Jumped right in and did my first smoke without much knowledge going into it. It didn't come out too great, but it wasn't horrible. I have the cheaper end Master Forge green vertical charcoal unit. I was having a hard time keeping a steady temperature. I could get it to right above 300, but then it would die down pretty quick to about 160. My first reaction was, "Let's add more coals." This got the temperature back up to 300, but it went through the cycle again and died back down.
After reading some threads on here last night, it looks like my problem was the ashing of the coals, causing the coals to die out and not keep lit. Is this likely what my problem was?
I have also come across many threads on here and on other websites about mods; this seems like a common unit that many owners modify. I am definitely planning to do the following:
DAMPERS - I'm going to add some to get more airflow. It looks like this particular unit was made just to keep a lower heat during a smoke. I'm guessing adding more air vents will help to get a higher, steady temperature. Any particular kits I should look at?
CHARCOAL GRATE - There is no grate on this unit for the charcoals. I will add one about an inch off the charcoal pan to allow the ash to drop down and avoid suffocating the coals.
What would you consider to be the "must-do" mods for my unit?
Looking forward to doing more smokes and sharing what I learn with everyone and getting advice from you all as well.