I'm TBoneJack. I'm 53 years old, work as a Software Engineer, and I've just gotten into smoking meat.
I bought myself an 18.5" WSM, and I've read on this web site and others for the past 3 weeks. I seasoned my WSM according to Harry Soo's directions. And I finally smoked some meat for eating yesterday. And the results were very encouraging.
I smoked a pound of bacon on the bottom rack, and 8 chicken thighs on the top rack. The bacon was "already smoked", but I smoked it again anyway. I used Kingsford Blue briquettes for heat and apple wood chunks for smoke. And everything turned out great.
The bacon had a wonderful hint of apple smoke, while the chicken thighs had a wonderful hint of bacon flavor.
I used some generic sprinkle seasoning for the chicken; nothing fancy (yet). I added no seasoning to the bacon.
I smoked for 1.5 hours, and the temperature was very easy to control. I didn't reach a "steady state", where the temperature just stayed steady for a long time. But the temperature swings were very slow, and easily compensated for with a slight adjustment of the bottom vents. With practice, I hope to be able to reach steady states which require no vent adjustments for hours at a time.
The most notable temperature "swing" was when I added the cold meat: the temperature fell from 225 to 190, and stayed there for a long time. I fully opened all the bottom vents, and the temperature (very) slowly climbed to 225.
I used water in the water bowl, which probably slowed the temperature swings.
This is fun. New discovery. Which is great at my stage of life. A new hobby, which may turn into an obsession. But for now, I'll settle for a hobby.
Next week, I'm smoking chicken quarters. And by July 4th, I plan to be smoking pork spare ribs. And by Labor day, I plan to try the pinnacle (for me) of smoking meat: beef brisket.
Wish me luck.