I have a 5050 duo without any modifications. It's ok if your ash pan is partially rusted, it happens. I make a fire in my fire pit, let it go for a bit, then take the red hot wood from the fire pit and place it in the SFB. Once the hot wood coals are in the SFB, I put the flavored wood chips or chunks over the hot coals for smoke. If the temp doesnt get hot enough, I sometimes throw in some charcoal briquettes. I didn't season the smoker side before I smoked something because I didn't want to NOT smoke something if I had it going. I think I just smoked 1 rack of ribs and a few split chicken breasts.