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Minion Method

post #1 of 18
Thread Starter 
I've read through some of the threads here after doing a search and thought it might be good to start one asking people their specific experiences with the minion technique; what equipment they've tried it on and how they've performed this. It seems this is getting more popular, especially with the UDS units. I've heard of people getting insanely long burns doing this while only having to regulate airflow to adjust temp and keeping the smoker closed more (not losing smoke and heat to add wood).

I've talked to some local guys who have talked about different ways they do this ie: layering charcoal and wood chips, with the last top layer as wood chips, then applying hot coals over this. Mixing chunk hardwood with charcoal to regulate the heat produced and topping w/lit charcoal. Using all lump charcoal and topping w/lit lump. These are various scenarios I've come up with and read about and wanted all of your opinions.
post #2 of 18
You should talk to TasunkaWitko... I told him about this method a few weeks back and he did it on some butts...
post #3 of 18

Minion

I have a side fire box. I layer lump with chunks and sticks. On top I put chips and sticks to get heat up. I light on end toward cooking chamber. I use a propane torch and try to get a really hot flaming fire going. I leave the lid open and all vents until the fire is really hot. I then close the top and wait for the temp to come up in my chamber. I then start cranking down the vents. I leave sticks or chunks on the lid to pre heat and feed as needed for flavor.












post #4 of 18
On my ECB I put in 5-6 lit bricks on one side and unlit with wood chunks piled up on the other and let them burn side to side.

On the UDS I fill the basket with bricks with wood chunks layered throughout and then place 10 lit bricks in the center in a pile (thanks DDave!).

Both seem to work well for me.
post #5 of 18
Thread Starter 
I'm familiar with the Jim Minion method, but the advice and techniques people have given are pretty spread out when you do a search. I didn't even read them all there are so many... I thought it might be good for the folks to give the techniques that work for them and what units they use it on. I've heard of this done a few ways so a consolidated technique/feedback post might be good.

My current smoker is an old egg style, the nameplate is gone, it's over ten years old, but works ok. I'm working on getting a new one...

Anyway, the only way I have tried this was with with charcoal and wood chunks mixed together. My coal pan is fairy small, and I would say I used 60/40 wood to charcoal in the pan. I rounded out a bowl shape in the center and fired up 10 or so briquettes in a chimney and placed them in said bowl once completely gray. Worked great for me and smoked for hours longer than I needed it to. I used some hot tap water in the dish (my water is very hot) and have been doing it this way ever since.

The main reason I switched to this was that my unit is so small that it would get too hot and I struggled to get the heat down. This made it much easier to let the heat get up to 250, then add product, and once at 225 or so again start closing off vents and stabilize the heat. I've never noticed a weird taste by using charcoal instead of the lump coal, plus it's too expensive for me and I don't have the ability to make it. I just saw some Kingsford Natural Charcoal at a local store and may try that next time, but it's a little more costly too. Like I said, I need a new unit now that I am getting more serious, but this is by far my favorite method of building a fire.

By the way, thanks Capt Dan for letting me know about this site!
post #6 of 18
The minion method is all I really use. I have a drum and a 3x5 custom reverse flow pig cooker with an offset firebox and I use the minion with it too and have always had great success with it.
post #7 of 18
i've had good luck (in an ecb) by laying out charcoal on each side of the (modified) pan in a way that looks like moses parting the red sea. i then put lit charcoal in the open center either at one end of the "channel" or all the way through it. results seem to be good, but so far this year i've had to work in nasty weather conditions (wind, cold etc.) would like to do a little more work with this when it gets nicer....hey - it's nice today!
post #8 of 18
The one thing that doesn't typically get talked about with this method is the efficiency of the firebox. Many inexpensive side firebox horizontals leak like a sieve. When you stack lit coals over non lit coals, the oxygen supply will full the coals until it runs out of oxygen or unlit coals. If you have a leaky firebox, you won't run out of oxygen. So, you will have a blazing inferno before long if you aren't careful. This is why this method seems to work so well with drums, because of their inherent efficiencies.
post #9 of 18
Excellent point, Josh.points.gif

That is EXACTLY what would happen in my SnP,back when I used charcoal to fire it, anyway. Would get a raging hot burn which didn't last as long as was often described. What did work good in the side firebox was getting a good layer going, as it burned down, banking (or sliding) the lit coals over to the cooker side of the chamber and putting another load of unlit on the vent side of the firebox with the unlit touching, but not necessarilly on top of the lit. The fire would eventually work it's way across and then I would repeat the process. Kind of a "slide, reload, slide" method. In fact it was Josh who recommended this method to me way back in March of 2008.

http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/for...36&postcount=2

Dave
post #10 of 18
yep, this is what i have found to work best so far in my SnP.
post #11 of 18
can someone please direct me to where I can read more about this?
post #12 of 18
I had some questions about this yesterday myself, I used the search feature here on SMF, and then did a google search, and learned alot.

good luck.
post #13 of 18
I sent you a PM about the Minion method.
post #14 of 18
post #15 of 18
thanks dutch I like that I am definately going to give that a try next weekend when I do a butt
post #16 of 18

Bump - nice link for offset fire box smokers

Found this nice link with pictures for using the minion method with lump in an offset firebox. Very simple straight forward.

http://www.homebbq.com/index.php/archives/82

All credit to homebbq.com redface.gif
post #17 of 18
I just did 8 racks of ribs and 5 chickens yesterday. First 'shift' was 6 racks and 2 chickens, second shift 2 racks and 3 chickens.
Air temp was around 65, light breeze, rain from 1-3pm.

I have a CGSP and a divided coal basket. I introduced a 26"x17" drip/moisture pan, and mopped every 45 minutes or so. The entire cook, from 9am to 4pm, was done on a single load - with a large split of cherry added to each 'shift'. My initial load was RO with soaked mesquite chips. I put 2/3 lit chimney of Cowboy (lights quicker than RO) on top of one corner, and away it went. At 4pm, the smoker temp was just starting to drop through 200.

So I got a 7-hour burn! Certainly cannot complain.
post #18 of 18
"What did work good in the side firebox was getting a good layer going, as it burned down, banking (or sliding) the lit coals over to the cooker side of the chamber and putting another load of unlit on the vent side of the firebox with the unlit touching, but not necessarilly on top of the lit. The fire would eventually work it's way across and then I would repeat the process. Kind of a "slide, reload, slide" method."


I going to have to try that ......THANKS!
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