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Lessons for new users

Hey Forum, here is a challenge to you who have been members a while. We have lots of new members joining in.

Tell us, what are your most valuable lessons, to give to the new owners of Cookshacks?

My first thoughts:

1. Read the forum, especially the archives
2. Keep good notes, you're own experiences will help you the most
3. Remember, this isn't a cake time and temp are now the only way to judge when it's complete.

And try to appreciate what BBQ is all about and understand what this statement means:

It's done when it's done

2009 Update.

I know it's not "lessons learned" but in my way it is more "advice" to new users Big Grin

When I'm teaching newbies, or someone who just wants to learn Q or improve their Q, My rules are (not just for CS):

1. Know your temps -- for your smoker Without knowing how your smoker cooks, you'll never been consistent

2. Know you temps -- for food After you've cooked enough, you'll be able to look and know when stuff is done, or by touch, but until then, know the target temp for finishing the various cuts of meat (except ribs, don't do temp)

3. Practice You'll have success quick if you follow the advice of the forum, but like momma always said, Practice makes Perfect

4. Patience In some ways, this is rule 1. You'll get the most out of it by being patient and having more fun. In today's I gotta have it right now world, that and BBQ don't mix. Slow down, you type A's learn to relax and take your time.

5. Learn from the Forum Masters I don't mean me, I mean all the forum. We have only 10,000 posts and 75,000 responses. It's VERY likely you'll never ask a question we haven't heard. And check the main forums (by topic) I've collected it there by reason.

5a. Learn to search I get tons of emails from people who don't want to post and we have lots of lurkers every day and they both have one thing in common, they're embarassed to ask the simple questions. (probably because we'll tell them to search) but if you get familiar with the forum and how to search, you'll be able to get the information without asking.

more to come...
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