Before I started seriously hot smoking meat just over two years ago I did all my cooking on the stove, oven, or grill. I've been cooking for other people since I was 19. I am a self-taught cook, using a Fannie Farmer cookbook to teach myself how to eat better food than the university chow line offered. That cookbook has more than 40 years of handwritten notes in it. Although I've probably accumulated more than 60 other cookbooks in the library since that first purchase, that Fannie Farmer cookbook is one of two personal cooking treasures. The other is a cookbook software that I use daily to input recipes found online or created from the neurons in my brain. My computer hard drive crashed this past January and my immediate concern was to recover the recipes in my cookbook software backups when a new hard drive was installed.
I typically followed recipes obsessively for times, temps, and techniques. All that changed when I started hot smoking meat. There was such a huge range of times, temps, and techniques for hot smoking any one cut of meat that I experimented with each and every step of the process. By using the instincts developed from four decades of cooking and not wanting to babysit a smoker all day or night, I put my own time, temp, and technique processes together. Meat in general, no matter what the cut or what people claim is gospel, can tolerate a wide variety of times, temps, and techniques. All that matters is what works for you individually.