To much smoke with the minion method

Discussion in 'General Discussion' started by mattyoc20, Feb 16, 2014.

  1. mattyoc20

    mattyoc20 Smoke Blower

    So i've been using the minion method for the last few smokes and i love idea.  However, I feel like it creates ALOT of smoke.  I am using kingsford Blue Bag but i just don't like all the smoke it gives off.  Is this an issue?  Thanks for the help
  2. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Let me see, hmmmmmmmm my crystal ball seems to be out of order at the moment. I hate to bother you, but just this once would you mind providing a few eency weency details so someone might be able to help you figure out what the problem is?
  3. wade

    wade Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Are these the briquettes or the charcoal?

    Most charcoal and briquettes produce more smoke as they are first catching but this clears once they are fully alight. I am not sure why but maybe it is due to the loose powdered charcoal on the outside initially burning off. If you think what the minion method actually is - it is effectively setting light to an increasing amount of new charcoal/briquettes over a period of time. So as the fire spreads it results in more new charcoal catching over a long period of time.

    Others may have a view on here, however I think that providing the briquettes/charcoal are of good quality and the smoke does not give off the sickly stench that is common to some of the cheap supermarket brands then you should be OK.
  4. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Are you adding hunks of non charcoaled wood to the Kingsford... maybe too many hunks are being added...
  5. flash

    flash Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Good smoke on right.

    Usually you do get heavier smoke when first starting out, but as stated, it should clear up. If it continues, I would wonder if you are putting in soaked wood and also how much wood. Two or three small chunks should be enough.
  6. mattyoc20

    mattyoc20 Smoke Blower

    Two to three chunks of soaked wood is all I ever put on and I've been smoking for about a year now and have never had any of the nice blue smoke I see referenced so often on here. Any ideas
  7. c farmer

    c farmer Smoking Guru Staff Member Moderator OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Use dry wood.
  8. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member


    We have no idea what kind of smoker your using.... How your lighting it.... how you are setting the vents... and so forth.... as MD says... we need more input ...
  9. mattyoc20

    mattyoc20 Smoke Blower

    Two to three chunks of soaked wood is all I ever put on and I've been smoking for about a year now and have never had any of the nice blue smoke I see referenced so often on here. Any ideas

    I am using a weber smokey mountain 18.5 bottom vents are usually set around half way and the top vent typically 3/4s open, whatever it takes to keep me between 225-250. I fill the ring with coals then take out the middle ones about 10 or so and light those with a chimney starter. Once lit and ashed over i dump them into the middle. I usually get about 6 hours out of the coals. I used soaked cherry and apple. Once i start smoking, i leave the wood in the bucket of water. I usually at 2-3 chunks of wood about every 4 hours. So the wood that goes in at the four hour mark has been soaking in water for 4.5 hours. I don't think thats the issue as heavy smoke comes out even before i add the wood. Thanks for the help
  10. jckdanls 07

    jckdanls 07 Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    well ok then... that's a little better... my suggestions would be... stop soaking the wood chunks (this creates steam making you think it's white smoke)... mix all the wood chunks in with the unlit charcoal (it pre heats them)... try running with top vent wide open instead of 3/4's... just close your intake more (1/4 or so) to keep temps steady... It will billow heavy white smoke while coming up to temp (all vents wide open).. but once temps stabilize (lower vents closed down) at 225 or so the white smoke will magically turn to a thinner blue smoke... give that a try or wait and see what others have to suggest...
  11. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Matty, evening..... Kingsford Blue doesn't give off smoke.... Try splitting your chunks into pieces about golf ball size... do not soak them in water.... bury the chunks in the KB so they are not exposed to air... maybe 3-4 pieces.... fire it up like you have done previously.... leave the top vent fully open... adjust the temp with the bottom draft adjuster.... I didn't read to see if your therm had been calibrated in boiling water but it's a good idea... The chunks are what gives off smoke.... if they are exposed to the air, they can give off flames and raise the temp in the smoker pretty good and once burning, no smoke is given off.... another option is to wrap the smaller chunks in aluminum foil with a few holes poked in it... that allows for the smoke to permeate the smoker without flaming up.... I think the buried option works very well..... All this [email protected] takes time and practice to get the hang of it..... If it were easy, we all would be experts and this forum wouldn't be needed..... Patience....

    Last edited: Feb 19, 2014
  12. hickorybutt

    hickorybutt Smoking Fanatic

    Kingsford (or any other briquette) does put off smoke, but only when you first light it as other have stated.  After the coals have had a chance to ignite and ash over, it doesn't put off any smoke at all as Dave said.

    My only thing with the minion method is - briquettes are continuing to light over a long period of time.  That is the point of the minion method.  So naturally you are going to get a 'little' smoke from the briquettes continuing to light throughout the burn.  But any smoke put off through that method shouldn't be the undesirable smoke that involves creosote.  Folks turn out amazing 'que using the minion method every single day.
  13. daveomak

    daveomak Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    My error..... I guess you don't need hardwood chunks to smoke wood.... I wonder why folks use it....
  14. woodcutter

    woodcutter Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    It matters what you are smoking as well. A chicken smoked with the top vent partially closed can become over smoked very fast. A brisket or pork shoulder can take heavy smoke for long periods without a problem.
  15. I love this picture.  I've tried explaining the difference between "good smoke" and "bad smoke" to my wife for when I can't be there to monitor, but this picture describes it so much better than words ever could.
  16. mattyoc20

    mattyoc20 Smoke Blower

    thanks for all the help everyone i will see if i ca tweak a few things.  So much to learn!!
  17. so ms smoker

    so ms smoker Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

        Feel free to ask your questions. We are all here to help.

  18. kvl505

    kvl505 Newbie

    Great information here. I was questioning whether the minion method would create not so desirable smoke since it is constantly lighting unlit briquette's. I did a shorter smoke of chicken drumsticks as a trial Sunday.  I dumped a whole chimney of hardwood briquette's in the basket and the heat did get very high quickly. But I was able to move and save the drumsticks. Once it settled down, it maintained 240-250 very easily for 3 hours(with only minor adjustments of the intake), and then removing the metal plate I had blocking the gap from the fire box to chamber. One benefit is: it seems to be much easier to ad wood to the basket if needed and burns a nice tidy fire.  Next time, less lit briquette's. The result was the drumsticks finished with a nice mahogany color and very little black,it worked great  I want to move up to a brisket this weekend and give it a try. Any info pro or con regarding the minion method and proper smoke, or techniques, fire away. Thanks..
  19. mdboatbum

    mdboatbum Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    For what it's worth, here's what I do and I usually get thin blue smoke after the mini gets settled in to its temp. For the minion method, as I'm filling the ring with briquettes, I'll bury 3 or 4 chunks of wood. If I'm using chips I'll just sort of mix them in with the coal. I'll leave a well in the middle for the lit coals, but I'll drop one chunk or a handfull of chips at the bottom of the well. Then I'll drop my lit coals in the well and in 20-30 minutes I'll have nice thin smoke.

    For hot and fast, I'll put the wood on the grate and dump my hot coals on top. Same deal, within 20-30 mins the smoke thins out and all is well.

    Starting out. Too much smoke.

    Same here

    Getting a little better

    Almost there

    And we're good.

    After a couple hours its completely invisible, but still sweett smelling.

  20. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    When using the minion method yes it will smoke heavily for the first 15 minutes or so till the pile gets hot enough to have burned off all the charcoal dust and what not, then it will settle down to a much thinner blue smoke. That is just the charcoal by itself.

    Now for wood: as others said don't soak it. Just toss it in dry, and also as stated bury a few pieces down in the pile at the start. Wood also smokes heavily when first tossed into a fire till it gets heated to a certain point, then it also settles down to a thin blue smoke - unless it's green wood then it's going to smoke like crazy a lot longer.

    On a WSM you can pretty much just leave the top vent 100% open at all times, don't think I have ever reduced mine at all in the 5+ years I've had it - the vent is probably glued in place by now... lol. When light your WSM all three bottom vents are 100% open, once temps get to about 200 close one vent, when temps hit 240 close second vent and adjust 3rd vent to approx. 50% closed. Your temps should stable out around 250, adjust 3rd vent as needed. If you want to run hotter leave 3rd vent 100% open and make adjustments with 2nd vent as well.

    If for some reason you ever have to add charcoal to a smoker get it at least half lit in a chimney starter BEFORE tossing it into the pile. If you dump cold charcoal on a lit pile you will get that heavy start up smoke again.... only now your meat is in there! Also when you pull the lid off you may get a bit of heavier smoke due to the fire getting a big gulp of oxygen, but it will settle right down once the lid is back on.

    Here are some recent runs on my WSM with a bit of Ninja smoke going on.


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