Over the weekend I was forever, fiddling with the kettle smoker. Now I think that perhaps the trick is to leave well alone.
It is to all intents and purposes impossible to take the vessel's body off the fire to get at the charcoal without the chicken falling over. My next beer can chicken will be done in the oven.
The modus operandi from now on will be to get the charcoal thoroughly started, get the meat on, then ..... leave it be.
After a couple of hours flavouring will be complete, and I can sort any under-cooking out in my conventional kitchen oven.
That way I come up smelling of roses. Sniffing myself this morning I was reminded that my Uncle Willie ran away to sea as a boy and worked as stoker in the merchant marine. Evocative but scarcely Proust's Madeleine.