i used to just put in a couple of splits in every three hours or so. I will still do that during the day and then burn down the coals now and again. Have to load it up at night so it keeps going and has some left to start up again in the morning. seems to burn ok loaded up and never got about 600-650. When i just had a couple of small splits it can get up to 700 even with the air turned down. seems to do a better job when it is loaded and goes thru the cycle.