I just bought my first (and really inexpensive) vertical charcoal smoker (Brinkmann Gourmet Smoke'n Grill). I rushed home all excited "I'm go'na smoke meat" (a manly thing). I got out my ribs, prepared my dry rub, let them sit for a couple of hours, prepared the smoker (lump charcoal), lit 'er up, waited 20 minutes (as per the instructions), made sure that the thermometer stayed in the "IDEAL" zone and in 6 hours I had shoe leather. I know that I bought a cheap smoker but I didn't want to make an investment until I tried once or twice. I never had to top up the charcoal or water pan (in fact it stayed hot for a couple more hours afterwards). I didn't baste or spritz because I wanted to see how a basic smoking turned out....not good.
I am still not running out to buy a more expensive smoker but does anyone have some suggestions for what I did wrong. I'm sure that I must be able to get better results than this (even with a cheap smoker). I assumed that with low heat and the moisture from the water pan that it would be virtually impossible to overcook my ribs....I was wrong.