Welcome. Good to have you as a new member.
Maybe I can shed a little light on this. I have used the Chief series for as long as I can remember. The Little Chief has a heat unit that is calibrated to get between 160F and 170F, tops. Even in good weather. As others say, in anything except the summer you really need a wind brake. Even then, it is a struggle. Interestingly, I still have one and it is still my smoker of choice for Salmon and other fish fillets, that I want to smoke "Low & Slow". I find it a much better choice than using something where I have to struggle to keep the temps down.
Having said all that, I understand that you have a 'Big Chief'. I still have one of those too. This unit has a heating element that will get you to 230F-240F on a good day. It might only reach 190F-200F in winter and even then you will probably need that trusty old wind brake.
Bottom line is, with even a Big Chief, you will spend quite a bit of time in the danger zone(40F to 140F) for anything of real size. You can use it successfully, but I would confine it's use to smaller cuts of meat which can make it through this temp range quickly enough to avoid any health problem. I would avoid cuts that typically get stalled in their cooking cycle or which present you with one of those prolonged plateaus. Since you will be unable to get up into that 300+F range, you will also find it almost impossible to get that crispy skin on poultry. If your family does not eat the skin, then this is a non-issue
But for ribs, butts and any other cut that you can safely smoke at under 250F you should be OK.
I know that you don't want to run out and buy another smoker. So use the Big Chief. Just use a good Probe type thermometer. Keep an eye on the internal temp of the meat and the temp inside the smoker. As long as you are not sitting in the danger zone, you can come up with some very tasty grub. Use this time as a learning time and then make your move to your next smoker, when you have a better idea of what you want and need.
Meanwhile have fun and continue to ask questions. There are lots of knowledgeable folks here who will gladly help you out.