Hey All! I just recently moved to Hattiesburg MS from Pensacola FL (Gulf Breeze more specifically) and I think it's time to find a new hobby; and here I am. I was planning on having a big cookout this summer to entice my friends and family up for a visit and originally was thinking "Crawfish Boil!!!" got to thinking, I dont live on the coast anymore...i'll have to drive a decent bit to get them...i cant borrow a 120 qt pot from a buddy down the street...this is going to just be a hassle. I love to grill and I just moved into a house, well I dont have a nice grill. So I was looking into getting a nice charcoal/gas grill combo. I stumbled into seeing a Charcoal/Gas/Smoker combo and then I saw a few COS's and thought, yes...this is what I want. I have not purchased a smoker yet but I am literally already drooling over all the possibilities. Ive been lurking on this forum for about a week wondering what I am going to smoke first. I currently am thinking of getting a COS from Amazon - Char-Broil American Gourmet Offset Smoker, Deluxe. @ $195 i feel like that is a decent starting point. its got close to 700 sq inches of cooking space and I've already got a list of mods that I will do to this smoker. First off, if I am completely wrong in thinking this is a decent starting point for me in this price point range, someone please direct me to where I should be looking. Secondly - Mod list before I even start a fire in it - Hit it with a coat of nice, high temp grill paint to try and help keep it in decent shape, as it will live outside. - Baffle/Heat diffuser to direct heat across the bottom of the cooking chamber instead of up and diagonally out - Two additional temperature gauges - Water pan; probably nothing permanent -- ** question about water pan, does the water pan need to be below the cooking surface?? - Extending the exhaust from the top of the cooking chamber to grate level - Baffle Plates - probably just going to cut some cookie sheets and use those -- ** question about baffle plates, i assume they need to be above the bottom of the Baffle/Heat diffuser?? that way to effectively direct heat across the bottom of the cooking chamber? - Red RTV to seal major smoke leaks, if and where needed That is probably it as far as mods before I do cook - realistically that will probably do for a good bit. What are bricks used for underneath the cooking grate?? Thirdly - point me in the right direction (links) of fantastic threads I should read!!!!! I really really want to smoke a turkey. And ribs, but it turns out i need a lot of schooling on ribs - babyback, spare, st louis, country ribs, 3-2-1, etc etc etc...I basically know nothing. Can you smoke (only smoke, not 3-2-1) ribs and have them be delicious?? Point me there! I have a mechanical background, my main hobby is cars. I have three vehicles right now but I'm not close to any of my friends to go racing or off roading. I cannot weld - so the mods are going to need to be achieved with a drill and screws/bolts n nuts... Anyways, I am extremely excited to start smoking and I cannot wait until I actually have a smoker on my back porch.