About a year ago, I really got into backyard grilling and smoking. I started smoking on a cheap Lowe's brand vertical smoker. After learning the basics and finally putting out some quality meat, my family pitched in on my birthday and bought me a Horizon 16" Classic. I love the smoker, and have done ribs, butt, brisket, and salmon on it. I come here because my BBQ is okay to good, but I want it to be great. I finally perfected my homemade bbq sauce, now i want to perfect the flesh. I want to make my Horizon smoker proud. Here are my concerns: 1. I use charcoal with wood chunks. I know it's a "wood burner" but dang it if charcoal is just so much easier and cheaper. I don't have access to much good wood in VA Beach. So without getting into charcoal vs. wood, I have a question. With a full chimney of coals, my unit maintains a temp range from 270-260 at first then leveling off at 245-255 for about 1-1.5 hours. This is with my intake fully closed then gradually oopening it as the temp drops. This is verified with a quality digital gauge. This range seems to be working ok for me, but I'd like to get in the 225 range. The problem I have is it takes a half chimney of coals to get lower temps, but that half chimney just burns out so fast....30 min before it drops down to 200. Any tips on this or should I just suck it up and baby it if I want a lower temp? I get good temp control using my intake baffle, but the temp range is just too high. My intake is almost always fully closed. I was thinking a foil pan with water to act as a heat sink. Would a convection plate help? 2. Would a charcoal basket extend my burn time without having to keep coming back to add coals? I haven't had luck with the minion method in my firebox so I'm curious if a charcoal basket can work in an offset like the Horizon. It sucks getting up at 3am to start a butt. It'd be nice to put it on when I hit the rack at 12am and still have a temp 5-6 hours later. Is this feasible in my unit? 3. Thanks so much for bearing with me.