I have a few modifications that I made to the pit to make it a better cooker. All of these mods are outlined here in the forum.
First things first - a charcoal basket raised from the bottom of the firebox.
I cook with the side door of the firebox open. I start my fire with a load of charcoal and then just use wood throughout the rest of the cook. I've found that to keep a steady fire on this pit, having the door open keeps the combustion going better. Sure I could add more dampers, but I found something that works for me and my pit. I control my temps by perfecting fire management. I know what temp I'll get to just by what size firewood I put on the fire and how to arrange the fire.
Secondly, I added a baffle and tuning plates to the cooking chamber to help even temps.
Look at my two thermometers - almost dead even from one end to the other.
As I mentioned above, I start with charcoal and then switch over to just wood.
Starting with charcoal:
Now charcoal is burned out and I'm just burning sticks:
Now for the meat - cooked two pork shoulders and a chicken today.
Pork going on:
Steady Eddy at 275 degrees. I cook pork shoulders at a higher temp. My experience is they can take more heat and it will help finish it a lot faster.
Pork almost ready to be wrapped. Chicken just went on:
Kicked up the fire for hotter temps for the chicken so I can get more crispy skin:
Pork finished and resting, and then pulled:
I didn't get a picture of the finished chicken.
This smoker is certainly harder to use than my reverse flow pit. It doesn't hold temps as well and requires a little more maintenance. But the meat I cooked tonight was every bit as good as any food that comes out of my RF. I say again, it's not about the equipment. It's about the cook. And about the process. With a little modification and practice, you can put out world class bbq on a $140 smoker from Wal-Mart.
Thanks for lookin.