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2nd Run with my Meco 5131!

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 
Hello everyone!

This is my first post as today is the second time I will be using my new(to me) Meco Charcoal/Water smoker. I smoked some corn earlier in the week to test it out and it went well. Last night I rubbed my pork butt and am putting it in the smoker as we speak. My question is how do I keep the coals hot enough for 8-10 hours? do I just put fresh unburnt coals on top of the burning ones every so often? Please help out this smoking NooB! and I thank you in advance.

post #2 of 8
You'll want to arrange your coals in a method so they burn as the old coals smolder, this is referred to as a minion method. Check out this link:


The first pic of CinnamonKC's QVUE has her modified minion method setup. Notice how the burned coals are at one end and there is a trail of unlit coals that will light and burn as necessary. She mentioned that the method gives her about 4 hours of good smoking time without having to add new coals. I've tried this method and it works beautifully!

Good luck!
post #3 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well...it's too late to start out like that as I have already started, so when these coals start to slow down, I don't have a chimney starter as of yet. Can I just put unburnt coals on top of the nearly spent ones or will I have to dissassembe the smoker to access the coal pan, clean out and start my fire over. Sorry for the noob questions, my only barbecue experience is on a gas grill and really not helping my cause with this smoker...PDT_Armataz_01_05.gif
post #4 of 8
No worries about the newb questions, we were all there once too and unless you ask you'll be eek.gifPDT_Armataz_01_05.gif the entire smoke and THAT'S NOT GOOD biggrin.gif !

What I would do is as the coals burn down, shake the charcoal pan to get the excess ash out, and then it will allow you to shift the smoldering coals to one side (use a glove or something or you'll burn those fingers!!!). Once you have all the burnt embers to one side, put some new coals on top of them (don't smolder the old ones) and then make a little trail of coals around the boarder of the charcoal pan. That should help ya out a bit. biggrin.gif
post #5 of 8
Thread Starter 
sounds great...thanks for your help. Any tips on raising the temperature I'm only hitting about 185?PDT_Armataz_01_04.gif
post #6 of 8
Hi goobergo, If you have another charcoal grill setting around, you may want to start some coals in it and then transfer then with tongs to the smoker. If your smoking a butt you may want to be doing this thru out the smoke. Get your self a chimney asap. There about $12 to $13 and most box and even hardware stores have them.

Good luck and hoping to see some q.
post #7 of 8
Thread Starter 
Well we are looking pretty good it looks like I am going to surpass my expected dinner time of 6:30. I can't get this smoker above 210 so it is taking longer than expected. It wouldn't be a big deal if my daughter didn't have swimming lessons at 7:00! Also, this smoker was a hand me down and the neither of the pans has holes in the bottom. How am I to shake out ash? Should I drill holes in the pan in the future to enable me to shake out excess ash. The ash build up after 6 hours was enough to force me to pull everything back out...sort coals...dump ash and replace. It was a huge PITA if you ask me.
post #8 of 8
Goobergo, I have a Meco 5031 and the ash pan has I'm guessing 15 to 20 holes. I could check that for you if you like. Also the holes are I'd say maybe the size of a quarter. Could check that also. Let me know.

In the excitement of the moment just b4 you dig in don't forget the Q-view. lol
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