Smoking and cooking using wood fired and charcoal fired heat
Smoking meat is both an art and a science. Much of the myth can be removed by reviewing and following technique.
First….buying a smoker is not hard, using it to the potential of that device is the portion that take some experimentation.
Second…how you prep the items you are smoking is very important
Third… What wood and how you treat that wood is paramount
The article that I have shared below is a very technical and great resource
Annotated from http://amazingribs.com/tips_and_technique/zen_of_wood.html
Putting wood to work
So here’s how to take advantage of this info.
Use cold meat. As described above, smoke is attracted to cold meat. Do not let the meat come to room temp. Besides, it takes forever for meat to come to room temp. Yet another myth.
Use a spice rub. Rough up the surface with a spice rub. A layer of spices and herbs helps to reduce the boundary layer so more smoke will stick.
Keep the meat moist. You can do this by spritzing the meat with a spray bottle you can buy in a drug store. A mop or basting brush can wash off your spice rub. You can use apple juice if you wish, but it adds very little to the flavor in comparison to the rub and sauce. You can use cranberry or pomegranate for color. But really, all you need is water. And don’t worry, opening the cooker every 30 minutes to spritz will not slow the cooking process measurably. Yet another myth.
Add humidity to the atmosphere with a water pan in the smoker. And don’t bother putting juice or beer in there. Use water pans in your smoker. They add water to the atmosphere, but more importantly the water slows evaporation keeping the meat’s surface moist.
Add wood early but only after the fire is hot. Meat soaks up more wood flavor at the start of the cook, and the colder the meat the more smoke it absorbs. But don’t put meat into a cooker with charcoal that is not fully engaged and belching smoke.