Looking for a way of making the charcoal in your smoker burn low and controlled to give you many hours of smoking and low-temperature cooking? Well, then, the minion charcoal method is how to achieve this.
With this method, you as a pitmaster get to get the best from your smoker, without constant and recurring adjustments. The setup for the minion method is quite simple. This guide will help you set the minion charcoal method in a matter of minutes.
However, before going to how you can set up the minion method of charcoal smoking, there are some things you need to know about this method of smoking as well as some questions that need to be answered about this method.
History of the Minion Method of Charcoal Smoking
The earliest period of the minion charcoal method is not that clear, however, we know of the man who first wrote about this amazing method – Jim Minion. One wonder less how the name ‘minion method’ came to be.
For so many people, it is believed that the minion charcoal method got its name from the yellow minion cartons, however, this is not in any way related to the origin of the name,
Jim Minion was the first man to write about the method, giving a detailed explanation of how the method works.
Let’s take a look at some of the questions pertaining to the charcoal minion smoking method.
Does the Minion Method work with all types of Grill, Smoker, and BBQ?
This method has been tested by many pitmasters, and it has recorded great success with different types of grills and smokers. The method is great for smokers and grills whose firebox has a depth that is quite far from the meat.
While it tends to work with many deep-seated fire boxed-grills and smokers, it can however be a problem if your smoker has quite a number of leaks. In this case, the fuel burns faster. So, in essence, it works great with smokers that do not have leaks and are closely packed.
If your smoker or grill is large, then, you get less problem of having to reload a number of times. In other words, larger grills and smokers make it time-efficient.
Is Lump Charcoal a Good Fuel for Minion Method?
Lump charcoal can be used to fuel the minion charcoal method, you can also use briquettes. Lump charcoal, however, seems to be more efficient as it is hotter and as well burns faster. The con is that you will have to reload more often than the briquette method. (I prefer using briquettes).
When using lump charcoal fuel, ensure they are tightly packed in order for the fire to spread evenly among the coals. Loosed packing of lump charcoal can affect the heat that comes out.
Can Unlit Briquettes affect the Taste of the Meat?
This is another question that needs to be answered with respect to the minion charcoal method. Will briquettes change or affect the taste of meat?
Briquette in the BBQ and grilling world is BBQ and grill fuel that is gotten from a compressed block of coal dust, limestone, cornstarch, and borax.
It is believed by many pitmasters that briquettes affect the taste and flavor of steaks – although, not in a bad or weird way.
Can Wood Chunks or Logs Be Used for the Minion Method?
Yes, logs and wood chunks can be used for the minion charcoal method. However, the whole essence of this method is to have a very fast way. Wood chunks and logs will have to first burn down to coals before being used.
This is not an easy method, also, it is not time efficient. You should use briquettes or lump charcoal if possible.
What is the Best Temperature for the Minion Charcoal Method?
Just as mentioned above, this method works best when you have the firebox a bit distanced from the meat. You should cook it around 225 ˚F – 275 ˚F (average of 250 ˚F) or between 107˚C and 135˚C.
Step by Step Guide on the Minion Charcoal Method
You can fire up your smoker within 15 minutes of starting it. Let’s take a look at the four (4) easy steps of grilling/smoking with the minion method.
Step 1 – Fill the Smoker Chamber with Briquettes / Lump Charcoal
- Tightly pack up your unlit briquettes or lump charcoal in the charcoal chamber.
- Make a well in the center, this is where you have your starter coals.
- Place your preferred woods on top of the briquette or charcoal lump
Step 2 – Light up the Starter Coals
- Light up starter coal in a charcoal chimney starter or a blow torch or with other devices you use in lighting up.
- Move them to the grill after the coals have gray ash on their surfaces.
Step 3 – Move the Lit Coals into the Center Well
- Remember the center well you created in step 1, now it’s time to move the burning starter coals into the center well.
- They will help light up the briquettes around them.
Step 4 – Assemble your Cooker
Leave the damper open to give room for oxygen into the daft. As soon as it gets to around 225˚F, close the exhaust damper and make it open to around 25%.
Add briquettes or lump charcoal if there is a need. Light them up in a charcoal chimney and allow them to burn to around 40% before adding.
Pros and Cons of the Minion Method of Charcoal Smoking
Let’s take a quick look at the pros and cons of the minion method.
Pros of Minion Charcoal Method
- Great for starters of BBQ and grilling
- Quite easy to use
- Easy to understand
- It burns for a long time
- Great for overnight meat smoking
- You can save fuel, as it can be reused if it hasn’t completely burned down
- You don’t have to reload fuel often
- Works with any smoker or grill with a deep firebox
Cons of Minion Charcoal Method
You shouldn’t use it for high-heat cooking/grilling
Extra efforts of refueling when using lump charcoal
Briquettes are used as the main fuel; some pitmasters do complain of not getting the natural taste.
Final Thoughts on Minion Charcoal Method
That is it up right there – everything you need to about the minion method. The method is quite easy for beginners to understand and practice.
It is a way to grill and smoke slowly and lowly; the steps discussed above will give you a great result. You can as well modify it and experiment with other ways.
What do you think of this method? I would like to know your take on it and how it turned out.