180 of my PBC experience.
You mention setting the intake. Mine came set. Smoldering coals? Could they be old, moisture soaked by humidity or rain? Using quality briquettes? Are they all hot and cooking before you hang your food. Are you using any smoking wood or chips? Is it fresh and bark removed?
Weird experience. I've never had a failed cook on my PBC. Not even one.
Primo Oval XL, Tiernan SOB, The Pit Barrel Cooker, BGE-Mini, Blackstone Griddle in current rotation