Wow, BigBelly, thanks for all the tips. I gotta find a metal shop in Rochester and a scrap yard....sounds like good ideas to me.
I had no idea that the Backwoods were so complicated. Well, in that case I am just doing a standard vertical smoker. I will take note to divert the heat and smoke away from meat...gotta think about that. For now, my plan is to have a huge water pan spanning the entire length of the cooker above the coals (plan on using charcoal, not wood), and leaving a 1-2" opening around the outside of the pan. Do you think that'll be enough or I need to put more stuff between the water pan and the meat?
By the way, the picture was taken last summer, that's why I'm in shorts!
I would love to visit your shop. Actually, my brother is coming in town in two weeks and would love to go to. He owns a BBQ team, and is really the one that started all of this for our family. But we have the wives as well, so we'd have to sell the trip as something else. Is there anything interesting around Lake View to see?