TLDR version: I found this forum a couple of months back while researching smokers. I've been lurking since then, but now that my return to the US is imminent I thought it a good time to register.
The full story: I have long been a fan of grilling and tailgating. However, having lived in condos in various cities (Miami, and now Dubai) over the last 10 years my ability to grill has been limited. Most condos do not permit grills on their balconies for safety reasons, but that didn't stop me from having a contraband grill. A modest Coleman Roadtrip was the perfect companion for discreet balcony grilling as well as tailgating events of any stripe. Since I'm registering on this forum it should come as no surprise that I was the guy cooking for a big group of well-lubricated twenty-somethings who were easily impressed by my modest abilities of what I could do with a fold-up grill and a condo kitchen. I rode that little Coleman until the wheels [literally] fell off, and it was unceremoniously (if appropriately) discarded by my wife when she was packing up our condo in Miami to move to Dubai (I was already here and didn't have a say in the matter). I agree with her that it was time to get rid of it, but I would have preferred to take it to the American Legion for a more honorable disposal. They offer that service for grills, right?
Fast forward a year and we are moving back to the good ol' USA. We have recently purchased a house in Orlando and she has already moved in; I'm hot on her heels coming back next week. I was always looking forward to having a nice patio, pool, and a modest grill for entertaining friends and family, but that's no longer the case. Having been in Dubai for a year I have been starved of good quality meats and especially pork. This has caused me to go full tilt in the other direction when I return to the states, so I'm jumping in to the world of smoking head first.
I found this site a couple of months back in the course of doing my research for an entry level yet reasonably high quality smoker that won't break the budget. Through all of my research I have landed on the 18.5" WSM, which my folks (ok, mostly my father) will graciously be buying me this week as a housewarming gift (I'm sure there's no ulterior motive for his enjoyment while they visit).
My initial plan was to buy both a smoker and a gas grill, the gas grill being for when time didn't permit a full smoke. One thing I quickly realized in reading this forum is that a lot of people have grills and then buy a smoker, at which point the grill begins to collect dust. So, I'll instead be buying the smoker first and will hold on the grill. And if I do want to go with a high heat grill for any reasons, the WSM can convert and act as a capable charcoal grill.
I've had a little experience with sausage making (Rytek Kutas's 1984 book being my foundation), so I am comfortable with the food safety side of smoking and curing when necessary. The one area I am not experienced is maintaining a fire and consistent temperature, but it seems like the WSM regulates fairly well. I'm optimistic I'll be able to dial it in within a few smokes and start to get some good Q.
I've enjoyed lurking so far and look forward to start contributing.
Edited by MCOKevin - 10/18/16 at 12:22am