Sounds like you guys are getting the hang of this BBQ stuff!
Thanks RibDog for the excellent input. For the rest of you folks, he is a fantastic cook and a great addition to the board! RibDog....I would never dream of beating you up!! LOL Over the years I have mellowed in my opinions on things!
For those that are struggling with smoker temps. If you have one of the cheaper off-sets...under $800...there are some mods you can make that will increase your temp control greatly. I will post these under a new heading as this one is getting long.
For Paul and others who have the cheap water smokers, check out this site for the mods you guys can make...... http://www.randyq.addr.com/ecb/ecbmods.html
The biggest problem with these is the use of a small charcoal pan. After a couple of hours, your briqs will drown themselves in the ash and die out. You need to constantly stir, empty and re-fill. Doing this for a 20+ hr. stretch can be maddening!
Paul, to answer some other questions.......
I switched to sand for ease of clean up. At many contests, they still don't provide water and I had to haul it around with me. At the end, you need to dispose of it somewhere...that usually meant dragging a greasy, shallow pan of water to the nearest place. Sometimes there wasn't one! As RibDog mentioned, you also do not need to refill it on those long cooks. I personally don't think it adds any moisture to the cooking environment and after using it now for 1 year, I am more convined than ever of that. It acts as a heat baffle so sand works just as well as water....please, NO physics lessons! LOL
As for smoking loins...they are the only meat I brine. I also no longer cook them on the smoker. As RibDog mentioned, they are much too lean for smoking. It can be done, but I prefer to grill over high heat. Here is how I do it......Get your grill..or you can do this in the oven...to 450º-500º. Grill each side of the loin for 5 minutes. Then back your heat down to around 375-400º and finish. Turn the thing often and baste often. Cook it for another 45-50 mins. and you will have yourself a perfect pork loin. Let it rest for 10 minutes and then slice it up.
If you like to use a meat thermo instead, shoot for 145-150º and then remove and rest. If you go above 160º on this cut of meat it will dry out. Not to worry...trichinae is killed at 137º.
Hope this helps everybody!