Thanks to DjDeb, mssmith, and ultramag for the welcome. I purchased the smoker from a guy in KC.
It's official. I'm still a noob, just not a virgin anymore. I started at 8:30 am and finished at 2:15 p.m.
It took awhile to get the fire started as I didn't want to use starting fluid. Once It started it took a good 45 minutes to get even close to hot enough. I'll use more kindling-- and I'm certain I can improve the initial startup next time.
I rubbed the ribs last night using the following:
1/2 cup paprika
1/4 cup chili powder
3 tbsp. salt
2 tbsp. ground coriander
2 tbsp. garlic powder
2 tbsp. sugar
2 tbsp. curry powder
2 tbsp. hot dry mustard
1 tbsp. black pepper
1 tbsp. dried basil
1 tbsp. dried thyme
1 tbsp. ground cumin
1 tbsp. cayenne pepper
I'm certain I used too much rub as the ribs were simply overpowered with the rub flavoring. I did not use ANY rub on the sirloin and it was a little dry, as I put it in for too long, but the flavor was PERFECT. I was thinking about next time using little to no rub at all, or any other rub recipe suggested by members.
The ribs were dry as well. I think that I got them too hot as the temp got to about 260 or 270ish a few times... and of course I was chasing the temp around for hours before finally settling down to 235ish for the finish.
All in all a wonderful day smoking with a pretty dang good meal after. Looking forward to next weekend-- gonna try again and will zero in on getting that temp steady.