My name is Elan and I live in Riverton UT. I have never owned a smoker before but have always wanted one. I love to cook everything so next was smoking. I've been using these boards to learn from for about a week now. A week ago I bought a Brinkmann Vertical Charcoal Smoker (the $69 at Home Depot) and this is my first smoker. I started with some country style ribs from the Grocery store. I smoked them with hickory chips and was using briquets, but I am in search off hardwood coal (I heard there is some at a Walmart close by). The ribs turned out really good, which was surprising. I made my own charcoal basket out of some wire that I had left over from fencing and that helped get the temp up in my Brinkmann. Before the wire basket I made I had trouble getting over 175 degrees, but with the wire I was at 210. And then with a box over top the entire smoker I got it up to 230 consistent. I made jerky a few days ago (beef) and it turned out pretty good, didn't use any wood chips, just charcoal and marinade 24 hours for flavor. It was good, but I think I needed to start with thicker cuts for my jerky. Wells, thats it for now!