Rub. I don't want anything very sweet or spicy. Is the way to apply it just to rub it on the meat and let it sit for a while? How long should it sit before cooking? I'm interested in any favorite rubs people have that are popular and easy to come by, and aren't very sweet or very spicy. Also in what type of wood people like for smoke. I soak it in water for an hour or more. I've tried apple, cherry and hickory and don't taste any difference between them, and don't get much of a smokey flavor out of any of them. I do taste a good smokey flavor from Mesquite though. Maybe my taste buds are going bad now that I'm 56 years old? Does anyone have any comments or suggestions about the wood to use?
Thank you for any help!