Well, my idea about which stuff to take out of modded smoker, was right on! IT WORKED MUCH better for stick burning. I've still got a ways to go to learn this stuff, but I think I am on the right path now. Thank you Cliff Carter. and others, for all your help and patience. See this thread to see what I removed. BIG DIFFERENCE! 3:00 PM -Started smoker with very full chimney of lit charcoal (mix of both lump and briquettes.) The "empty" smoke chamber quickly rose to L. grate level @ 290* & R. grate level @ 310* L. top rack @ 330* & R. top rack @ 314* 3:15 PM - Added 3 split chicken breasts to top rack, 8 drumsticks to lower grate, and slab of ribs on left side of lower grate. 15 minutes later, temps changed. much lower on bottom grate for a few minutes, even reached 100* lower on bottom vs. top, for a few minutes. But it leveled out at about 35* to 55* difference between top and bottom. Top being the hotter. 15 min. after that L. bottom grate was 230* & R. top rack @ 280* and I added a warmed small split let burn off for about 8 min. before closing firebox lid. Temps climbed to L. grate @ 291*, and R. top rack to 300* Two larger breast were done (172*) at the 1 hr & 15 min. mark. Smaller breast, not yet. I added the large split and let burn off for 15 min, and then It took another 30 minutes for small breast to reach 163* Legs were on the lower grate, so they were cooking more slowly and not ready yet. I moved legs to upper (hotter) rack near the sfb side to finish. At 5:00 PM I pulled the small breast and the legs off smoker. 1 hour & 45 min. for legs, and the small breast. I did crisp up the legs inside the sfb as that was going to be our dinner. They were great! VERY juicy and tender. I did not brine at all. Now here is a bunch of photo's in order of the cook. You may have to read comments again to put photo's with results. LOL One split inside, and this one outside warming. 1 chimney of coals. 1st split burning off Ready to close lid. TBS.... Yes it is there. Only time I saw solid smoke was when I picked up a dry Maple branch size of my finger, and broke it up and tossed it in. 2nd small split burning off Some were done. Large 3 X 4 X 7 split burning off Ready to close on it. I'm a happy camper with how this cook went today. NO fowl smoke at all, but a great smoke flavor in food. Now that I know I can actually burn wood and not just smolder it, I need to learn how to do it with less coals. I used 2 or maybe 2 1/2 chimneys total. Ribs weren't done until the 5 3/4 hour mark, or I would have used even less coals. Overall I'm ecstatic with my first success burning wood in smoker. Actually I have been giggling! LOL AND NO BLACK SKIN!