I have over the years growing up in NC and VA developed a passion for quality smoked food. I believe that if something is properly prepared and smoked your taste buds cannot be offended. Now with that being said the wife and I typically experience disappointment the majority of the time when we visit smokehouses. She jokingly says I blame you as I have created the expectation of good food that cannot be achieved elsewhere. I want to say that I am not a professional or by any way try to state this. I simply follow some basic guidelines when I smoke. The number 1 offence we find is over cooking the food. I am not sure if the food is cooked properly then pulled or chopped tossed on a warming table and continues to cook and dry out however regardless dry meat IMO is not a desirable thing. When I smoke meat there is one basic simple process that I always follow. I have a moisture pan in the smoker. This provides a moist smoke to allow the meat to remain moist and also I think the smoke takes on a quality of its own. Now I do not use water in the pan. I use different juices. My primary is apple juice which provide along with the hickory a hint of apple to the meats final taste without overpowering it with “smoke” I will also add different items to the drip pan to add to the season of the smoke like garlic or other spices that complement that style of meat. Then I plan my day around smoking and set aside 12 to 14 hours of my life to being around the smoker so that there is a constant temperature of 225 to 250 in the smoker. Monitor the meat temperature to around 180 degrees also ensure it is not burned or dried out. I also find that many times the food it in my opinion over seasoned. Yes I grew up in the land of vinegar based BBQ however you need to taste and enjoy every part of the meal. This is simple as you should not be overwhelmed by the vinegar or the or the paprika etc. You should be able to taste every component evenly. There should not be anything that overpowers the other to the point of not tasting anything else. I find many sauces overwhelming the taste also. I use BBQ sauce however it is not soaked in the sauce again overpowering the meat or other elements of the meal. As this section develops I hope that we can provide everyone with a good understanding of what needs to take place to have a great meal.