It was a relatively small Pork Shoulder Roast. It looked good. Nice balance of fat and lean, and just the right size for the remaining charcoal I had in stock. Cash was a bit short, so the six dollar price was good. I couldn't afford more charcoal, so what I had would have to do.
I rubbed the meat with olive oil and then added my spices. I am still working with the seasoned salt/salt/black pepper mix that has done so well in the past.
The charcoal was loaded into the starter chimney and fired up. The balance of the charcoal was divided between two coffee tubs. I find setting up my fuel in handy containers is, well, handy. I can just grab a tub of charcoal and pour some in whenever the fuel seems to need refreshing. Handy.
I set my thermometer for 165 degrees. I cleaned the heated grate and added the meat. I figured I had enough fuel for three hours. That seemed about right. The charcoal was the remains of my bag of Kingsford Hickory. I had no extra chips, but this charcoal has hickory bits in the charcoal itself, and proved adequate.
At the end of the three hours (adding charcoal every forty five minutes or so) I had used all of my fuel and the heat was declining. My temperature was 154 degrees inside the meat. I could see we weren't going to reach the target temperature, so I set my kitchen oven for 275 degrees and let the meat continue to cook in the barbecue until it preheated.
I transferred the meat to the oven and it reached temperature in fifteen minutes. The end product had a good smoke flavor and was quite juicy. It was very tasty, and quite satisfactory considering the price.
I think the combination of smoker and oven is a good choice when the supply of charcoal is not adequate, and might also be used to shorten the cooking time if you don't have as much time for slow cooking as you might like. I don't know the minimum amount of time necessary to establish a good smokey flavor using the smoker, but some seems to be better than none.
Pretty much just use what you have, and do the best you can with that. Try something new now and then, and learn from your mistakes. So far I haven't had many of those, and my meals have been surprisingly good.
Most important of all, I have had fun.