I highly suggest a using a chimney to start the coals. I like to get them get nice and glowing before adding them to my basket. I will have to post my method of coal/wood ratio and how it is set up in my basket. Similar to the minion method, but different still. I feel it gives me a nice controlled cook without causing strange charcoal anomalies. We've all been in your shoes at one point or another.
22.5" Weber One Touch Gold, New Braunfels El Dorado, Country Smoker TG-300 Tailgater