Originally Posted by PhilipW
It sounds like you didn't get your coals started well and they burned out.
I hear about using weed burners to start the coals, but I've only ever used a chimney, and it works perfect every single time. Once started well, you should never have to add anything to the fire.
I'm not sure I follow you on the cast iron skillet for chips. Generally, you just put your smoke wood in with the coals, and make sure some are on the top so they get going initially. Dry, not soaked in anything.
I'm not using charcoal, propane burner at bottom, skillet on top to hold chips. I can't figure out how to post pics.