Time to bump this thread! I have a 4th of july bbq and I've got 2 small briskets (3lbs each) and a 9.5lb pork shoulder. The couple of times i've done pork shoulder they have definately taken their sweet time to finish. I'm contemplating doing it overnight but I have a relatively el cheapo smoker. My food has come out good in the past but I've definately had to pay a lot of attention to the coals. The last 2 times I smoked, I put a single layer of coals in the fire box and then dumped in a full chimney of charcoal on top of them. That definately made for too much initially. Do you guys think If i dump significant coals in the box and then only use 1/2 to a1/4 chimney to light it that I'll be okay? FWIW, I pretty much always use kingsford. I live in NYC, it's not always easy to get to a home depot and when I do, they 2 20lb bags together for like $10-12 or something crazy so it's cheap and good. I will go out and get some lump coals if you guys think that is better, I'm just a bit worried because I've never used lump much before.
Anybody have any other suggestions to offer? Pictured below is my smoker. IT's your pretty standard offset box $179 model from Home depot. I made a minor modification on the inside where I bent the drip pan up on the left side to deflect the heat down and around the entire smoker better. I'm planning to try to extend the chimney down deeper inside as well. Also pictured are my most recent attemps at pulled pork, brisket and ribs that all were big hits.