I also have an Old Smokey Electric Smoker I received back on Father's Day, at my request.
Right off the bat I bought the thermometer designed for it for about $8.00.
I had also drilled a small hole in the lid for one of my probes, and placed a heat resistant sealant around it.
I use an inch or two of scentless cat litter in the bottom for grease absorbency, and it also helps to heat.
I have a shop vac, so rather than pour out the old litter, I suck it out with a shop vac.
I find that right now sittingon the back step with 100 degree Oklahoma weather, halfway between low and medium gives me about 225 degrees.
In a nutshell, whenever I cook or smoke chicken, I brine it first in about a cup of salt to a gallon of water...preferably overnight.
Pour off water, season well, let set some hours.
I brine pork as well.
With ribs, I season them well overnight, storing them in a plastic bag in the fridge.
By and large, I smoke ribs or chicken parts for about 2.5 to 3 hours.
About halfway through, I remove the racks, rearrange the chips with a spatula, and put the racks back in.
With ribs, chicken (whether whole or in parts) that kind of thing, I don't worry about the temperature, as the first few times I did it I found that it reaches 180 degress well before it's time to take it out.
When I do a turkey, I'll want to monitor the temperature.
Also, should I want to cook at 300-350 degrees and use it as an oven, I'll want to monitor the temp.
This smoker has quickly brought me to a god-like status at family get togethers and wine club meetings.
I've yet to do a brisket, but will be doing one soon.
Right now, I'm playing around with pouring worsestshire sauce in the drip pan, or a little bourbon.
Did smoked corn, and it was great!
Looking forward to hearing more...