Just came across this thread during a search.
Can you tell me the measurements of your final basket? Is it 18" diameter x 8" high with a 5" dia center ring? Or did you modify it at some point?
I'd like to try this as I like the idea of a more even dispersion of heat.
Do you think it is worth having several exhaust vents around the perimeter of the lid as opposed to one bigger single exhaust? Or does it not matter as much in your opinion? (I do prefer the appearance of a single pipe exhaust as opposed to several holes drilled in the lid).