I completely forgot I posted this, my email never notified of any responses (guess I failed at setting them up). So I assumed I did not get any responses. I am not sure if it will let anyone on here know if I respond at this point but didn't want to post a new thread as I still have issues to this day.
I read through the responses and figured I should elaborate and answer the questions I was asked. Then and now I have an Char-Griller Akorn (Kamado). The biggest issue I have always had was building the fire up just right to get good smoke rolling AND avoid the temps from running away. I can eventually get a good transparent (blue) smoke but it takes a bit. Once it turns color and I put the meat on the smoker runs off. Even if I close down the intake vent. This is after I wait to make sure it hangs around 200, then an hour later I sky rocket easily over 350. I freak out and go into panic mode for obvious reasons. I read a solution of shutting both vents down and "burping" it several times to let out heat and choke the fire completely. Sometimes it helps, sometimes it doesn't do much.
A few things I am assuming, one I put too much charcoal in (and wood) and let it get going regardless to long before I shut things down. So I have backed way off, but then either it still goes up and over target, OR it burns out 1/2 way through the smoke. I think the biggest hurdle I have is getting it hot enough to turn the smoke color so I can toss things on. But avoid it blowing up just after.
As far as wood, I use large bagged chunks. Either from my grocery store or lowes. It usually sits inside for months as well since my enthusiasm for the hobby dwindled after so much frustration. I use to use a cheap propane vertical smoker. I really wanted to switch to lump as I always had this mindset it was more... eh.. authentic? Hard to explain. I want to get this nailed down though. I started smoking again a few weeks ago. Of course both times the temp got out of hand.
TLDR: I have issues building the fire to lock into a temp on my Kamado (and not run off).
Not sure if anyone will read this, but figured it was worth a try. Thank you!
EDIT: Here are some pictures. I had one somewhere of the pre-built fire I am trying to find. A few of these are from vertical smoker. But there is a shot of the chimney with transparent smoke which I try to shoot fore. http://imgur.com/a/HxKrV