Hello All, I recently built a smokehouse after wanting for many years to move away from the grill. I insulated a large microscope shipping container and made it into two separate shipping pods. One side for beef/fish/pork and the other will be for game birds once completed. After I built the beef side I could not wait to see it working, so the next day I seasoned it (a little to well?). I have a few questions for the future once I start trying to smoke my meat. Should I initially bring the temp up using only coal? I have a brick base where I put my coals in a pan, and I have built an air regulator to ensure proper oxygen for smoking not burning. However, in my haste I put in a few coals (probably not enough) then threw in my logs shortly after. it took ~ 2 hours to get from a brisk 40 degree day to ~180 degrees using the logs as fuel. Once during I put in more coal and that shot the temp up to the 180 in about 30 minutes. Secondly, once i was able to maintain 180 degrees I wanted to test 225 so i opened the bottom door by ~1 inch, then walked away to get a glass of water. Upon returning I noticed a nice glow from the door as the logs were now aflame. This provided my box with a good layer of soot on the walls. Should I sand this off or is it ok to leave the soot as a wood protector in the future? Lastly, I have my racks positioned directly over the coals, and while there will be a pan blocking direct heat should I offset this and move the coals or the pan to the back of the box? Other than the burning of logs I really enjoyed sitting in the back yard watching football and smelling the smoke. I cannot wait to make some jerky, salmon, brisket, and some thanksgiving dinner! Cheers, Ivy Here is the inside of my box. The left chamber is completed while I still need to finish the right chamber. the meat will sit on the top rung with the bottom rungs for drip pans and water pans.