I have been using a lot of lump charcoal with my small Bar-B-Chef offset smoker.
Today I smoked a brisket and loin back ribs. I tried to do something different with the fire. I placed a chimney full of unlit lump charcoal in the fire box with two small sticks of hickory. I then started a chimney load of lump charcoal using my burner (I usually use paper but it was 3:10AM this morning). I dumped the lit lump charcoal on top of the unlit lump. I had the damper about ½ to ¾ open. The exhaust was full open all day. When the temperature got to 250 I closed the vent to about 1/8 open and put the brisket on. That was at 3:55AM. I watch the temperature awhile and it stayed pretty steady. I took a nap for a little over an hour. My thermometer would have woken me if the temperature had gotten too high or too low. I was up again about 6. I decided I was going to not put anymore lump in today. I wanted to try and use all wood. I split the wood very small and also cut it to about 8 or 9 inches long. I wanted to try and keep a small open flame. The small flame will keep the smoke just the right color.
Now I had to watch the fire a lot. I would put a small piece or two of wood in about every 20 minutes. I found if I put the unlit wood in the fire box but not in the fire itself it would really get hotter than placing it on top of the fire box. Then, when it was time to add it to the fire, it would catch up real fast. I would then take wood from the top of the fire box and place it inside the fire box but not in the fire and get it ready to add to the flame (or coals) when needed. I repeated this process all day. That kept the smoke just right (the wispy blue). I haven’t figured out the fire box damper opening combination yet. I had the damper almost all the way open as well as the door cracked a lot today. Towards the end of the day I kept the damper about ½ way open and it seemed to work well.
I succeeded in not adding any more lump charcoal all day. I just used wood after the initial start up.
Here are the pictures of the fire management
Also here are the results of the cook.