I tried another method last weekend on a 24 hour cook and was really suprised how well it works. This is a compact fuel load.
The advantage of this type of log fire, according to www.woodheat.org (where I found these images) is as follows:
Placing the pieces close together prevents the heat and flame from penetrating the load and saves the buried pieces for later in the burn cycle. Open the air inlets fully for between 15 to 30 minutes depending on load size and fuel moisture content. When the outer pieces have a thick layer of charcoal, reduce the air control in stages to the desired level. The charcoal layer insulates the rest of the wood and slows down the release of combustible gases.
I found that if I added a log every 45 mins the fire burned in a controlled manner with little to no need for adjustments.