Last Saturday, I loaded up the firebox in the Lang the same way I normally do-a layer of 4 splits with 3 more layers on top (16 splits total-4 logs worth). Hit the splits with the ol' Harbor Freight Log Lighter and then went in the house to prep my spare ribs- After 30 minutes, I went outside to start closing things up per Ben's instructions and went back in the house to finish up the ribs.
When I took the ribs out to the smoker, I found that the upper grate (top) thermometer had hit 550° and the lower grate thermometer had hit 480°.
I placed the ribs in the smoker and closed all my intake vents and then opened the warmer box door to help vent some of the heat-about 90 minutes later I was back down to my usual 230°. I thought I had really screwed things up by starting my ribs at such a high temp so I started checking my ribs at the 3 1/2 hour mark using the "bend" method. At the 4 3/4 hour mark, the ribs where bending nicely with a slight tearing of the meat fibers.
So now when folks ask me if my smoker will get hot enough to "grill" on I can answer with a qualified "Heck, yeah"!
The only thing different about this smoke was the weather-80° day, 5 mph wind from the east and humidity of 23%. Next time I'll build my fire a bit smaller. Gotta love that learning curve!