Hi All, Well, thanks to all the folks here, I had my very first successful (for the most part) smoke on Saturday. Overall, I was very pleased with the results for my first smoke. I smoked 3 racks of pork spare ribs using 3 different rub recipes (2 home-made, 1 store bought). I used the 3-2-1 method, which worked well for me. In the end I realized I should have used much more rub (the rub flavor didn't really come through all that much) and I needed to let them sit in the fridge longer with the rub on. I also should have let the ribs come to room temp before I put them in the smoker. I knew little mistakes like this would be made, and I didn't let them disappoint me that much. A couple adult beverages took care of my worries. Here's what they looked like, pre-smoker: And here's me saying goodbye to my status as a smoking "virgin" with a celebratory beverage. Trust me, I am happy and excited in this picture, just very tired from a long Friday night! Here's the ribs at about the 2 hour mark, after their second mop: So far so good... By this point, I was already planning my next smoke (you guys were right, I'm hooked already!) Here we are at about the 5 hour, 30 minute mark (after the 2 hours in foil and apple juice). Boy, was I excited to see them bones sticking out! One final picture (a thing of beauty), this was about 45 minutes before they came out of the smoker: I don't have any Q-view of the finished product for a couple reasons. a) It was dark outside when they came out and my camera phone's flash really bites. b) Time restrictions: As soon as they were done, I had to leave to go to my job as a DJ. So, I split them in half, wrapped them all up and took half of each rack with me to the bar I work at. I refrigerated the other halves. Once we got to the bar and unwrapped the ribs to share, the wonderful hickory smell filled the bar and had people gawking. The reviews were terrific. Seems the crowd was happier with the results than I was. I was somewhat disappointed with the lack of rub flavor and a couple other minor imperfections. However, people's comments really made me feel better about the whole thing. I took the other halves with me to the bar yesterday for the Pats-Cowboys game. Covered with Sweet Baby Ray's and re-heated in the oven. The reviews were even better the second time around. They were devoured in minutes. I even got a "these are some of the best ribs I've ever tasted" remark, which really made this smoke feel like a success. Definitely not bad for my first time! I need to make some minor adjustments next time. First and foremost, the rubber seal on the door to my MES is just not cutting it. I either need to replace it or re-seat it so I don't have so many leaks. I was getting more smoke coming out of the door than I was through the vent, which didn't sit well with me. At times, the smoker had a hard time coming up to temp, and I believe it was heat loss from those trouble areas in the door. I had read that this was a frequent issue with the MES, so I was prepared for that. Also, I think I would have fared better if I let the smoker come up to temp before putting the meat in. I realize that I was a little impatient and next time I'll give myself more time. Other than that, I felt it was a very successful day, and I couldn't have done it without the help of all the wonderful people here on SMF. THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU for all your help and advice!