As it stands this winter, I have an old farm disc sitting inside the house. I put my wood on it and light it up. Once its going good, I put a bottomless coffee can on it, around the wood. Then I put something on top of the can to sort of control the draft. There are holes on the bottom sides of the can as well. Its crude, and a pain to regulate. I am going to build a small wood stove, kinda like the size of a mailbox, this spring. I will be able to control the burn rate much better then.
What I am wanting to get at is a smokebox away from the house. Something I can really control better than what I have now. It works real well as it is, but requires a little more attention. I couldnt let it smoke overnight for it would go out. But when its cold, I just leave the meat in there anyways. Los of pluses living in cold country. ;)
I mainly use alder, sometimes I mix with apple. Dont care much for hickory, first because I'd have to buy it, second, it seems a strong bitter smoke.
The house doesnt get warm at all. I only cold smoke. I generally smoke meats for 1-2 days. I generally liquid brine my meats (not usually beef though) first. I dont do rubs, dont care for them that much. Once in a rare while I will rub some ribs, lightly. The sausages are ready to throw on the grill or fry pan, however you decide you like them.