Here's what I do... from a cold firebox:
1. Laid down a smaller mesh of expanded steel over the original firegrate... to reduce dropping of useful coals.
2. Place one full chimney in the firebox and light... to warm the pit.
3. Once the chimney is fully ablaze, remove from firebox and place 2 pre-warmed splits (oak) on the firegrate mesh.
4. Pour lit chimney over the oak splits.
Shortly a bed of coals will be available... if its too hot, wait 15 minutes.
*** Originally tried pouring the chimney over the larger, original firegrate... and saw some of the charcoal fall thru the grate... hence the smaller mesh (3/4").