For your smoker, the charcoal or whatever fuel source propane or electric is just fo heat the wood pellets or chunks. If you want bumbye no check the temperature, then the maze type sawdust burners (amazen or proq) is the way to go. Set and forget. But you do need sawdust. That burn correct.
The way gore and cowgirl did is legit. It will be moister and softer than store bought. I think the commercial kine use fan to blow dry it out a little.