Ok here is how i normally get started. I get lump charcoal going then put a few sticks of wood on top then let it burn down to coals, then i add another stick or two of wood. then start cooking. do you guys burn your wood down to coals then put them in the smoker or do you just throw the wood in. ? also my grill likes to stay around 235-250 is this too hot. I know 225 is what most people say.