I started with charcoal to get a nice bed of coals right from the beginning, then started throwing on logs. The firebox works well, choking the fire just enough for a nice long burn and good smoke.
And boy does it smoke!
This is a birthday present from my darling wife. Not pictured is a remote receiver that I keep in my pocket. The remote has alarms that can be set when the smoker gets too hot or too cold and for when the meat is done. This thing is a must-have in my opinion for a "primitive" system like mine.
Here are the two probes. One clips to the grill and the other goes into the meat. Its nice because you just leave it in the whole time and you don't have to keep poking holes in the meat.
Another addition is my "mop" solution in the spray bottle. Just some cider vinegar, water, sugar and salt. I also keep a pitcher of water to replenish the water pan.
Conclusions: After a full 7 hours at 225 the internal temp had reached 165. I was going for 190, but dinnertime was fast approaching, so I pulled the water from the pan to raise the BBQ temp to 275 for the final hour and managed to get the meat to 170. I still need to find a happy medium to keep the smokebox at at around 250. I don't know if you can see it in the picture, but there is a nice thick smoke ring and some beautiful spicy bark. Most of the fat cap had melted off, leaving some fairly lean cuts which pulled apart with little trouble.
By the way, Koestritzer Schwartzbier is the best I've ever tasted. They call it the black beer with the blonde soul!
Pulled pork sandwiches tonight, and carnitas tomorrow. Maybe I'll finish it off with some ancho peppers stuffed with pork and rice!