minion method help

Discussion in 'Reverse Flow' started by moparman33952, Mar 5, 2011.

  1. admins please move to the appropriate section. ok I'm totally convinced I'm doing things WRONG and severely wrong!!

    I load my coal basket with either 100% lump coal or 100% hard wood briquettes either way 2.5 bags every load ; ok here is what i'm

    doing; 1st fire up (seasoning )  2.5 bags in the basket 1 full chimney full of fully lit coals not so worried about long term heat @ this point but 380* for 3.5 hrs intake and stack 100% open 

    ok second fire up 2.5 bags of Stubb's brand briquettes ( previous fire up also ) 1 full chimney  of fully lit coals spread over the top of the pile let come up to 250* set intake grates 1/8th open stack 100% open held temp for 3.5 hrs temp fell rapidly after this both times (see above ) 

    peek into the fire box about 45 min to an hour into the burn and all the coals are steadily glowing orange but both times holding temps as stated 

    third fire up only change R.O. 100% lump same amount 2.5 bags 1 full chimney same results let it come up to this time 225* intake grates fully shut stack wide open held 225 for 3.5 almost 4 hrs severe temp drop after. peeked in the fire box 45 min after light up all coals glowing orange; totally convinced I'm doing things wrong plus after 3.5 - 4 hrs almost all the coals are almost all burt up and gone 

    my old brinkmann upright  will go 8+ hrs on a full coal pan with me only adding chunks as needed.

    I'm convinced I'm doing something terribly wrong!!!  though I realize I may have built a pit that may be a fuel hog. I trully understand how

    the minion method is supposed to work and I'm totally convinced I'm doing things terribly wrong especially after  almost an hour in all the coals are burning. needing help 

    yes I subscribe to jeffs newsletters is there a DETAILED video of this from start to finish ( fire construction. lighting , ect. ect. ) like i said I'm convinced I'm doing things wrong.

    thanks in advance for all your help
  2. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Hey Mopar,

    You're not doing anything WRONG, you're just not doing it correctly.  LOL

    The Minion Method is used to keep charcoal burning at a target temp by regulation air flow, what you are doing is lighting all of the charcoal by pouring it on top.

    Next time load you charcoal basket with charcoal and leave a hole next to the air inlet, place the lit coals in the hole with the air inlet fully open, the draft from the exhaust will cause the heat to flow towards it and light the unlit coals next to the lit ones. When the cooking chamber temperature is 20°-25° below the target temp close the inlet vent by 25%, wait 15-20 minutes and if the cooking chamber temp is still climbing rapidly close the vent another 25%.  Continue closing the vent until the cooking chamber stabilizes at the target temp, the more you use your smoker the better acquainted you will become with it's characteristics and you will know where to position the air vent for the target temp at start up.

    I think it would be wise to choose one brand of charcoal and learn how it burns in your smoker before trying another, I'm told they all burn differently and once you learn how start up and stabilizing you temp then you can experiment to see which brand is the most efficient in you smoker.

    That is how the MM works, but with your smoker you might need to burn splits too for longer burn times.

    Last edited: Mar 6, 2011
  3. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    It would help if we knew the size of your smoker and is it meant to burn charcoal & wood, or splits? I have a WSM 22. I put 3 chimneys of unlit charcoal in the charcoal ring with wood chunks mixed in. All arranged in the shape of a pyramid. Then I put 8 lit briquettes on top. That is enough to get it going. It takes about a half hour to get up to temp., then it will stay there for 8-10 hours, depending on what temp I'm smoking at.
  4. Hi and thanks guys for your replies

    @ Al I have a trailer mounted 250 gallon r.f. that I built the fire box is 30"w x 30"d x 24"t with a coal basket that is 28"d x 22"w x 17" t. I didn't build it with intentions for it to run any one single fuel source ( maybe part of my problem I can't get big enough splits of my fav. wood)

    Being down here in Florida I am having a hard time getting my favorite smoking wood which is Apple, Now I can get all the Oak or Citrus wood I want. I prefer the taste of Apple I could easily get it when I was living up in Michigan, not so much down here. anyhow

    I did have an issue with my f.b. door it was staying partially open 1/4" -1/2" don't know why I didn't catch it before but I quickly fixed that this morning now it closes up tight now

    @ Gene Thanks I just couldn't visualize how to do this in my smoker after your description it makes sense now and after re-reading your post I'm convinced I will have to burn logs or large splits as well as lump coal.

    every pic I have seen of this method has been on a WSM or similar style smoker

    I'm not going to let this beat me I'm pretty sure I will get it

    once again THANK YOU guys well of to PRACTICE, PRACTICE, PRACTICE
  5. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Funny you should say that, all I have that burns lump is an WSM

    As to your problem of not having enough off your favorite wood to use as splits..., I'd cheat!  We have a member here, 'boykjo' that built an excellent, step by step pipe burner for his smoker, it's on a welding forum, so if your interested you might PM him for the info.  You could place it under the reverse flow plate and use it as an alternate heat source, hence saving your 'precious' apple for the smoke flavor.  Just saying, ...I'm not a purist, whatever it takes to get it done. [​IMG]

  6. Thanks Gene I have and do wanna put a gas burner on this at a later date also a couple burners on the side at least this is the plan
  7. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Ditto, I made 2, one sits under my reverse flow plate and the other sits in the firebox.
  8. sqwib

    sqwib Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Bear, don't worry I wont post that blue flame unless requested[​IMG]
  9. Just wanted extend a BIG OLE THANK-YOU to all of u that passed along your knowledge and wisdom to a noob.I think I have finally got the hang of this minion method thing .. so far on my home built smoker I'm at the 5 hr mark on 3 bags of R.O. lump and 6 good sized splits of apple wood although it has been super windy this weekend and with minimal fiddling with the intake dampers she is holding steady around 230* +/- 20* because of the wind and from being up in the cold country for many yrs I think this is going rather well, I know the colder and windier it is the more it affects a bbq smoker and it will use more fuel so once.again thanks everyone qview to soon follow nothin special just spare ribs
  10. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    All right!!!

    Let's see them ribs and while your at it a couple of pics of your smoker please.

  11. All righty then here we go hope the pix post ok have to many in my photobucket account to sort through gotta post'em one at a time
  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Nice looking rig and nice looking ribs! Glad you got it figured out..... my suggestion was going to be look for uncontrolled airlflow, then I saw you found the door was open, heh-heh. The minion is all about controlling airflow well so if there is a lot of extra air coming into the firebox or if the smoker is leaking smoke at every joint you aren't going to get a very effective minion.

    Grats on getting it figured out and some good looking meat! [​IMG]
  13. Thanks JIRodriguez still learning what makes my pit happy and thank for the compliments on my 'cue
  14. justpassingthru

    justpassingthru Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    Good looking rig and I'd love to have some ribs like that!

    I'm way out of my league here, but should you be burning charcoal in that, isn't that what is called a stick burner, wouldn't you be better off burning splits?

    Hopefully some of the stick burners guys will see this and correct me if I'm wrong.

  15. helljack6

    helljack6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Wait, you're complaining about your burn times coming out of an OFFSET smoker? Considering the size of your rig, people would kill to have the kind of efficiency you're already getting. Your ECB burns longer and more effectively because it's running on indirect heat and radiant heat, whereas your OFFSET cooks off indirect heat alone, so you're going to burn more fuel. Your rig is a stick burner, why are you destroying it with charcoal or lump anyway (IMOO)?

    3 Bags of RO Lump in 5 hours? In my UDS, 3 bags of anything lasts me about roughly about 96 hours with hot swappable reloading fire baskets cooking at 220.

    As far as the sudden drop in temps after a period of time, that's the way charcoal/lump/stick burners are. If you want to avoid the sudden drop, try gauging out how long your current fuel amount will last BEFORE the drop, and then add a full chimney of unlit 20 minutes prior to that failsafe time to give it time to get ignited and start heating up to keep your temps constant.

    The more air tight your rig is, the more efficiently it's going to burn the fuel source, and use less fuel to a degree.

    And the minion method DOES work, but differently and sometimes not as effectively in the type of smoker you are using it on, as I said, with the size of rig you have, some people would kill to get the burn times you previously gotten so the process IS working. You're just used to seeing it work on a MUCH MORE EFFICIENT smoker.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  16. bearcarver

    bearcarver Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    LOL---Took me awhile, but I found this.



    Nice looking rig & your ribs look real tasty from here!
  17. smokinal

    smokinal Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member ★ Lifetime Premier ★

    Bear X2.
  18. @ Bear & SmokinAl  thanks for the compliments 

    @helljack6  can you explain to me for the love of the man upstairs how in the world I'm destroying my rig by using either lump/charcoal,  AND YES I do plan on using logs/splits (large ones ) once they get seasoned. I just did some tree trimming around my house cut up alot of oak and fruit trees ( orange & grapefruit ) since you copied my original post my fist few attempts were not meant as long time smokes but mainly to see how it would this thing worked and check for leaks ect. ect. in one of my previous posts I had found out the fire box door was staying open @ least a 1/2" and I

    have since resolved that issue. My doors are a little warped and will probably fix this as soon as I can get ahold of a set of torches so I can heat them and re arch them then this will take care of all 

    the leaks albeit the doors aren't bad.  First and foremost this IS MY FIRST attempt at building a smoker let alone something like this and yes I could have just plunked down alot of hard earned

    money on a proven rig from a dedicated builder / fabricator now wheres the fun in that? Especially when I have the ability to do it myself and can save myself 1/2 of the cheapest one I found ANYWHERE. Ok enough venting LOL!!!

    I would love to be able to achieve and  hold temps long enough to do a brisket,butt and such HENCE the reason I'm asking for HELP 
  19. meateater

    meateater Smoking Guru SMF Premier Member

    Your ribs look great, Keep at it you will be a pro in no time. I'm still working at it myself after all these years. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011
  20. helljack6

    helljack6 Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    1. I said it was IMOO (in my OWN opinion), meaning, nobody probably shares that opinion, including you, OBVIOUSLY.

    2. You should re-READ the thread, it was a freaking compliment, NOT a complaint, stop getting so defensive. Those kinds of burn times are rarely seen much less heard of or published with offset type smokers.

    3.  Remind me NOT to compliment your work anymore, i'd hate for you to continue to take it the wrong way.

    4.  Don't ask for help and then snap the hand that helps you, it ain't cool. Looking back, I gave you a compliment, made two statements, offered a suggestion towards getting even LONGER burn times and then provided an explanation. All I got from you in return is a defending your liberties response because you didn't like my (2) statement.
    Last edited: Apr 6, 2011

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