Advice about needed about my makeshift vertical smoker

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Original poster
May 4, 2024
I had this built from plans in Mother Earth News. I was looking for something multifunctional and this actually resembled the old brick smoker that sat in my Memphis childhood home's backyard. Trying to smoke meat in the same chamber as the fire was more of a smolder to control the heat so I modified a charcoal vertical smoker I found on Craigslist and it fit right on top of the firebox. It works out pretty well but it takes a lot of tending to keep the temps somewhat steady 225-250. I do use a custom tailored rockwool jacket that likely helps some but it really doesn't fit all that well and is downright ugly, says my spouse. So 2 questions:
1. Should I permanently join them together, pushing the chamber back and connecting it to the existing stack? Or keep it more of a casual, convenient relationship?
2. I read that someone here recommended a welding blanket for insulation. Thoughts?

Presently I just keep the firebox opening totally exposed, no door, controlling the temp with the damper in the main stack and the one on the small smoker chimney. I could have a machine shop create a door that I'm thinking could be hinged on the top and opened from the bottom adjustable to the how much oxygen I want to give the fire. Appreciate any advice.
smoker 1.jpg
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