I seem to be plagued with the problem of it taking forever to start the charcoal in my water smoker. Usually I use Kingsford charcoal, drown in with lighting fluid and then light it.
There's the big flair of fire, which burns off quickly and then more often then not seems to go out and I have to play firebug by adding more fluid (YES, I know that's not the most sane thing to do, but I haven't scorched myself yet!).
I am using a brinkman smoker. One of the ones that is verticle, and has a rounded top.
Also, when I finally do get the stuff lit, it seems like it takes forever to get the heat up to the IDEAL range on the gauge, and more often then not it doesn't get hot enough and it takes forever to cook the food.