Maybe I should expand a bit more....
Y'all made sense, but here is the thing and maybe I was getting it wrong when I heard it the radio-- or the podcast as the case may be.
I have used Jim's method even with my offsets... works great. On my Excel I put approximately 20lbs of charcoal in the basket and 6 or 8 in the chimney. When the few are grayed over they go on top of the others. Pretty classic Minion method. Obviously there is some wood involved too. So what I have achieved, and anyone else at this point really, is a big pile of un-lit charcoal that is going to be set off slowly by the very small pile of lit charcoal. Something like this here...
The point the other night was... Only used totally grayed over charcoal if you want to avoid off flavors that are derived from binders etc... and if I was direct grilling I would agree, but I use lump for that and that's a different discussion.
So... if I were a total noob and set out to follow the advice the other night I would have had 20lbs of ashed over charcoal in the bottom of my smoker, a lot of jerky, and a small meltdown.
I'm thinking they were just talking about "Grilling" opportunities, but it came across as "whenever you are using charcoal briquettes."
If I have been overly technical here... I apologize and please chalk it up to my experience with end users.
P.S. I was really not trying to get into brands as that seems to be religion to us... I have tasted funny flavors from certain brands. I wont use them ever again. I use lump for some things... briqs for other things... wood to some degree almost always... and occasionally some sawdust in a tray.