Originally Posted by andrewV
good to know. Will have to try that. I'm thinking about maybe lighting two or three coals and then putting them right next to the vents with them wide open. Not sure if it will work or not but worth a shot. Thanks for the advice
That's basically what the side light method does. You light a propane torch and stick it in the vent. Depending on the target pit temp you are looking for 3-8 minutes of torching is sufficient.
Open all vents wide open. Fill charcoal basket full & add smoke wood. Assemble smoker. I light the torch stick it in the vent. Run the torch until the pit temp is 50°+/- over target temp. turn off torch and remove. The pit temp will fall (usually below where I want it). If the pit temp stabilizes around 15°-20° below my target pit temp I will let the temp come up on its own. Closing vents as needed to not over shoot the temp. If It is lower than that I will torch again. If I am wanting a hot pit temp 300°+ I will torch through both of my side vents to get more coals going.
When the smoke is done, shut all the vents and snuff the fire. Next smoke, shake the ash off the unspent charcoal, empty ash from base. Add new charcoal to the old and go at it again.
An internal shot of whats going on