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How much charcoal?

post #1 of 6
Thread Starter 

Hi Folks,


I have a ProQ Excel, similar in style/size to the WSM. The charcoal basket is quite large and obviously for long cooks of 7 hours or so I fill it right up. But should it always be filled? What if I'm only doing 3 hrs for a whole chicken for example? If I only fill it part way will it reach the desired temperature?


Also another question.  I used a 5kg bag of briquettes (admittedly from Asda, so questionable quality) using the minion method. I put about 2.5 litres of boiled water from the kettle in the water pan, and for the whole 4-5 hours had the vents open fully. The temperature would NOT go above 200F! After about 4 hours the heat dropped 50F as the charcoal had burnt out. Luckily I was cooking lamb and it had hit 60C giving a nice pinkish meat.




post #2 of 6

I don't over  stuff my basket on small cooks but i pretty much fill it up.  What works for me is just lighting one side of it then it uses what it uses and what is left is unburnt ready to go for the next cook.  


After a small cook

Shake out ash and stack from most burnt to least burnt

Add new 



Light the partial burnt....rinse repeat.

post #3 of 6
Thread Starter 

Brilliant thank you very much, I take it the "minion method" is best used for long cooks? How did you light the coals, chimney starter?

post #4 of 6


Most times i don't bother using my chimney but you can.  If i used a chimney i'd just put some of the partial burnt in and dump it back in the same spot.   


It's easier for me to just light the basket directly.  I've used a weed burner/warming torch, small torch, and Weber lighter cubes. 


If i was just doing a chicken or chicken parts i might just put in a whole chimney and cook pretty much right away...other than that for short or long cooks i just minion burn like i showed you. 

Edited by FWIsmoker - 5/6/14 at 8:17am
post #5 of 6

Hey how do you like your ProQ?   Take advantage of the fact it grills...something Weber should change with their WSM.   When you're done smoking something it's nice to be able to sear it some. 

post #6 of 6
Thread Starter 

Yeah it's good, still getting used to it. I've only tried the grill part once but I either didn't put in enough charcoal or the the charcoal I had was cheap as it didn't stay hot for very long at all. Live and learn.


I will probably use it as a grill a bit more this year, sometimes it's nice just to be able cook something relatively quickly.

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