Charcoal may be intimidating but all you need is a minion method to get it working for you.
The minion method is designed for cooking sessions lasting from 6-18 hours and is perfect for overnight cooking. Once setup you won’t need to add any more briquettes, which gives you a more consistent burn and less chance of the cooker running hotter than desired.
The concept is easy to understand and execute:
- Place a small number of hot coals on top of a full charcoal chamber of unlit briquettes.
- Use the bottom vents to control the amount of air entering the cooker, to keep the fire burning low and steady.
- The unlit fuel catches fire gradually throughout the cooking session, resulting in long burn times of up to 18 hours, depending on weather conditions.
- The biggest advantage to the “Minion Method” is that you start a small fire at low temperature and build up to 225-250 degrees instead of a big fire and struggling to fight it down to 225-250 degrees.
- Fill your charcoal chamber completely full of unlit Kingsford briquettes
- In the center remove some charcoal to create an indention
- Light minimum of 10 briquettes with the Weber Chimney Starter
- Dump the white hot coals in the indention of the unlit briquettes
- Assemble the smoker and use the bottom vents to dial in the temperature
Adding Smoking Woods
This is where I like to experiment and see what works best for my cooks.
Placing the wood chunks on top of the coals
Place your smoking wood around the charcoal chamber and dump the lit coals in the middle making sure some of the smoking wood is touching them to start smoking right away.
Burying the wood chunks
As your adding charcoal sink some wood chunks in the charcoal chamber leaving only the tops exposed, and again make sure when adding the lit coals to get some of the wood smoking right away.
Add a light layer of charcoal to the smoker and then a layer of chips and continue alternating charcoal to chips until the charcoal chamber is full.
Water or Waterless?
The water pan is designed to cook indirectly where on a grill you cook directly over the fire the water pan acts almost like a heat sink shielding the heat coming off the lit coals.
When to use liquid in the pan? I use liquid for beef and pork when it comes to poultry I will just line my pan with foil. When cooking poultry in the presence of water the skin stays soft and won’t turn crispy.
The minion method is a fast and easy way to maintain a consistent temperature and consistent cook.
When closing or opening the dampers to make slight adjustments; wait 10 mins to see the effects. Remember you can make it hotter easier than trying to fight the temperature down. So Keep that lid down, temperature low and cook slow.