Hi everyone. I just finished mods to my Brinkmann Gourmet charcoal smoker. This afternoon I attempted to season it and get a little idea of how these things work. The mods that I made were: Make top vent (three holes with sheet metal cover) Fiberglas rope attached with high temp silicone around lid Three vents on the bottom with sheet metal covers "real" thermometer Raised the charcoal with two grates 1" above the bottom (May open up those slotted vents some more too) So, I lit a chimney of hard lump charcoal but I don't think it let it get hot enough because the smoker went up to 225F and I closed down the draft. Then it dropped dramatically and I lifted the body off and the charcoal was barely burning. How do you know if the charcoal is ready to put in the fire pan? Also I used double nuts on the vent things and as soon as I turn the cover they get loose. How do you guys keep it tight? I'm getting way too much air even when it's closed. Do you have to get it up to a higher temperature to season it? It didn't go over 290 and I had varying temperatures for about 5-6 hours. When you're done and want to put it away, how do to stop the burn? Do you just let it run its course or is there a way to stop it? I'm frugal and don't want to burn charcoal that isn't earning it's keep : ) Thanks in advance!