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Unread 09-03-2011, 10:59 PM   #1
LT72884
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Default is there a right way and a wrong way for the minion method?

is there a right way and a wrong way for the minion method?

How much lit to unlit is it? is there an actual ratio?

Im just curious because i tend to light more charcoal than i should. Like a full chimney of kingsford to one basket of unlit in my uds. Wont do that again. haha.

I was just wondering. I have heard ratios like 10% of total charcoal lit in chimney. so 10 briqs to every one hundred.

Is lump gonna be treated the same way?

thanks
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Unread 09-03-2011, 11:02 PM   #2
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Don't overthink it...

go with approx 1/4 chimney and pour out next to / on the unlit (depending on your method)..... you just need enough to get it going without it overshooting..

airflow will take care of the rest

lump should be the same
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Unread 09-03-2011, 11:14 PM   #3
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Originally Posted by MilitantSquatter View Post
Don't overthink it...

go with approx 1/4 chimney and pour out next to / on the unlit (depending on your method)..... you just need enough to get it going without it overshooting..

airflow will take care of the rest

lump should be the same
ok cool. i guess i over thunk it. Usually i get clean exhaust but higher temps, like 375 range. that 375 range makes it hard to have TBS. But i think that may be due to the fact that my wood chunks are like 2 inches long by 3/4ths inch thick and maybe an inch wide. i think they burn to fast. Imthinking with higher temps, i need a bigger piece of wood. like apple sized chunks.

thanks
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Unread 09-03-2011, 11:26 PM   #4
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It will take different amounts of heat (BTUs) to maintain a given temp in an egg, in a weber kettle, in a UDS, an offset, etc. And there is a correlation between BTUs produced and amount of charcoal lit.

Suppose we're talking about briquettes for fuel. If it takes 15 fully lit and burning briquettes produces the heat needed for the necessary temp in your cooker, then it is a mistake to start with more than 15 briquettes lit. You want to add just a fraction less burning coals to the unlit and let the fire grow up to your target. Adding too much lit means you'll have to choke back the fire and you'll get nasty smoke and wasted time waiting for the temp to come down.

Finding out the actual number to start with comes with trial and error and some observation of your fire during the steady-state phase of your cook. Too little lit means a longer time to reach your target temp and probably a higher risk of overshoot because you'll have your vents very open trying to stoke the fire.

The ratio of lit to unlit is totally dependent on how big your charcoal basket is and how full you've loaded it, and that shouldn't be your target.
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Unread 09-03-2011, 11:39 PM   #5
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Originally Posted by MG_NorCal View Post
It will take different amounts of heat (BTUs) to maintain a given temp in an egg, in a weber kettle, in a UDS, an offset, etc. And there is a correlation between BTUs produced and amount of charcoal lit.

Suppose we're talking about briquettes for fuel. If it takes 15 fully lit and burning briquettes produces the heat needed for the necessary temp in your cooker, then it is a mistake to start with more than 15 briquettes lit. You want to add just a fraction less burning coals to the unlit and let the fire grow up to your target. Adding too much lit means you'll have to choke back the fire and you'll get nasty smoke and wasted time waiting for the temp to come down.

Finding out the actual number to start with comes with trial and error and some observation of your fire during the steady-state phase of your cook. Too little lit means a longer time to reach your target temp and probably a higher risk of overshoot because you'll have your vents very open trying to stoke the fire.

The ratio of lit to unlit is totally dependent on how big your charcoal basket is and how full you've loaded it, and that shouldn't be your target.
well dang. lol. i try my best to keep temps about 250- 300 for pork butt and ribs. I like 350 for chicken but those can be done on the kettle. ok thats good to know though. i think my main problem is the wood chunks. The last cook i did, i was able to keep it at or around 275-300 BUT got nasty white smoke. could not get clean smoke. im thinking its because with the temps, the wood was just burning to fast. maybe i need to put the small chunks in a foil pouch or in my cast iron smoker box from walmart.

thanks
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Unread 09-03-2011, 11:54 PM   #6
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Jim Minion uses a weed burner.

He calls it "lighting his cooker".
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Unread 09-04-2011, 12:40 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by swamprb View Post
Jim Minion uses a weed burner.

He calls it "lighting his cooker".

And we can be pretty sure he wasn't the first guy in human history to think of burning a pile of fuel from the top down.
Same principles apply.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 02:03 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by LT72884 View Post
The last cook i did, i was able to keep it at or around 275-300 BUT got nasty white smoke. could not get clean smoke. im thinking its because with the temps, the wood was just burning to fast. maybe i need to put the small chunks in a foil pouch or in my cast iron smoker box from walmart.

thanks
The hotter the wood burns, the cleaner it burns. If you are getting white smoke, you might be choking the fire too much to bring the temps down. If you close up all the vents too soon, you will cold burn the wood. Like MG_NorCal said, "Adding too much lit means you'll have to choke back the fire and you'll get nasty smoke"
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Unread 09-04-2011, 07:56 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by MilitantSquatter View Post
Don't overthink it...

go with approx 1/4 chimney and pour out next to / on the unlit (depending on your method)..... you just need enough to get it going without it overshooting..

airflow will take care of the rest

lump should be the same
This is what I do too. I used to be anal about counting out the 15 briquetts that the Minion method originally called for. By using the 1/4 chimney my cooker comes up to temp much quicker.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 09:20 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by gambler View Post
The hotter the wood burns, the cleaner it burns. If you are getting white smoke, you might be choking the fire too much to bring the temps down. If you close up all the vents too soon, you will cold burn the wood. Like MG_NorCal said, "Adding too much lit means you'll have to choke back the fire and you'll get nasty smoke"
hmm, interesting. i have 3 of 4 vents open and i can stabilize it at 275-300 the whole cook but still got the nasty white smoke. I dont choke it down to fast. i usually cover one vent and let it take its time to come down. its almost like the wood is on fire inside, and then the flame blows out or dies and then all the smoke is released at once. I thought the wood was not supposed to actually catch on fire with flames and what not?

thanx

Matt
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Unread 09-04-2011, 09:22 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Brian in Maine View Post
This is what I do too. I used to be anal about counting out the 15 briquetts that the Minion method originally called for. By using the 1/4 chimney my cooker comes up to temp much quicker.
i guess im gonna start using a 1/4 of a weber chimney now. haha. Plus im going to make my air intakes on teh UDS bigger than half an inch. Im gonna make them a full inch now.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 09:33 PM   #12
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If you are getting thick white smoke, then your fuel is not burning efficiently. It is like a car engine running rich.

You may be putting too much lit fuel on your unlit fuel, and having to choke it back too early. Your fuel needs to get hot enough to build a good convection flow of air, so when you do dial it back it is still drawing all the air it needs. And, your fuel chamber needs to be hot enough that you are not constantly lighting cold fuel.

If you are choking down a bunch of lit fuel, at the expense of leaving your unlit coal cold, you may be out of balance. If that is the case, you are basically putting out your lit coals, and your unlit coals are just there to hold up the lit coals.

To get consistent "good" smoke, your lit coals need to heat the unlit coals and then ignite them. It is a constant process. If you are smothering your lit coals, then you are messing up that process.

CD

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Unread 09-04-2011, 09:41 PM   #13
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Wow! 1/4 of a weber chimney would be way to much for what I do. I have weber bullets and a BDS (beautiful drum smoker).
I must be anal about it but I count out approx 25 coals (done as I pour them into the starter chimney). After they are lit, I sprikle whatever I need over the unlit coal. I try to lite a few extra as they are cheap and would rather have a few to many lit as not enough. Anyway I'm sure my mileage varies more than your does.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 09:46 PM   #14
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"Don't overthink it" is some great advice :)

There are a couple things to think about when using the minion method... The ratios don't matter so much. MY configuration usually involves a LOT of unlit charcoal and just a little lit charcoal, so that is my ratio. The amount of lit charcoal you put in the basket will determine how long it takes your smoker to come up to temp. More hot coals, faster temp rise. Fewer coals, slower temp rise. I tend to stay on the fewer hot coals side and let the smoker come up to temp more slowly and not overshoot my target temps. The rate of burn is another factor to consider. Adding more hot coals won't necessarily cause all your charcoal to burn up faster. It will just cause more of it to ignite a little faster. You will control the rate of burn by controlling the airflow into the pit.
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Unread 09-04-2011, 10:13 PM   #15
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15-17 lit coals max for me.
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