Mike, if you have a remote thermometer it takes all the guess work out of smoking. Seriously if you know the recommended mininium internal temp. you can't go wrong. Everything else is only to modify flavorings. The thermometer is a great learning tool. It cuts 75% out of the learning curve. Use it as a tool and not a crutch. The best way to do this is to start a smoke journal, sort of like a snipers kill book. Heres some to use as inspiration. Its the easiest to forget to do, but really the most important in your learning process. if you don't remember what you've done, you can't remember how to do it again or how you'd like to improve upon it. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/attachments/3 Don't just remember the safe temps and use a thermometer, learn to use your head and your experience. Someday when your thermometer craps out and its a biog smoke, you'll apprceiate knowing how to do it. Don't get all fancy at first, just cook the meat with a little smoke. Don't over smoke it. And nothing else really matters except getting it cooked to approx. the safe IT. Leave the door shut, you can't make it cook better, you just slow it down. Patience, Patience, Patience...... and a few tall cold drinks. Bon Chance and looking forward to your Q-view of your smoke.