I am going to try my hand at a couple of beer can chickens today. I plan on using Shooters Snake Bitten Chicken and Seafood Rub that I have heard many good things about. I also read several threads about the debate of whether or not to brine the birds. Since I don't have enough time, I have decided not to brine the birds this time. So, I have a couple of questions about procedure using a MES40 with an A-Maze-N pellet smoker: Should I put water in the water pan or dry? I am inclined to leave it dry. Is it okay to use a couple of disposable foil pans on the shelf below the birds to keep the smoker clean? Does it affect the amount of smoke that the birds absorb? I'm thinking of using apple pellets. Is that a good choice? I plan on smoking them at 275 degrees which is the highest setting for the MES40. I know the motto here is to cook based on temperature and not time but about how long should this take? On an order of magnitude, am I looking at 2 hours or 4 hours? Should I put the ET732 meat thermometer in at the beginning or wait an hour or so until the surface of the chicken is sufficiently hot? I have read the food safety threads but it sure seams like it would be much easier at the beginning rather than working within the hot smoker. Sorry for all of the questions but I want to make sure that I get this right.