Originally Posted by EMSEMT
Have you tried putting the lit coals(12-15) on one side instead of the center? That's how I smoke in my UDS and I never go over 250. I put about 3/4 full chimney of unlit coals to one side and put the lit coals to the side of the unlit just so they overlap 1-1 1/2 rows.
I do just about the same. I doubt your basket is to big, I wrapped mine around a propane tank when I built it if that will give you an idea of how big it is.
I pile my unlit briqs to one side with a slope then dump a small amount (half a weber chimney) in the unoccupied area of the basket. Close that lid and begin opening dampers a little at a time until the smoker comes up to temp. I go until there is thin blue smoke and the entire drum is up to temp before adding meat.
I have my food already laid out on the rack outside of the drum so I only need to open the lid for a few seconds to get it in. Having the lid open for any length of time will skyrocket your temps and they are hard to get back down.
BTW, your lit coals do not have to be fully engulfed and glowing red.. they just need to be lit and have a little grey around the edges..
Edited by Pit 4 Brains - 7/14/16 at 3:03pm