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Minion Method on WSM???

Millberry

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Joined Nov 12, 2020
I am kinda new at this WSM18. A little new at smoking meat --so bear with me please. I ask a lot of questions (mostly dumb ones) and get some super answers. When I try the Minion method (Ember charcoal briquets). I have trouble each time. Seems like temperature drops and I have opened all the vents, I have to add more charcoal and stir-- but when the cook is over, I notice a lot of the briquets on one side never burned. My friend---a long ways away(I can't observe)--has a WSM22 and says he uses lump charcoal and dumps it in--then pours his starter charcoal (also lump) all over the top evenly. He has no trouble he says. I was just wanting your opinions. Maybe switch charcoal, don't cook in the wind, more starter charcoal...Heck--just looking for a little guidance. I will probably figure it out one day....Thanks guys and gals
 

gmc2003

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
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Joined Sep 15, 2012
Here's how I do it on my 22" WSM and it works for me.

1. Fill the charcoal ring with briquettes. I use Royal oak or KBB. I don't use lump because I have a harder time controlling the temps.

2. Bury a chunk of wood in direct line from each of the vents to the center of the charcoal ring. Staggering each chunk so they don't all produce smoke at the same time.

3. Some folks use a soup can here when filling the charcoal ring, but remove enough coals from the center of the charcoal ring so you can see the charcoal grate. Creating a dimple in the center of your ring.

4. Fill the dimple with 6-10 fully lit briquettes. All vents wide open.

5. When your smoker is within 30* of your tgt. temp. and it's not windy slowly close down each vent an equal amount. Make adjustments every 15 minutes or so. Enough time to let the WSM settle in. If it's windy then fully close down the vents facing the wind all the way and make adjustments with the vents opposite the wind.

6. When your temps are stable add you meat.

7. After 15 min. of putting your meat on the grate. Make slow adjustments to the vents to dial the temp back in. If needed.

8. When the smoke is finished close down all vents and snuff out the coals. They can be reused. Don't worry if your WSM doesn't burn evenly all the way around the charcoal ring. As long as you maintained your desired temps.

9. Note: If your going for temps 225* and lower then I would add boiling water to the water pan. If your going for above 225* then just foil the pan and leave it empty.

It sounds like your friend is setting his up for hot and fast. Other members may do it totally differently or very similar. This way works for me. I don't use a blower. My WSM runs naturally aspirated.


Chris
 

CigarLlama

Fire Starter
49
59
Joined Jun 7, 2019
The minion method is my go-to method. gmc2003 gmc2003 describes it very well. I think the only major difference between his method & mine is that I have filled the water pan with sand. It's a very good for temperature control & I have found that it prevents the temperature from running away too quickly.
 

Millberry

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
475
344
Joined Nov 12, 2020
Here's how I do it on my 22" WSM and it works for me.

1. Fill the charcoal ring with briquettes. I use Royal oak or KBB. I don't use lump because I have a harder time controlling the temps.

2. Bury a chunk of wood in direct line from each of the vents to the center of the charcoal ring. Staggering each chunk so they don't all produce smoke at the same time.

3. Some folks use a soup can here when filling the charcoal ring, but remove enough coals from the center of the charcoal ring so you can see the charcoal grate. Creating a dimple in the center of your ring.

4. Fill the dimple with 6-10 fully lit briquettes. All vents wide open.

5. When your smoker is within 30* of your tgt. temp. and it's not windy slowly close down each vent an equal amount. Make adjustments every 15 minutes or so. Enough time to let the WSM settle in. If it's windy then fully close down the vents facing the wind all the way and make adjustments with the vents opposite the wind.

6. When your temps are stable add you meat.

7. After 15 min. of putting your meat on the grate. Make slow adjustments to the vents to dial the temp back in. If needed.

8. When the smoke is finished close down all vents and snuff out the coals. They can be reused. Don't worry if your WSM doesn't burn evenly all the way around the charcoal ring. As long as you maintained your desired temps.

9. Note: If your going for temps 225* and lower then I would add boiling water to the water pan. If your going for above 225* then just foil the pan and leave it empty.

It sounds like your friend is setting his up for hot and fast. Other members may do it totally differently or very similar. This way works for me. I don't use a blower. My WSM runs naturally aspirated.


Chris
Lord have merccy Thank you so much Chris I was doing everything about right. Probably adding my meat too early though. I guess fighting the wind and worrying about leftover bunches of charcoal just go with the territory. - You were so nice to explain all that to me. My friend was saying his temperature lasts through the night???It doesn't seem right for my temperature drop after 2 -3 hours,,-I think experience will help that . You know the sentence I love? #9..: If your going for temps 225* and lower then I would add boiling water to the water pan. If your going for above 225* then just foil the pan and leave it empty. I needed guidance there. That sentence may not be gospel, but at least I can use it and change it according to my experiences if needed.
 

WV_Crusader

Meat Mopper
260
222
Joined Mar 15, 2014
Exactly what was said above. It’s a learning process and lots of patience but in the end it’s beyond worth it! I’ve wondered about the fans and even have a PID controller that I built myself from Watlow and other stuff for my drum that works great but it was hit and miss so I just run natural.
 

JCAP

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
671
733
Joined Jun 12, 2019
Not much to add, Chris lays it out perfect. The only difference in my operation is I always have one do the bottom events totally closed at the start but that’s bc I have my fan attachment there. But everything still works the same.

The best thing about the WSM is once you get it dialed in it crusies.
 

Millberry

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
475
344
Joined Nov 12, 2020
Exactly what was said above. It’s a learning process and lots of patience but in the end it’s beyond worth it! I’ve wondered about the fans and even have a PID controller that I built myself from Watlow and other stuff for my drum that works great but it was hit and miss so I just run natural.
I NOW think you are right. It is a learning process -I am too impatient in every thing I always do. Thank you so much.
 

SmokinAl

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Staff member
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Joined Jun 22, 2009
Chris has you covered!
There are several ways to start a fire in a WSM, with the minion method, but Chris has you covered!
Good luck & you will find that after a few cooks with the WSM it will be real easy to do.
Al
 

WV_Crusader

Meat Mopper
260
222
Joined Mar 15, 2014
hey buddy we are all here for the same reasons, great group, great food, and everything BBQ!!!!
 

Millberry

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
475
344
Joined Nov 12, 2020
Here's how I do it on my 22" WSM and it works for me.

1. Fill the charcoal ring with briquettes. I use Royal oak or KBB. I don't use lump because I have a harder time controlling the temps.

2. Bury a chunk of wood in direct line from each of the vents to the center of the charcoal ring. Staggering each chunk so they don't all produce smoke at the same time.

3. Some folks use a soup can here when filling the charcoal ring, but remove enough coals from the center of the charcoal ring so you can see the charcoal grate. Creating a dimple in the center of your ring.

4. Fill the dimple with 6-10 fully lit briquettes. All vents wide open.

5. When your smoker is within 30* of your tgt. temp. and it's not windy slowly close down each vent an equal amount. Make adjustments every 15 minutes or so. Enough time to let the WSM settle in. If it's windy then fully close down the vents facing the wind all the way and make adjustments with the vents opposite the wind.

6. When your temps are stable add you meat.

7. After 15 min. of putting your meat on the grate. Make slow adjustments to the vents to dial the temp back in. If needed.

8. When the smoke is finished close down all vents and snuff out the coals. They can be reused. Don't worry if your WSM doesn't burn evenly all the way around the charcoal ring. As long as you maintained your desired temps.

9. Note: If your going for temps 225* and lower then I would add boiling water to the water pan. If your going for above 225* then just foil the pan and leave it empty.

It sounds like your friend is setting his up for hot and fast. Other members may do it totally differently or very similar. This way works for me. I don't use a blower. My WSM runs naturally aspirated.


Chris
fill with 6-10 briquettes-Lordy. I have 18 inch WSM and have been putting 2-3! Thanks for the guidance.
 

gmc2003

Epic Pitmaster
OTBS Member
10,716
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Joined Sep 15, 2012
Yup the 22" has a lot of area to heat up when compare to the 18. Adjust the quantities to fit your size smoker, outside temps, and tastes. Let me know if you have any other questions.

Chris
 

Millberry

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
475
344
Joined Nov 12, 2020
I followed it like a Bible this morning---so far so good--Thanks again Charlie
 

Millberry

Smoking Fanatic
SMF Premier Member
475
344
Joined Nov 12, 2020
Here's how I do it on my 22" WSM and it works for me.

1. Fill the charcoal ring with briquettes. I use Royal oak or KBB. I don't use lump because I have a harder time controlling the temps.

2. Bury a chunk of wood in direct line from each of the vents to the center of the charcoal ring. Staggering each chunk so they don't all produce smoke at the same time.

3. Some folks use a soup can here when filling the charcoal ring, but remove enough coals from the center of the charcoal ring so you can see the charcoal grate. Creating a dimple in the center of your ring.

4. Fill the dimple with 6-10 fully lit briquettes. All vents wide open.

5. When your smoker is within 30* of your tgt. temp. and it's not windy slowly close down each vent an equal amount. Make adjustments every 15 minutes or so. Enough time to let the WSM settle in. If it's windy then fully close down the vents facing the wind all the way and make adjustments with the vents opposite the wind.

6. When your temps are stable add you meat.

7. After 15 min. of putting your meat on the grate. Make slow adjustments to the vents to dial the temp back in. If needed.

8. When the smoke is finished close down all vents and snuff out the coals. They can be reused. Don't worry if your WSM doesn't burn evenly all the way around the charcoal ring. As long as you maintained your desired temps.

9. Note: If your going for temps 225* and lower then I would add boiling water to the water pan. If your going for above 225* then just foil the pan and leave it empty.

It sounds like your friend is setting his up for hot and fast. Other members may do it totally differently or very similar. This way works for me. I don't use a blower. My WSM runs naturally aspirated.


Chris
Chris--I copied close as i could with my 18 WSM.on my last smoke .Came out real, real Good.. Burned evenly this time. Thanks again
 

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