Santa Claus was good to us this year, a 22.5" Weber Smokey Mountain bullet arrived just before Christmas. Of course, the weather was damp very windy, so it was the centerpiece of the living room for a couple of days. It sat there, unmoving, like the monolith in the movie "2001". In preparation for the first fire, Christmas Day was spent cranking out 10 lbs. of bratwurst. Nine lbs. was vac'ed for freezing, and the rest refrigerated for the big day. Started off with a medium sized load of briquets, using a chimney full of lump in the center for the starter. This is one version of the Minion Method - allowing the charcoal to catch over time rather than firing it all at once. Four chunks of mesquite (not shown) were placed throughout the load to start sequentially as the charcoal burned. Next, two gallons of water were added to the water pan to keep the humidity up and to act as a "thermal flywheel" in helping to regulate the temperature over time. The racks were added, and I topped it off to let it come to temperature. Once the smoker hit 235 degrees, on went the four reserved brats (with a leftover spud) and a rack of spares in a Kansas City trim. the other small pieces of meat shown below represent about half of the trim from doing the KC trim. Some people, unbelievably throw this stuff away. These pieces cook much faster than the ribs and were reserved for "cook's treat". There has to be a reward for all the hard work, after all! These ribs were done "Texas style" - i.e., without saucing or foiling. Here's the way I do it. After trimming the rack to it's final form, the meat is dried well with paper towels. At that point it is liberally coated with Worcestershire sauce, and rather than a traditional rub, I use Bolner's 'Fiesta' brand Fajita Seasoning. There are no red pepper or sugar components, it's almost like a steak seasoning with extra garlic. Give it a try! The WSM maintained 225 to 235 degrees throughout the smoke session. The temperature was about 55 degrees and there was a 5-10 mph wind. I only had to adjust the lower vents once during the course of the smoke. Notice the Thin Blue Smoke - just like it ought to be... Below is the result - four perfectly smoked brats and a great rack! The little sausage spud and the "cook's treats" didn't survive the afternoon, however. They were consumed in the course of "quality control". The WSM cranked out an excellent smoke ring on the ribs, as shown below, which was great to see as these were very meaty spares. The camera has skewed the colors a bit, though. The meat pulled cleanly off the bone, but still had a little bite to it - just right. All in all the first smoke on the new cooker was a great success!