One important thing I've learned while barbecuing recently is you've got to do it to use the coal cooking method for its benefits and not because it's cool to play with fire. Most of my life with family barbecues I attended as a youngster the fire was a fad and the food cooked was just frozen burgers and sausages which apart from being a bit more blackened than if they were cooked in the oven they didn't really exploit the power of the coals.
To start with I think you need some decent charcoal. Dom found us two bags of this stuff. Lump wood charcoal is far more superior than briquettes.
It was made up of really nice chunks of blackened wood. It was also very quick to light only needing four small firelighter blocks underneath.