Buying Cowboy Lump was your first mistake this year, not a good brand of lump, they use scrap lumber pieces, tongue & groove, and maybe some wood.
Pack the ring with lump and your choice of wood chunks, light about 1/2 a chimney of more lump or about 15 briquettes, spread evenly over the unlit, add your water to the pan, assemble the cooker, put your meat on and control your temps on the way up.
Make sure you are confident in the accuracy of whatever thermometer you are using, then relax BOY and have a pop.
Treasurer, Great Lakes BBQAssociation
Rubbed, Smoked, and Sauced Competition BBQ Team-
22 1/2" WSM, 2 18 1/2" WSM's, 22 1/2" Weber Kettle