Yes the minion method is just that. You lay out a bed of unlit coals then spread a lit chimney of coals over them. The lit coals will gradually ignite the unlit coals giving you a nice long burn. In my horizontal/offset I get up to an 8 hour burn before having to add more fuel. This will of coarse depend on how much unlit you put down and how much oxygen you are allowing in to the fuel.
There are a few posts here specifically about the minion method if you do a search.
Sorry we forgot about you in our discussion about the lump vs briquettes.
Hope this helps.
Air, you will be happy to know that I Q'd this weekend and only used lump. Didn't have a chance to make a charcoal basket yet so I just changed the set up a little. Started with approx. 5 lbs of unlit lump in the firebox, slightly piled in the center and spread out on the edges. Dumped a fully lit chimney and spread it out much more than the last time. The unlit lump lit nice and slow without the excess smoke I had the last time I used it this way. Looking back at my last BBQ and comparing it to this past weekend I can say that two things probably gave me the excess smoke. First I don't think my initial chimney of lump was fully lit and second I didn't spread it out as much (this probably caused the lump to ignite too quickly). Anyway, except for lighting an unlit bed of lump the briquettes are out for the time being. I still found it to burn a little quicker, but I was able to hold 250 for quite some time before needing to add more lump.