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Q-talk *ON TOPIC ONLY* QUALITY ON TOPIC discussion of Backyard BBQ, grilling, Equipment and just outdoor cookin' in general, hints, tips, tricks & techniques, success, failures... but stay on topic. And watch for that hijacking.


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Unread 05-07-2012, 09:36 AM   #1
pike51
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Default Minion method and Maze basket problem

I seem to be having the same issue weather I use the minion method or a maze basket...

When I add my 6 or 7 lit coals, everything burns through very quickly and I have a full fire on my hands. My temps get very hot very quick and then die just as quickly. I'm not getting the "slow, extended burn" that I hear others talk about. This keeps me paying alot of attention to my fire at all times during my cook and adding additional coals multiple times.

I've used and had the same results with: Kingsford Blue and several different brands of lump. I've has the same results when I use wood chunk and when I don't.

Anyone had this same issue and can suggest additional things to try and tame my fire? It's not a huge deal except it means I'm really concentrating alot on my fire and am unable to leave it for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Thanks.
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Unread 05-07-2012, 09:59 AM   #2
qnbiker
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What kind of smoker do you have? If it's an offset, make sure the lit coals are closest to the smoke box so the fire has to burn against the airflow.

What kind of maze do you have? Mine is homemade. Originally, I had single steel bars as dividers and the heat would jump to the next chamber, eventually lighting all the coals instead of "snaking" around. You need at least two bars with some space between them for every divider.

It's difficult to advise you without more information. What are you doing when you use the Minion Method? It requires the coals to light "against the grain" so the lit coals need to be on top or opposite the airflow as stated above.

How are you regulating the airflow? No matter what method you use, if there's too much air, the coals will light rapidly. Give us more info and the guys here will give you great advice.
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Last edited by qnbiker; 05-07-2012 at 10:01 AM.. Reason: Redundant statement.
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Unread 05-07-2012, 10:08 AM   #3
Smilin' Santa's BBQ
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Definitely sounds like too much airflow, but he's right need to know what kindof smoker to really get a picture.
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Unread 05-07-2012, 10:11 AM   #4
pike51
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Quote:
Originally Posted by qnbiker View Post
What kind of smoker do you have? If it's an offset, make sure the lit coals are closest to the smoke box so the fire has to burn against the airflow.

What kind of maze do you have? Mine is homemade. Originally, I had single steel bars as dividers and the heat would jump to the next chamber, eventually lighting all the coals instead of "snaking" around. You need at least two bars with some space between them for every divider.

It's difficult to advise you without more information. What are you doing when you use the Minion Method? It requires the coals to light "against the grain" so the lit coals need to be on top or opposite the airflow as stated above.

How are you regulating the airflow? No matter what method you use, if there's too much air, the coals will light rapidly. Give us more info and the guys here will give you great advice.
As stated in my signature, I have a Duo with Side fire box. I've made several mods including the " seal gaskets" and the exhaust tube.

My basket is home made and only has the single dividers. I have a better one with dual dividers coming soon so that may help.

With the minion method, I build a stacked ring and dump the lit coals to the middle. It sounds like this is not correct and I should do less of a ring?

For airflow, I have an electric fan I regulate with off the air input. I do not restrict the outflow off the exhaust tube.

Thanks.
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Unread 05-07-2012, 10:20 AM   #5
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I used the Chargriller Duo this weekend and got a good 10 hours out of a bag of cowboy lump. Started with minion and when temp droped below 220 or so id drop a hand full of lump and a chunk of hickory or apple wood on. That would be about every 1.5 hours or so and that would heep it at that 220-240 spont. With the Duo you cant leave for long periods even with the mods.
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Unread 05-07-2012, 10:32 AM   #6
BBQSmoker
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Unread 05-07-2012, 10:36 AM   #7
4uweque
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It sounds like too much air to me as well. I've never even thought about which end to put my lit coals and still had good luck by controlling air. I learned even more today! This place rocks!
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Unread 05-07-2012, 10:43 AM   #8
pike51
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Thanks! I think the airflow thing might be right. Gonna have to work on reducing it.
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Unread 05-07-2012, 11:00 AM   #9
olewarthog
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I have a CG Smokin Pro. I think the fan may be your problem. Once your fire gets burning hot, it is very difficult to bring temps until the charcaol burns out because CGs have lots of air leaks. I use foil to help seal around the SFB drawer & lid. I also use foil around the lid of the cooking chamber. You will probably have to start cutting back airflow well before you reach your desired temp. Without a fan, I would start closing the vent down at 200* if I wanted to get a steady temp in the 230-240 range.
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Unread 05-07-2012, 11:21 AM   #10
Smilin' Santa's BBQ
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I had the same problem on my stumps, and with advice from the forum, I put a flashlight in my smoker and looked for escaping light, I found that my hinge was just ever so slightly gapped, I am guessing that the smoke stack creates a draft that was increasing my temps 25-50 degrees, I am going to get this sealed off and do some test runs, how did we ever barbeque without air controlled devices?

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