did a pre smoke burn off sunday night, and was very surprised by the results, using lidl briquettes. used 2/3rds weber chimney, and monitered temps for almost 5 hours, actually struggled to get the temp down to 225f, without killing all the draught. so monday night was to be the first smoke. using exactly the same charcoal etc. taking the easy option, i had 1/2 a medium chicken, which i rubbed with a recipe off the net, (never again, think i will take Dannies advice and keep the rub simple), chicken was on the grill and all was well for an hour or so, then it seemed to stall at 249f, and stayed there for the next hour+. then the cooking temp started to drop, this was not what i had expected, after the success of the burn off. checked the charcoal, and it had almost gone, so topped it up, but still couldnt get the temp back up. after 3 hours it was dark, i still had nothing to eat. eventually, after over 4 hours, pulled the ckicken off at 264f, and devoured it, but not happy with the fancy rub. checked for a problem this morning, and the ash pan was solid with, guess what, ASH. the vents were completely clogged, there seemed to be more ash than the charcoal i had used. so a huge lesson learnt. questions; `1. why didnt the water pan boil when the cooking temp was well above boiling point 2. been looking at ausi heat beeds, are these the rolls royce of charcoal? 3. how many to use, by weight or number 4. what is a good all round smoking chip flavour, was thinking of misquite or sugar maple? 5. how many chips for an average smoke; is there a table available anywhere, and how long to use them?