Originally Posted by Fat Woody
Sounds like you're on the right track; I build a pretty big fire to heat the cooker up initially and the coals from that are usually sufficient to keep the next split burning. But I also keep an unlit chimney loaded with charcoal - just in case the BBQ gods are looking the other way that day
After starting with charcoal, you really shouldn't have to add any more during the cook. With the exception of occasionally having wet or unseasoned wood, the splits that you are putting in, (I average a split every 45 minutes or so) should maintain a coal bed. If you are cooking with an offset stick burner which I assume that you are, you should really be using wood as your primary fuel source. A small hot burning wood fire with plenty of ventilation is much easier to control in an offset.