Hi Rich and welcome to the forum.
Great to have you on board. There are a growing number of us this side of the pond and Steve has pointed you towards the UK specific area of the forum. The UK group is fully integrated into the whole forum and is seen by all members and many of our US colleagues are active contributors. We do, however try to tackle some of the challenges that are more specific to the UK and Ireland.
What brand of barrel smoker did you get? Post up a couple of photos if you get a chance. The evolution from grilling to smoking is a natural one and I think you will enjoy the transition. It does require the development of quite different techniques that will vary by smoker. With grilling you are probably familiar with cooking on graduated direct heat over relatively short periods of time. With hot smoking you will be learning to keep the inside of the smoker as a consistent relatively low temperature for many hours. In order to do this you need to master the fine control of air that is allowed to pass into the firebox and through the cooking chamber.
Depending on the type of smoker you have you may need to perform some minor modifications to help with the temperature control. The first and most important thing is to ensure that the doors and lid on the firebox are reasonably airtight. Too much air being allowed to pass over the coals will result in temperatures increasing. Having a good seal on the door of your cooking chamber will help too.
Before you try to smoke anything too important spend some time just learning about how to stabise the temperature in your smoker then plump for something that is quite forgiving and inexpensive - maybe a chicken or a rack of ribs. Once you have mastered that then move on to the pork shoulder and the brisket.