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Unread 02-16-2013, 11:41 AM   #1
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Default my first cook with minion method...questions

So i have 2 spares and 4 baby backs going in on a rack. Total calculated cook time is going to be 6 and 5 hrs. So i made a basket and used the minion method as I've read great success storys for up to an 8 hr consistant burn. Here is how i did mine and questions below...






1) it took 40 min with both vents wide open to get to 225°. Is that normal?

2) at the 2 hr mark the heat spiked to 290° and it took 15min for the temp to come down with vent adjustments, any adverse effects of a 15 spike in temp?

3) my burn only lasted 3 hours before the KF regular started to die and i needed to refill. I got half a chimeny and dumped unlit charcoals on one of the corners of the basket. My wife complained that i shouldnt have put unlit coals in a fire. Is that dangerous? Toxins? Poison? I saw no difference than minion method

Thanks for your time
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Unread 02-16-2013, 12:33 PM   #2
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So after i wrapprd the ribs, i couldn't get temps over 130°-150°. since the ribs were foiled i cleared out some ash, lit a new 1/2 chiminey and added a half chimeny of unlit coals and then the lit coals. After 20 minutes the temps are around 165°. Could it be that the foiled ribs are absorbing the heat?
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Unread 02-16-2013, 12:48 PM   #3
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What are you using for a therm? I'm usually suspicious of therms. Hold your hand over the exhaust and see how that feels.

I haven't used charcoal in my offset for a long time, but I did use a couple different baskets and I never got more than a few hours out of 'em myself.

IMO there are no adverse consequences to a small temp spike, but there can be adverse consequences to chasing temps. Just pick a range (I like 270-300) and go with that, especially on a stick burner - trying to nail one steady temp will drive you nuts.

As far as I know, there are no toxins or poisons associated with putting unlit coals in a cooker. If that were the case, we'd all have arms growing out of our foreheads, 3 legs and whatnot.
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Unread 02-16-2013, 12:55 PM   #4
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So i think it may be my therm. I didnt get to install my dial therms on the door at grate level so what i do is use a digital therm that i prop about a 1/4" above grate level. What was strange i opened the cooker after 1 hour of them in foil. I heard sizzling and the foil was already a golden color. I moved the ribs around a bit and closed the cooked. Right away the therm jumped all the way to 225°
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Unread 02-16-2013, 12:59 PM   #5
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The problem with using charcoal and a minion in an offset, especially a small one, is that it does not hold a lot of charcoal to begin with. Also, unless you have a weird burn pattern (such as I do in my UDS) you are better with the charcoal going in the middle and burning outward. Burning from one corner never lets the right amount of charcoal burn at any given time.

There is no reason other than a potential for off aromas, for not adding cold charcoal to a fire. I prefer to add heated charcoal if need be, as I feel it keeps the burn more consistent. Of course, I use a UDS and a kettle and not an offset, and that is a difference as well.
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Unread 02-16-2013, 01:02 PM   #6
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Those potential aromas....do they transfer to the taste of the food?
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Unread 02-16-2013, 01:02 PM   #7
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By digital therm, I assume you mean you have a probe in there and the unit it's connected to is outside the cooker, yes?
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Unread 02-16-2013, 01:04 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Noob View Post
Those potential aromas....do they transfer to the taste of the food?
Some say they do, some say they don't. I'm personally not a fan of K Blue, but there are some very seriously awesome cooks who use it all the time with great results, so there ya go.
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Unread 02-16-2013, 01:09 PM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gtr View Post
By digital therm, I assume you mean you have a probe in there and the unit it's connected to is outside the cooker, yes?
Exactly. The probe is L shaped and the reader is outside. The wire that connects probe and reader is like steel braided wrapped
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Unread 02-16-2013, 01:12 PM   #10
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I cannot detect them, other folks claim they can. I use Kingsford when I have no better choices. I prefer the natural briquettes, less ash, or lump, less ash. But, briquettes burn better for me in my UDS.
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Unread 02-16-2013, 01:18 PM   #11
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Think of your charcoal basket as an oversized chimney. Most offset cookers draft upward over the coals, sort of diagonally from lower outside to top inside near cook chamber. Once your coals ignite from a corner, your load of fuel is burning from bottom to top, which decreases burn time. Unless your charcoal is spread out in a thin uniform layer, burning from end to end, don't expect more than a few hours of consistent temps. Unfortunately, you can't get that set up in an offset. The exception is, UDS charcoal baskets where the Minion method starts on top in the center, and burns down and outward.
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