Well this past weekend I attempted to smoke some ribs on my new Brinkmann Vertical Split Door Smoker. I went ahead after reading all the threads about the pan not having enough circulation and built a basket out of expanded metal. I found some Royal Oak lump at the local Walmart and try the minion method first. I fill the basket about 3/4 full with some hickory chucks buried throughout and fired up a chimney. After they got nice an warm I added them on top spread the coals out nicely placed a Hickory chunk on top and placed the basket on top of the orignal pan as a catch pan. Had some water in the water pan. The bottom vents I close 90% and the tops wide open. Then placed a digital Therm through a potato and watched my temps slowly climb. After about 10 min went back and checked and it was up to about 350* opened the door and the whole basket was lit.
I was pissed, so I figured I would try again and dumped the basket out into my grill, and refilled about 1/2 way this time and only added maybe 3 big coals to one corner. Once again it climbed up and the whole basket was lit. After this I dumped about half and regulated with the door because I had to start cooking. I would add some coals from the grill when it started to drop until it I was out of lit Lump and then switched to some Kingsford I had lying around adding 3 or 4 briq at a time.
Here is the part that annoys me the most. No matter what I did, it never wanted to cool down. If I closed all the vents it still climbed in temp. I eventually got the hang of it by cracking the door every 30 min and every hour or so adding some charcoal. But I feel like I am doing something wrong because the temps would climb way high then drop way low.
What should I do? Any suggestion would be great since I have to cook 3 shoulders in 2 weeks for my sons Bday party.