Stickburner fire/smoke control, seeking advice
I have finally decided to move to a stickburner. I got a used one that is pretty big (used to be a catering smoker) but the price was too good to pass up. I did my first cook but was looking for a little more smoke flavor on my ribs and sausage. Coming from a WSM, I don't know the exact smoking technique I should be shooting for but here's basically how the smoker behaved.
I was able to get the temp up to 300 on 5 logs and a chimney of charcoal. There was an active flame on the logs but I noticed as the flames died down and the wood turned into embers, the temp dropped to about 250. I added a preheated log on the embers, it turned into a flaming log again, temp increased to about 275 and slowly went down the next 30-40 minutes as the flame on the log died down until embers and 250ish again. I decided to shoot for 260 since this was my first go and it seems it could stay +-10 degrees easily so I just added a log once it turned into embers at 250ish. The whole smoke, I left the firebox intake at about 3/4's open.
Now I am seeking advice on what I should have done better on the fire control. My initial guess is that a flame is needed for 250+ temperatures.
Should I be looking to maintain an active fire the whole smoke or are embers the best smoking technique? I've looked up and some say they let a flame be present, other say embers so I'm a bit confused.
When adding a piece of wood, would letting only half of the log flame up be better for keeping the temperature swing down? I am guessing if only half the log flames up, there should be less of an initial swing. I have tons of room in my firebox to position half of the log onto the embers.
I've also read that too hot of a fire will not get the smoke flavor onto the meat. Any truth to this? Should I drop my intake to 1/2 open instead of 3/4? I'm afraid of dropping the airflow and getting a dirty smoke. I'm trying to get as much advice as possible to try and experiment on my next smoke. Thanks all!