SUCCESS!!! We figured out the problem. The firebox was not getting enough oxygen. We had the vents open but that still wasn't enough. On a whim, we opened the door up completely and voila, the temp started increasing. So now we know how to fix the problem of the smoker not getting hot enough and it's just a matter of regulating it to keep it from getting too hot or out of control.
It's amazing what a good beer and some perseverance can do!
We have an offset Brinkmann Trailmaster. Mike was ready to kick it to the curb about an hour ago. Now he's a-ok!
Mike & Samantha - MasterForge electric dome smoker, Brinkmann offset smoker