I am also new here, but I have been smoking meats for a few years. I will take my best stab at answering, and anyone on the forum can feel free to correct me if necessary. Cures are needed when smoking at lower temps to prevent botulism for foods being in the danger zone (roughly 40-140 degrees) for extended periods - in an anaerobic environment (lack of oxygen). I have smoked port butts/shoulders and done them in both electric smokers and charcoal smokers. I have always tried to maintain a 225 degree temperature for a low and slow smoke/roast. I did 2 butts last week for the first time in the Bradley, and had the lever all the way to the right with the vents almost open all the way. It got up to about 230 at the max temp, but hovered mainly at the 225 on the probe. The only other thermo. I have is a probe thermometer for the internal meat temp so I am not sure of exact air temps. I left them for 4 hours of smoke (hickory) and in the smoker for 12 hours. Honestly, they should have stayed in another hour or two for a more tender meat. The smoke was perfect, but some parts in the interior were not as tender as I wanted. It is a learning curve - but if you are smoking a whole butt, you do not need a cure. You cannot smoke at low temps though for a muscle meat piece. Sausages, bacon, canadian bacon, hams, etc need a cure, preferable with #1, TCM, instacure, prague powder, etc. Unless you are drying meats like pepperoni, salamis, and Spanish chorizo types of sausage, you will most likely not need cure #2. I am an organic freak about foods, but always use cure #1 in my smoked sausages for foodborne illness reasons. It will make the meat stay pink - like ham and bacon.