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I usually light my fire , put my chunks of apple (Pork) in, platesetter,foil balls, empty drip pan, grid. Let everything come up to temp together with vents wide open until about 50 degrees below target temp. Shut vents down to about where I think they need to be and let temp stabilize. By the time it stabilizes it is usuallt burning clean and is ready for the meat. Good Luck !
Prayers to you and your family. Although it very tough to let go of a loved one , an inner peace is knowing they no longer have to endure any pain. They will live on forever in your heart through memories.