I'd fill the ring completely regardless of choice of fuel. You may want to place the larger pieces of lump on the fire grate first. So that you wont lose any pieces falling down through the grate. I'd also light about 1/4 t of chimney of lit for minion method. Remember catch the temp on the way up. Start adjusting your vents 50-75F from your target temp.
After your temp is dialed in, don't worry, the smoker maintains pretty well. If maintaining temps is of concern, I'd go back to briquettes for your 1st cook, will probably be much easier. And if you do, 15 lit briquettes is about what you need to get her up to 250F.
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