I haven't had a soot problem but occassionally would get some ash when I'd "bump" the fire basket to shake the coal bed. Never had complaints but I would notice. I'd guess there something in your "process" leading to the problem so use the scientific method...only change one thing at a time!! Good luck.
Southern Brethren BBQ Competition Team
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KingFisher Gator Rotisserie cooker, WSM, Stainless 5 burner with IR gas grill, Turkey Fryer, Weber JD Commemorative grill, slightly used Bandera chamber for future use as a cold smoker, Masterbuilt 40" insulated ELECTRIC smoker