A friend of mine bought a house some time ago which was endowed with a smoker in the back. This thing is huge, built out of concrete block. It must be at least six feet high, and three/four feet on each side. Turns out, the guy hasn't used the smoker in the two years he's owned the house, shameful indeed. To reverse that, I've been looking online for how-tos on smoking meat and using a smoker, but all I've found is info on smaller, portable smokers. Even worse are websites that want me to give them cash to gain any insight on the science.
I suppose the premise should be the same with any size or structure, I'm just not sure on whether to use charcoal, wood, or a combination of the two; how much; how long, etc. In fact, I'm not very proficient on the grill either; I have quite a bit to learn.
So, I'd love to hear tips and advice from chowhounders on the topic of smoking meat, or perhaps recs for an instructional cookbook or website. I think we'll start with ribs, so any recipes for those (or anything that you can recommend for a beginner) would also be appreciated. At this point, I really just need to know where to start.