There is a little tube you pull out on the side and you dump @1/2 cup of chips (Hickory, Maple, Mesquite etc.) slide it in and turn it and it dumps them into a little hopper that sits over a burner and it slowly burns the chips causing them to smolder (no flames) and smoke. Depending on what you are smoking will vary the temp. The leg quarters were smoked for @5+ hours at 225°. you keep a pan of water underneath the food and above the heat to keep the moisture in.
I'll probably try some ribs this weekend. They don't take as long but I'm going to load her up and have plenty of leftovers. :2th:
Typically I will smoke two turkeys and two boston butts or two shoulders, I like them both and have approx 40lbs of meat to work with when done. Great for sandwiches, soups, stews, gumbo, or just a plate full of savory meat.
I've been very happy with my Masterbilt. Only problem I have is if it is too cold outside, I have to use a hair dryer to warm up the control panel. Once it will turn on, it works well.
I've yet to make a rack of ribs I love yet. I'll keep practicing.
On a side note, I found if you wrap the water dish in foil before adding water, it makes clean-up MUCH easier.
I do not use a rack.
You can also line the floor with foil.
After i looked at your picture again, thought I would add, if I'm
not using all the shelves for smoking, I take out the empties so there
is less to clean.
Funny story (not to me) After I got the smoker, my best bud was over and we had several beers while breaking in the unit.
When it came time to add the wood, Dave pulled out the tray and held it out for me to put the wood in. For some reason I put out my other hand and cupped the hopper before adding the wood. Luckily there was a large pile of snow for me to stick my hand in and only got 3 blisters. I thought Dave was going to wet his pants. He couldn't stop laughing for an hour.
Ouch! Talk about battle scars . . .
I use the rib racks and it allows me to put more in the smoker while keeping them from touching each other. Seems to work out pretty good, as I have had no complaints yet. I do have to remove a shelf or two when I'm doing ribs as they stand tall in the racks.
I usually don't have any space left when I load it up anymore, those pics were my "trial run" with a few leg quarters. Now, I make it worth the effort and usually have left overs for a couple days.