So as i said this was my first run on the charcoal. I do not own a chimney starter and think this was my first mistake.
So we got the coals burning, unfortunately with lighter fluid and threw on the brisket and shoulder.
I opened the intake damper and the chimney damper all the way. Temp inside the smoker would only get past 200 if we put a fan on the intake. So for the first 4 hours I messed and messed with the intake and the temps.
i was using apple branches from my parents farm, but they kept igniting.
The brisket got up to 140 fairly quick and stalled, which I am used to but this was a small brisket, i figured it would go. The shoulder was well ahead. So I wrapped in foil at 145 after 6 hours on and pour pineapple juice in. got to 195 and place in cooler at 8 hrs. rested for one hour. Slice against grain and here is what i got.
The brisket came out with lots of juice in the foil, but a little tougher and dryer than I was used to.
So my question for ya all
1) how the heck do you get the coals up to and maintain 200-250 better
2) what do you think I did wrong to dry the brisket out compared to when I go with my MES (generally can cook a brisket 12 hrs, moist, juicey, etc)
3) the wood shouldnt catch on fire, how do i resolve this?