Hi. My name is Byron. I have never smoked meats before. I don't even own a smoker yet. I signed up for the e-course. I am leaning strongly to buying the Brinkmann Electric Gourmet smoker. Looks like it is easy to use and maybe I can modify it later. Also need a meat thermometer it sounds like. Saw a post in the forums for a Maverick ET-901 for $20 and free shipping. At this point I don't know if I need a digital or an old fashioned one. With the digitals do you stick the probe in the meat and run the wire to the outside of the the smoker and leave it like that?