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Minion method middle lit coals or all over?


Joined Feb 11, 2014
Is there any benefit to starting a smoke with the minion method having the lit coals dumped in the middle vs dumping them all over the top of the unlit coals? I have seen both ways used.

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Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Jul 2, 2012
The advantage to the minion method is to provide a long temperature consistent smoke. It is normally a line of charcoal that is lit on one end so it slowly burns like a fuse. Dumping a lit chimney of coals on top of a pile of unlit coals is one of the fastest ways to get all the coals going at once.


Master of the Pit
OTBS Member
Joined Apr 22, 2011
I've done both ways you describe and haven't noticed a big difference. Normally I'll dump my lit coals in a "well" in the middle of the pile with a chunk of smoke wood at the bottom to get the smoke going immediately. This seems to work best for me, but like I said I've tried just dumping a few coals on top of the pile and got a good long controlled burn that way too. I've not tried the "snake" or "fuse" method because it just wasn't practical with the small basket in my mini WSM but I'm sure that works well too. I've not had a problem with all the coals igniting when I didn't want them to.

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