wow, hard to explain. but i have no problems after i figured it out. the first thing is not to use water. not good. next is that i use some expanded metal to hold the charcoal on one side. the coals need to be above one of the lower vents. the coals and vent must be up wind. from where the coals are, the rest of the coal grate must be covered with foil. this prevents fresh air from the other vents mixing with the heated air and messing up the flow and temps around the cooking area. i also hang a piece of foil from the top grate to the lower grate right where the coals end. this prevents the direct heat problem. some have made a piece of metal that covers the lower grate and then comes up to the cooking grate thus doing the same thing. then i just put another bunch of foil under the meat to catch the grease. the top vent must be above the meat and downwind. also the top vent should remain completely open, you control the temp with the lower vents. let me tell you that the lower vents will only need to be open very little to maintaine a nice high temp. if you have them, get a couple of fire bricks and put them next to the coals. this helps even out the fluctuations of the temps.
spam, can't live without it