I've been lurking on the forums for a few weeks now since I got my smoker and every google search I do for advice sends me to this site. I've had a char griller duo for about a year, but only got the side fire box last month when I decided I wanted to start doing ribs and roasts on the grill.
After my first attempt at using it (and failing), I started looking up how to get my temps up and learned about all the mods people do to help control the heat. I've sealed up the fire box mateing surface and lid and it helped alot. I also put the charcoal rack back in the cooking side until I can make some sort of baffle. I plan on installed a flexable vent for my top vent this weekend.
I switched from using briquets to lump charcoal and find I like how it burns much better. So far I've only been able to find it at Gordon's Food Service, so hopefully they'll stock it for a long time. I stopped using wood chunks for the smoke since my wife thought there was too much smoke taste in the ribs I made. I think that I'm going to try it again this weekend and just use a lot less wood. I was adding a couple handfuls every hour before.
This weekend I'm going to attempt doing a full meal in the smoker. Planning on cornish hens, potatos and corn on the cob.