SMITTY wrote:Sometimes half of the pan will be in the dark & the other half will be bright -- I just keep going until it's as equal as I can get it, otherwise half the fire will be barely lit in 12 hours.
What I almost always find in that situation Smitty is the dark side will be below a bridge & air pocket above the grates. If I continue shaking down I might get embers from the dark area eventually but will pack the good side to tightly from over shaking. Instead, I'll poke into it (dark area ) from above, the coal bed will often sink like a fallen cake, into that air pocket. I then will give it 1 or 2 gentle shakes & fill up the air pocket with fresh coal. (as long as you keep a lively fire going on the good side you wont have any problems with this)
Everyone has their own technique. See what works best for you.