If using briquette charcoal, add it pre-lit. In an offset smoker like yours, I prefer lump charcoal. It burns hotter and faster. This also gives you a great ember bed suitable for small split logs. Watch for bluish smoke from the stack for a clean fire. Also check out KC Quer's Roadmap to Q-Talk for different tips on maintaining a clean fire in an offset smoker. (Located in the sticky's, top of the Q-talk page)
"Bring it on, you bananna thong wearing killer of brisket!"
If you really care about this place, you'll show some respect for it.
Team Whosoever Q
If a man looks lustfully at eggs and bacon, he has already committed breakfast in his heart.