4 hours and 30 minutes into the cook...
It seems that the charcoal consumption has settled down a bit. The smoker wants to hold at about 245-250* with both vents open to 1/8 of an inch. I've decided to close down one side and see if I can get closer to about 230*. I'm having a wonderful time trying to remove the charcoal pan to clean out ash. I have a set of Kingsford grill gloves (not the leather ones), and a pair of welding gloves. Neither set keeps that heat from searing through after about 5-7 seconds. Also, I improvised a some pipe fittings so that I can fill the water pan a little easier. It has a 2 inch mouth which makes pouring water ouf of a 1 gallon gatorade jug pretty easy, and it tapers to 1/2 inch which will be very good if I'm ever cooking on the bottom grid. The water doesn't back up at all. I kinda thought it might since it was going through a pretty big taper along a fairly small distance.
Back to the meat! It's sitting at 162* at the moment, and the picture hardly does it justice. Right now it looks like the outside of a nicely seared medium-rare NY strip.
Bob, I hope your cook is going well! I wish I had bought a 22" WSM, I probably would've held off for a few more years on the Backwoods, but I got tired of trying to cram racks of ribs on the limited space of the 18".
Chingador, so far I'm really happy with this cut. The true test will come at dinner time, but it looks great so far. If it tastes as good as it looks, I may have to take back some of the nasty things I've said about Wal-Mart meat.