I know what your saying... it's happened to me on a few smokes.
A) the lid sometimes appears to be sealed...if you grab the handle and turn it, you'll notice sometimes it gets hung up in the same groove as the top grate...
So it's correct on one side and a bit tilted on the other.
Lid is supposed to let some smoke out of the sides, as there is no top vent.
Are you using chips or chunks? If your using the minion method you can lace some wood in with the chips and they catch slower. If you are just adding wood to the top of the hot coal bed... also try the "smoke bomb" using an empty (clean) 12 ounce soup can, add soaked wood (i use chips inside) to the can and place it on top of the coals. of course the can is open on one side. It will catch slower and give you a nice tbs. I do both, lace some chunks in the unlit coals and add the "smoke bomb." I like this a bit better than foil.. foil seems to heat up quicker and I get that bunch of smoke and charred foil.
Either way on these ecb you gotta watch the wind and the door. If that door is opened several times you end up forcing air in spiking temp or cooling it down. The wind (at least in east Texas) will blow hard for a bit, then die out. I get a flare up when all that o2 makes it up the ecb's skirt... (open bottom)
Hope that helps, These little smokers have a mind/agenda of their own.