I've tried several methods on our 84 but I like lighting it similar to a campfire. I have everything wide open and get a pretty decent sized fire going. Once it's going good I close the cook chamber door, then when it starts to close in on temp I close the firebox door. I let it climb past 250 and then start reducing the pinwheels. I usually cook around 275 and have 2 pinwheels on the same side abour 1/3 open. I like to split the logs reasonably small (usually about 3" or 4") so and that is how I control the fire. When I am cooking I generally see NO smoke coming from the stack. When I add more wood I leave the firebox door open until the wood ignites and close it up. I really like using this cooker!