Hello everyone! I've been using a basic Weber charcoal grill for years now and have decided to finally step up to an offset smoker. I was looking at getting a Yoder, but had a super hard time justifying the cost, so I ended up getting a Char-Broil Oklahoma Joe Offset Smoker. I read a lot about them online and with a bit of work doing some mods, they're not a bad little rig. So as soon as I bought it, I went to season it. I fired up some lump charcoal, threw it in the box, dropped some wood on it and closed her up. Very quickly the heat got up to almost 600, which was nice to see. Now I was excited. I had my brother in law build me a basket for the fire box and I had some heat plates made up for more even distribution. I went out, bought nice ribs, it was going to be a great weekend! It didn't matter what I did, I had no chance to get the temps any higher than 250 (not that I wanted to with ribs anyways), but it took an hour to get there! I thought it must me one of the mods I did and something when wrong. So today I pulled the heat plates out and only left the basket for the charcoal. Again, I could not get the temps to even hit 200! Now I didn't have any wood in the fire box, just charcoal. Could that be the problem or is it something else? Please ask away with any questions, as I'm frustrated and my wife is even more frustrated than I am! LOL Thanks in advance for your help!