You're getting too much heat, correct? I think you are using too much charcoal? Give it a try and I think you will keep your temps down. That should be enough for a 3-4 hour cook. I'm gonna try and find the snake method pic and put it here too. (if your temps start to drop off, and some more briquets. Much easier to add to increase the heat than it is to bring it down.
I think the thing to remember is that this is a smoker and not a grill. A charcoal grill needs a pretty large amount of heat and a smoker needs a lower heat.
Mike, refer back to this post. It is towards the end:
That is a huge charcoal basket, but if you do something similar with 20 briquets and snake them around the edge of your charcoal pan they will light up gradually and not all light up at once. I would probably lean the briquets on each other a little bit and run them in two rows.
Edited by bobank03 - 9/4/13 at 11:47am