Hello, I am new to these forms but have spend at least ten hours on this site in the past week. I just finished my first smoke on my new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker (22.5" model) last weekend. I cooked a beef brisket, some chicken, and twice baked potatoes. This was a practice run for the baptism I am hosting this weekend. I made plenty of mistakes that I will mention below. The brisket and potatoes turned out really good. The chicken legs need some work. Anyways, here are a few of my "rookie" mistakes: I used Cowboy lump charcoal from Ace Hardware. This stuff burned hot and only lasted four hours. Also, the weight of the bag seemed about half of what Kingsford Blue is (difference between lump and brick??). When I added approximately two chimneys to replenish, I incurred a 350 degree temperature spike (my fault ) that lasted about 20 minutes. And yes, I did find a few pieces of plywood in my bag. I didn't taste any glue in my food so that is good. I'm now switching to Stub's brick charcoal that I picked up from Lowes. I purchased two of the clearance wireless thermometers at Sears (one for brisket, one for internal smoker temp). The problem is that they run off of the same frequency, so both readers were reading off of the same transmitter giving me the same temp. I'm picking up a wireless Oregon Scientific from Cabela's tonight. I'm hoping this runs off of a different frequency. You can never have too many thermometers!! I used a rub on the chicken legs. They turned out mediocre at best. I will now be switching to a brine (or maybe tenderquick applied the night before), finishing them with a mop sauce for the last 1/2 hour. I used red potatoes for the twice baked potatoes. The problem is that when you cut them in half and restuff them, they are round and tip over easy in the smoker. I will be switching to an oval potatoe like an Idaho. Also, my timing was off. I finished two hours ahead of schedule. I believe the 350 degree temp spike had something to do with this. Anyways, that round of mistakes is over and I have a new game plan. The only thing I didn't consider until today is the fact that I am a God-parent which throws me a curve ball. This means I have to attend church from 11am - 12 and have everything ready for the 1pm meal. Wish me luck!!