I have been using Full Circle lump charcoal because I've been pleased with it so far but also because it's sold at my local grocery store which makes it very convenient. With that being said yesterday I smoked a little 5 lb pork shoulder at 250 degrees; the air temp was in the 60's and raining. I started this cook with all fresh, new charcoal an filled it 3/4 of the way to the fire ring. About 4.5 hours into the smoke I started having trouble getting the temperature to hold and continued to open the damper and the wheel until they were fully open; obviously at this point I knew there was a problem. I took the shoulder off, removed the grate and the plate setter to find what was ultimately nothing but ash left.
I was (and still am) absolutely shocked that the coal didn't withstand a hour cook. Have any of you experienced this before? Any thoughts as to why I got so little time out of this cook?