Built my first smoker 65 years ago: a 50 gal drum with a flattened bicycle basket near the top with an old blanket for a cover. The bottom was cut out and an 8ft length of stovepipe went underground to a pit where I burned dry applewood from our orchard. I used a salt brine overnight. Since then I've had a number of Little Chiefs and several smokers made from old refrigerators with a cut-out bottom and a 5 gallon metal bucket with a hotplate in the bottom, keeping the heat away from the meat. I used a rheostat and thermometer to keep the temp constant for a cold smoke, generally. Nowadays I use a Smoky Mtn stainless gas smoker that I've converted to electricity, except when I make a variety of game sausages that require more heat. I fish/hunt so I have plenty of venison, salmon, steelhead, halibut, etc.
My main reason for joining the Forum is to learn to make the kind of salmon jerky commercially sold in the Seattle area -- so far I have had no luck in duplicating it.