If you can hang on for a bit I'd highly recommend you attend some competitions and see lots of cookers up close. Friday night and Saturday afternoon after the turn-ins are good times to chat with the cooks. You've got some really wide-ranging questions and while internet research is fine, nothing beats seeing for yourself.
KCBS MCBJ & CTC
NOS American Made Traeger 075
Author of [I][FONT=Times New Roman]Burn It In The Back Yard[/FONT][/I]
Grillin' and Smokin' like crazy for over 40 years :whoo:
[COLOR=red][I]There's No Smoke Alarm In My Outdoor Kitchen![/I][/COLOR]