Thanks for all of the replies. I think I'll go with a gentle burn and see how it goes. I'd like to repaint it anyway, so it will help with the paint removal. I've got a cup brush for my angle grinder, and I could adapt that to a drill, I suppose. We'll see how the grinding goes.
I wrapped a doubled over moving blanket to my drum and tightened it double with some ratchetstraps to keep it quiet for lid removal. Seemed to help. I used an angle grinder with cutting disc to hop around the inside of rim and notch to whole thing down, and then popped the grinding wheel back on to smooth the edge back down. My Weber lid doesn't quite fit, but instead of doing the hammer mod to get it to fit I think I'll just go around the outer rim with the grinding wheel until it's a snug fit. Shouldn't take too long with the thin metal and small rolled lip.
Also, I think I'll go ahead and put 3) more 3/4" nipples in for a total of 6) for grilling purposes. Even if I don't need them, it will be easier to do them first and it will only cost a couple more bucks. I'll need to test regardless before painting.
Concerning the comment about having a similar amount of intake to exhaust, that only makes sense. So if I go with more intake for grilling purposes, I suppose I'll need more exhaust area to get high temps. From reading here it sounds like the bad result from too little exhaust is stale smoke flavor and creosote buildup. For that I think I'll get the pop-in plugs and just drill some holes. I can then remove them for grilling and replace them for smoking.
Just a thought: If my fire basket is up high for grilling, would it make semse to have the 3) additional intakes up high, too? Say, right below the belly of the suspended fire basket when in grilling mode?
Once again, thanks for your input. It doesn't seem like it from my ramblings, but I am not trying to over-complicate this. What I'd like for an end product is to have 1) unit do all of my charcoal needs!
Bad decisions make for good stories!