My first name is Michael and I live in Los Angeles, CA. My kids thought I'd enjoy a smoker for my birthday, they bought me a Brinkmann Trailmaster Vertical Smoker. It went together well and after some modifications (bbqgaskets.com) works like a charm. The only smoke exiting the smoker was from the stack. For my first smoke I tried 4 racks of Saint Louis Style spare ribs and a 7.5lb pork butt. I had everything in the smoker by 11am. The ribs came off after 5.5 hrs (3-2-1), the pork butt came off 15 hours later at 2am, and was only 190 degrees. I had to take it off, due to running out of wood. I began by filling the firebox basket with lump coal, once that was going started to add the wood. The pieces I had were almost 2X the sized of my fist, I wish they were bigger. I found that I was adding wood quite frequently to keep the temp up. Every time I added wood, I'd leave the firebox door open for several minutes so the wood would catch, this may not have been necessary. Also the 321 method with the ribs caused the opening of the door 6 times, which didn't help. I finished it the next day in the oven, pulled it and it was DELICIOUS! During the cook I was hesitant to add more coal, as I didn't have a portable chimney to get it going, so I just kept adding wood, lots of wood. I kept the temp on the lowest rack around 230, the thermometer at the top of the Brinkmann was around 200, which according the indications on it is the high end of the recommended smoking temp. I'm excited and looking forward to this new adventure and the tips I hope to receive from the experts on this forum.