Thanks all for the warm welcome.
Seasoned the new smoker on Saturday morning, and ran a rack of spares through it (sorry - no QView this time) on Saturday afternoon.
I made a quick rub of ground pepper, kosher salt, chili powder, onion powder, garlic powder, and paprika.
Ran about 2 hrs. through the smoke at ~ 275 deg. with a full water pan on the grill grate, directly above the firebox-to-smoke chamber inlet.
I spritzed with apple cider vinegar and sauced at the 2 hour mark, then let the sauce set for 15-30 mins. in the smoke.
I then spritzed and sauced again and wrapped them, then let them go another ~2 hours in foil before pulled them off based on feel.
I kept both the chimney and firebox door wide open throughout, and regulated temps with my fire size (started with lump & wood, then used red oak exclusively). Had no issue with bad smoke/creosote this way - just clean/blue smoke all afternoon - but it burns through wood quickly!
My overall thoughts after my first smoke:
- Overall, ribs came out much better than expected for my first time -- great smoke ring, very tender and pulled from the bone very easily, without falling off.
- I was measuring 30+ degrees higher at the chimney thermometer than grate-level (heat coming out of the firebox and traveling up and then across); I've already extended the chimney down to grate level since, and will be adding deflector and tuning plates to even out temps across the grill -- I realized this would be an issue beforehand, and tried to use the water pan to help deflect.
- I didn't have time to pick up seasoned oak beforehand, so I was just using some kiln dried red oak that I had around. The kiln dried stuff burned hot, and fast! That + the issues above meant I was tending the fire very frequently to maintain temp.
I'm picking up about 1/3 face cord of some seasoned oak this week for another smoke (pork butt!) this during the week - it's normal to take a vacation day just to smoke meat, right?. I'll throw up a new thread in the pork section with QView.