Do you put water in it or just use it as a catch pan? I know some folks put a pan on a lower rack just to catch drippings. I saw another post, I think it was from Bassman who put a foil pan full of vegetables underneat a brisket during a smoke. I'm going to have to try that. Probably not the healthiest meal I'll ever eat but I bet it will be one of the tastiest.
There are times when the vaporized fat flavor gets to be a little too much for me too.
I've placed a steel plate on top of the charcoal basket a time or two as an experiment. It did increase the fuel consumption quite a bit but seems to smooth out the temp spikes when removing the lid.