Just got my SM 25 and have put it all together. I have never smoked or cooked with wood before. Already for my first smoke which will be Saturday, weather permitting. How do I tell if the heating element is touching the wood box or in close enough proximity to it to be operating properly. Is this something I will just have to monitor as I use it. Also, like I said, I've never smoked anything before and don't know apple from hickory from any other sort of wood. How can I tell what wood is what in my sample box. thanks.
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While the heating element is cold, you can remove the wood box and gently lift the heating element a little. It is also better to have the wood chunks at the front of the wood box. The sample box that comes with the unit is hickory.

They also recommend that you season the smoker before your first use. I have a 025 and when I seasoned mine per the owners manual, I got very little smoke and the wood was barely charred. You might want to season at 225 or 250 degrees instead of 200. Once I loaded the unit for my first smoke, the wood burned a lot better so don't be concerned if you don't get much when the unit is empty/being seasoned.

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