I also have a Silver Smoker (that I modified). I have used the Minion Method with both lump, and briquette. Both worked very well (got about 5 hours of initial burn at 225-250). I used Kingsford for the briquette and used Royal Oak for the lump. Got them both at Walmart. I usually just toss a couple of wood chunks per hour on top of the hot coals for the first few hours of the smoke. I've done a brisket and a pork shoulder so far (I'm new to this), and both have turned out well. Both very juicy and "7" on the tenderness scale (I need to work on the whole "foiling and stuffing into a cooler wrapped in blankets for a couple of hours" thing).
how did you get that long of a burn on a SS? I have the same model, but the fifrst time I tried minion I burned the hell out of the firebox paint. I can get about 3 hours initial burn when I do minion and barely crack the damper.
Wow, I didn't even know that there was a name for the way I've been smoking for years! LOL
I also have the silver smoker and Woody, the very first time I lit a fire in mine, the paint burned off the bottom of the fire box. When I called Char-Broil about it, their response was kinda "Oh Well"... I went out bought some hi-temp paint and repainted it, no problem. :)
I also only use lump charcoal - typically Royal Oak because I can get it anywhere. I used to use and LOVED B & B Lump Charcoal. That stuff was da BOMB!!! Unfortunately B&B decided to no longer use independent distributors and the shipping costs from Texas to Connecticut was 3 times the cost of the charcoal! I fill the box with about 5 pounds of lump and add a few lit pieces at the door end of the box. I also scatter about 4 or 5 pieces of hickory chunks - front to back. I close the firebox damper all the way (since a ton of air gets in anyway) and close the chimney damper about 80%. I monitor the smoking chamber temp with a Polder probe thermometer with the probe set at the level of the meat (stick the probe thru a small ball of wadded foil and set the probe in the grate). The Polder allows me to set a temperature alarm so that I can be warned if the temp gets too high. I usually set it at 235. If the alarm trips, I close the chimney damper a bit more until the temp goes back down. I can get a good 5 or 6 hours of burn this way. At least when I'm doing a shoulder or brisket, I'm only getting up once in the middle of the night. :)
Placing your smoker in the direct sun while smoking also helps greatly with the length of time you can keep up your temps. Getting the direct sun on my smoker helps here in the foothills of the Rockies when it's cold outside, I've learned to use it to my advantage...