I prefer an all wood cook started with briquettes. I seldom use lump charcoal. I’ve only used one 20lb. Bag of mesquite Lazzari in almost two years. And when I did use it…. it was mixed with briquettes.
Mr. A we sort of take it for granted emptying ash from our sfb. With our pullout SFB ash drawer emptying accumulated ash takes me all of about a half minute to dump and reload the drawer. So with our elevated grate and ash drawer it's a breeze. I’m spoiled as I never have to shovel ash either from the MC or the sfb. Like you I don't mind using fuels with a high ash content.