Build fire: use 4-5 pieces of split, dried hardwood (soda can diameter), leaving all doors and vents/dampers wide open initially.Light fire with kindling, (charcoal, fat lightered, Wesson oil soaked paper towel, etc.) or a propane brush burner; get a large fire going and wait until black smoke bellows out; then close cooker door to "propped open" (i.e. over closed latch). When flames come out of the fire box, close fire box door to "propped open" position (i.e. over closed latch). When temperature gauge reaches about 300 degrees Fahrenheit, open cooker door and spray/mist water inside on all surfaces. (This is the steaming process). Then, let fire re-heat to 300 degrees Fahrenheit again and repeat spray/mist process. Steam cleaning inside entire cooking area. Then, add a large piece or two of split wood, close chimney damper to 45 degrees and fire box vents to almost closed. fires normaly last 1.5 hours and you need to add more wood. just put it in. and get back to cooking or use lump and have a chimmeny ready to dump in.
you will get the hang of it. but must do it to learn. just keep an eye on things and do not play with the dampers. remember temps move slowly.lol.