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Unread 11-25-2010, 04:38 PM   #1
firecracker jack
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Default Need help achieving a cleaner fire when using the minion method?

So first off..... HAPPY THANKSGIVING

I smoked two birds today on my drum. The second one's still smoking, and the first one was juicy, tender and filled with flavor..But I must be doin' something incorrect as far as the fire goes, cause I keep coming up with black soot on the skin...Quite often I've got white smoke and somtimes heavy. I thought I had the minion method down pretty good, but these results show me that I don't. I used kingsford competition charcoal, and five or six smaller than fist sized chunks of wood, filled my basket and put a half a chimney starter full of lit lump on top....I ran at my target temps 280*-300* without a whole lot of trouble..But what am I doin wrong?

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Unread 11-25-2010, 04:48 PM   #2
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If you are cooking in a drum the fat that renders out of the meat falls into the fire - might it give you soot? How far above the coals is the bired?
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Unread 11-25-2010, 04:51 PM   #3
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That is most likely condensate dripping from the ceiling of your drum. I get it too sometimes. The only sure way to prevent it is a dome lid.
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Unread 11-25-2010, 04:58 PM   #4
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Thanks for the suggestions, I've got a weber lid, and it does'nt look like it's dripping from it as the evil blackness is evenly distributed all over the bird...I guess it could be the rendered fat dripping into the fire...didn't think of that....next time I'll try a drip pan.....The bird was on the top rack of the drum.

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Unread 11-26-2010, 10:08 AM   #5
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Smoldering turkey fat is pretty nasty stuff!

I had grabbed the foil off my wsm pan and put in the trash can in the kitchen and finally realized that's what was stinkin' so bad. That was just from a little bit landing on the rim of the pan and burning, as the foil in the pan kept the drippings from burning in the bottom of the pan.
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Unread 11-26-2010, 10:56 AM   #6
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Try using the lower rack, is it only when you use the top rack maybe ? I have the same set up with a weber lid and have only used the bottom rack with meats, no problem. Do you soak your wood chunks ? That could create more white smoke than usual. The fat dripping on the fire will create some white smoke at times, but not heavy smoke. I had a drip pan under my turkey but I don't use one any other time.
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Unread 11-26-2010, 11:53 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdog043 View Post
Try using the lower rack, is it only when you use the top rack maybe ? I have the same set up with a weber lid and have only used the bottom rack with meats, no problem.
What's up w/ preferring the bottom rack to the top rack? I've never heard of that.

I thought that you should always use the top rack first, whether cooking in a UDS or in a wsm, for that matter. Why? For more even cooking.
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Unread 11-26-2010, 02:15 PM   #8
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I've stopped using the minion method because of the heavy "always lighting" charcoal taste that it gives... In my drum I light 2 full chimneys completely and then choke the fire down till it comes down to where I want it, usually takes about as long to come down as it does to come up.

I toss a couple of large chunks of wood on top just before putting food on and get as close to stick burner smoke as I think is possible on a drum.
I get about 8 hours burn on those 2 chimneys, 3 lit chimneys gets tough to get the temp down where you want it.
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Unread 11-26-2010, 02:41 PM   #9
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I 'm not sure the problem is the Minion Method. To many of us use it without any trouble. I don't have a drum, but do you have enough exhaust? A dome might not have big enough holes to allow the fire to burn properly.

Then again is the drum getting the proper air supply? Just thinkin our loud.
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Unread 11-26-2010, 07:58 PM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Dave Russell View Post
What's up w/ preferring the bottom rack to the top rack? I've never heard of that.

I thought that you should always use the top rack first, whether cooking in a UDS or in a wsm, for that matter. Why? For more even cooking.
It's just the way I do it, don't know what others do. Maybe someone else will chime in. My thought is that your meat is higher up where the smoke is heavier, trying to escape out the exhaust. This may not have anything to do with it, just my thoughts.
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Unread 11-27-2010, 09:33 PM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by blackdog043 View Post
It's just the way I do it, don't know what others do. Maybe someone else will chime in. My thought is that your meat is higher up where the smoke is heavier, trying to escape out the exhaust. This may not have anything to do with it, just my thoughts.
Without a pan or other diffuser, I wouldn't think there would be much difference, but I'm no expert.
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Unread 11-27-2010, 09:55 PM   #12
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I had a bit more black on my t-day birds than on my test bird. the only differences were that I forgot to put in a pan for the drippings the second timeand that I had two birds on the wsm. One bird on the top rack, foiled water pan, and a half size steam table pan on the lower rack gave me the best looking results.
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Unread 11-27-2010, 10:29 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by firecracker jack View Post
I thought I had the minion method down pretty good, but these results show me that I don't. I used kingsford competition charcoal, and five or six smaller than fist sized chunks of wood, filled my basket and put a half a chimney starter full of lit lump on top....I ran at my target temps 280*-300* without a whole lot of trouble..But what am I doin wrong?

Firecracker jack
I don't have a UDS but it sounds like a lot of wood for turkeys to me.

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Unread 11-27-2010, 10:43 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fil View Post
I don't have a UDS but it sounds like a lot of wood for turkeys to me.

fil
Me too, I use hickory chips for poultry. Chunks put out that heavy smoke which is too much for birds in my view.
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Unread 11-28-2010, 06:04 AM   #15
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How big is your charcoal basket? I'll bet you have a gargantuan basket and you are using CompK and doing a MM with a charcoal chimney and flaming briqs? CompK burns hotter and faster and I beleive you are using too much wood for smoke.

Ditch the chimney and get a weed burner, hit the briqs or lump until the edges start to ash over, all vents open, then add a couple fist sized chunks. Let the drum get to 250-300 and add your meats, the temps should drop down to 225-250, then close all but one vent and it should settle in @225-235 and just cruise-at least mine do.

How much charcoal are you using? 10-12lbs is adequate for most long cooks. Most of my cooks are with a small basket with 5-6lbs of K (turkeys, chickens ribs etc.) that I can offset to one side of the drum for a slight indirect cook.

this is how I do it, mileage may vary user to user.
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