Originally Posted by c farmer
So what your saying is in order to use the lower rack I need a terra cotta pot or for low and slow with cold outside temps.
Not necessarily a terracotta tray, but something to even out the heat. I do a bunch of sides that I like to catch the drippings. I currently use a 8"x12" chunk of granite wrapped in foil as a diffuser. There just needs to be something in there to block the direct heat, otherwise its too hot on the lower rack. When I cook like this I am not concerned about the drippings getting to the coals, because I am wanting all that goodness getting into what is on the lower rack.
With that said when cooking two butts one on the top and one on the lower I still use the diffuser to block the direct heat. Due to the size of the granite there still is plenty of drippings hitting the coals.
For grate lifters, I took some old metal coat hangers and bent some "c" shaped grate hooks. You could leave them in, but they get hot. Somewhere here I have a photo of them. they work great.