OK, I admit I have read 90-95% of this entire thread and have the basics down. BUT still have a few questions. I intend to use a forced air system on my drum for the most part (Stoker w/ 5cfm fan). I already own multiple vertical smokers and BGEs and intend on using this as a "project/beach & park smoker" aka "beater". I have a good line on the drum (brand new top on). I just need to see if my Weber lid will fit. If not, I will have a flat lid fabricated. So In doing the research I came across some questions and ideas I would like to ask the experts:
1. I would like to use a BGE door insted of 3-4 holes on the bottom. For those that currently use this method, did you add the extra holes in your drum or did you only use the BGE for air flow? Did you notice any issues such as uneven charcoal burn.
2. My current plan is to use 2 cooking grates and a heat diffuser as well. I have a sketch drawn up already. Or should I just keep it at 1 grate to avoid the temp spikes I'm reading so much about?
3. If I have to fabricate a lid, I would like to use an exhaust stack instead of the holes drilled around the lid. How big (diameter) and how tall 4-6" do I need to make it? Is there an optimum place to locate the exhaust holes/stack (middle of lid or what distance from the outer edge)? I've seen both.
4. Add a heat diffuser/baffle or not. I plan is to install a 16" pizza stone or pizza pan w/ holes drilled out. It'll be 4" above the top edge of the charcoal basket 5" below the lower cooking grate (if added). Will this work? Do many use a diffuser or
4. My Charcoal grate will be 14" diameter (Weber grate), 8" tall (3/4" exp metal), w/ a 3" gap between the bottom of the grate to top lip of the ash pan. My ash pan will be 1" off the bottom of the smoker and 1" deep. From what I've read and seen, this seems to be the going size. Will this work? Too big, too small?
Any help is greatly appreciated.
Thanks in advance,