So I recently bought a beautiful horizontal smoker with the offset firebox (Bar-B-Chef make, I believe). A major factor in my decision to buy this model is the idea of grilling mass quantities of food over direct heat in the smoke chamber.
However, I've had problems achieving nice, hot fires in the smoke chamber. While the fire closest to the firebox opening burns ok, the fire on the other side, at best, just smolders. Here's some of the things I'm doing:
1. Lining the bottom of the smoke chamber with tinfoil to protect the metal and aid in clean-up.
2. Place newspaper beneath the lower grates in the smoke chamber, pile charcoal on these lower grates, douse with lighter fluid, and light it up a little while later. I've tried using the chimney, but, after I unload it, the fire just dies. I promise I won't give up on the chimney.
3. During this process, all doors and vents are wide open.
I'm thinking I'm having an airflow problem. Does the horiontal smoker design prevent sufficient oxygen from reaching attempted fires in the smoke chamber? Should I install an adjustable vent at the bottom of the fire chamber? Might there be a simpler solution before I breakout the power tools? Is it something else I'm not considering?