Yeah im not going to insulate. I really am almost positve its not the problem. BUT i think i many have figured something out. i do not stuff the coals fully in the shoe. just a little i take some decent chunks of wood and put them on each side of the shoe then lay a decent size split across them. then stack to the right of that right on the coals and all the way up. Creating like a 2 or 3 inch air pocket. and it has worked getting temps starting out at about 800 to 1000 then slowly dying down to about 400 or so after a few hours with No smoke at all. i will try this and see how it keeps going. I think may have it but im not speaking to soon. like the other guy said if it doesnt work everytime and thers smoke coming out of the chimney im not spening hours of tiring myself getting it to work. just letting it go as it is!!