Just finished my first one. Thanks to everyone who posted advice in the first 50-ish pages of this thread, haha, after that I just had to get up and get after it.
She is UGLY. I kind of goofed and didn't install the 4th nipple I bought, but I've got my first cook going right now and the temp is alright. I got a really beat up old lid for it, which doesn't seal (even after pounding out the edges).
My only question is about the charcoal basket: I went to home depot to get expanded steel, and I came home with a small-ish pre cut piece. Is it too narrow of a cylinder? I started this first cook with ~55 coals and there's still about two feet between the top of the coals and the bottom grate, so I may have just answered my own question.