Woody, Burger Meister, #6, fbov & Chris - thank you all for your responses. Today I viewed the video at home in front of the KJ and followed along to make sure I was doing things correctly. The first thing that struck me was that when Lowes delivered the KJ, they delivered XL Lump Charcoal, I never realized that there was another size until I saw it in the video and that wasn't even a choice when ordering. I have to think that part of my problem is that I don't have any smaller pieces to add to the pile. I did make sure to empty the ashes (which were very few) and make sure the air holes in the grate were clear.
With the grate fully open and the top swung open, I did get the KJ up to 425 after 45 minutes at which time I closed the grate to halfway and closed the top altogether but left the holes open and the temperature eventually fell to about 325. Opened the holes a bit more and got 350 and which temperature I roasted a chicken using the basic recipe in the small instruction book. Added asparagus later - both came out wonderfully. I just don't see it getting any hotter doing what I'm doing without leaving everything wide open which I know isn't the plan.
Woody, I believe that answers your question.
Burger, your comment about small and large pieces might well be on point here. Can I assume that I need the small pieces to accomplish what needs to be done? If so, that's an easy fix.
#6, I admit to being confused about what unit I have. After a while, they all seemed the same to me but since I paid so little for it at Lowes I have to figure it's the more basic unit, the Classic? It seems to have everything I thought I needed to start out. The product number ended in a "C", that I recall. Is there a Kick Ash Basket for that unit? And is the top supposed to be spring-loaded to ease the downward speed? I really don't need that feature but there are two large springs at the back of the top, perhaps I'm supposed to adjust those?
fbov, I'm looking forward to making pizza. First I have to learn the basics . . . like, am I supposed to clean the stainless steel after using it? Or can I let it go forever? And of course, getting the temp up to where it needs to go.
Chris, yes it does.
Again, to all of you, thanks for your responses. They are really helping.