well the first cook is underway and learing curve is right. I started this morning, based on replies to this thread and what i read here: http://www.homebbq.com/index.php/archives/82
with two chimneys of unlit in the box and put on a half chimney of burning charcoal. even with all of my vents shut I couldn't keep the pit temp below 375 so i dumped the entire fire and started over....I have a small fire going and it is holding at 250, still to high but i am working on getting it lower. have a brisket that has been on for an hour. two chickens that have ben in brine since wed that will go on about 1 along with a half dozen or so turkey brats.
the slaw and potato salad is done, the beans will get working about the time the birds go on. I will post pics later today unless i produce totaly unedible junk (which is entirely possible) I am certainly grateful for all the advice and since you helpful folks are not here, over the next two days i will eat a plate in your honor