This is my first post.
I just bought a used pitts and spitts wood offset smoker off craigslist. It's a super, duper heavy duty 24" x 36" offset. I would say it's at little older than the model currently for sale.
My first and last smoker was a $30 (new) electric smoker. It didn't work too well; I took it personally; and haven't smoked anything in over 10 years because of the poor results (although I do general purpose charcoal grilling routinely)
The pitts and spitts might be overkill, but I have found that good sturdy equipment is good for a beginner! (I am a beginner smoker, but I do A LOT of general purpose cooking of all kinds, so I have decent knowledge principles such as frying, roasting, baking, temperature; when food is done; etc, etc...
Here are some questions I hope you can answer:
1. is there some kind of generic manual I can download for an offset smoker?
2. my smoker has a heavy duty ball valve at the bottom of the barrel: What is this for? Cleaning?
3. I read something about some of these smokers coming with a water pan. I don't think mine has one.
What is a water pan used for? where does it go if you use it (in the firebox?)
4. My firebox has several steel brackets above the grate where I guess you put the wood. What would I put on the grates in the firebox?
5. There is a nice heavy duty lidded box above the firebox. When I flip up the lid, there is an expanded metal tray in it. What is that used for? (warming tray of some sort?)
6. What would be a good smoking project for a total newbie (you know, something that is hard to totally ruin so as to build my confidence and something that would still be edible even if it's a mistake!)
Feel free to add comments about anything else I should know as I start!!
Thank you; Thank you!