Originally Posted by smokindave74
Sounds like your exhaust and valve setup is rather suspect. I think you will have better results if you just stick to the accepted norm from the beginning of this thread. Three 7/8" holes evenly spaced around the bottom of the barrel, with 2 close nipples and 1 valve, or just the magnet approach. I have both versions, and they both work equally well.
Your 2" exhaust should be fine.
I use the same setup you are describing as far as charcoal starting,etc. I open all three holes all the way, and dump in the coals.....I leave the valves open until the temp hits about 200 at the grates. Then close two holes and leave one open........it will cruise around 225 for 14 hours. Maybe you have some air leaks or too much smoke wood.
I was also going to add that another trick I have learned is to get everything setup on the cooker, grates in, lid on, and no meat until the cooker reaches its equilibrium. Mine seems to love about 230 degrees on an average 70-75 degree day. I let is sit there and just heat up for a good 15-30 minutes before doing any cooking. Putting cold meat in there on a cold grate will act like a big heat sink, and can give you false readings on your thermo. The fire is still the same, but the thermo makes you think you need to "stoke" everything up, and you will end up with lots of thick smoke and yo-yoing temps.