Minion Method Question


John Sentelle

New member
I have owned my wsm for a couple years, but never tried the minion method. Within the next week, I will be throwing on a brisket and using the minion method. My debate is wether or not to use lump (cowboy brand) or kingsford briquettes. Just wanted to hear some thoughts and experiences from other members with their use of each type of fuel. Thanks.

I prefer lump over briquettes but IMO cowboy is not very good lump, it will work but there is better choices available. Most Wal-marts carry Royal Oak lump which is alot better.

With lump you just need to get it packed in the ring good, pour some in and shake it around to settle in and pack tightly to get a longer burn time, when it's not packed in tight it leaves to many air spaces and burns up quicker. I fill the ring about 3/4 full and pack in good, then pour the chimney full of lit on top, works everytime.

Kingsford work a little better because it will pack in tighter and burn longer, same thing, fill 3/4 full, pour full chimney of lit on top, assemble smoker and catch the temps on the way up and start shutting down vents about 20 degrees before your target cooking temp. I normally put my meat on the grates while it's sitting off before assembly then let it come up to temp with the meat already in place, but you can add the meat after assembly and it comes to your target temp, all the cold meat will drop temps for a while but minor vent adjustments will get your temp where you want it.

Others will have different ideas and tricks but this works for me. Have fun with it and enjoy.
hey dude! People tend to not like cowboy very much, but i've used it and honestly it will work. It burns up a fair amount faster (then like Royal Oak Lump or Lazzari, etc.) which may lead you to think the Minion Method isn't that great (when it is pretty sweet). BUT it WILL work. On the other hand the Original K will be very stable for you and really make you feel like you have an easy job, BUT you'll have a whole bunch of grainy ashes fallin on your slow moving fire which may lead to you needing to tap the legs every 3 or so hours (but I ussually don't have to, only mess w/ it if your temp. starts to misbehave,
). I guess what i'm saying is its up to you, many are gonna rip the cowboy brand in half (I don't like it either but it does work) but its what you have on hand if you'd like to use it, you already bought it so why not, right
? I think you would be more impressed w/ the Minion Method while using another brand lump (ussually im using Royal Oak) if this one doesn't go well. IF I have an overnighter lets say.. I'll use Kingsford Original because the stability is unbeatable for me, sometimes w/ half pan of water or so (if weather and temp. permit me to, ussually doesn't in the winter at my elevation). Its gonna be your best bet for stability. Hmm.. then again Im using lump 90% of the time... i'm no help, lol. thats about all I know, hope it helps a bit. have fun.

i've used lump and K with the MM. both work great for me.

i used the new competition K three times last weekend, and that's my new choice! you may want to try some if you can find it in your area. home depot is a good place to look for it.
Thanks for the info guys. I have to say I agree with everyone so far about Cowboy lump. I work for Lowe's (it's the only lump we stock) so I figured I'd give a bag a try. When I got home yesterday I fired up the bullet with a full ring of cowboy "shaken" to pack in. I poured 1/2 chimney starter of lit coals on top and assembled it for a test run. Within 30 minutes I got the wsm settled in at 240. It stayed there for a little over 3 1/2 hrs and crept up to 250 at the 4 hr mark. I refilled the water pan and waited to see if the temp would drop, but it slowly climbed up to 270 at the 5 hr mark. I shut off the bottom vents completely and it started to settle back down. I had to run a few errands so I didn't get to check on the wsm again for 2 hrs. It was at 215 then. I checked it one last time at the 8 hr mark and it was at 150 and pretty much all of the fuel was spent. So I have to say I'm not impressed with Cowboy at all!!

I did find a bag of royal oak at Wal-Mart so I'm gonna give it a test run and see how that goes.
Your on the right track John, it takes a few cooks to get a good idea of how it cooks. Closing the vents completely will snuff out the fire but just a very small crack left open will hold the temps up. 8 hours is about right for lump with me also unless I really take my time packing it in the ring. With briquettes 12 - 16 hours is possible just because of the air flow.
John, I agree with the others on how to use either lump or briquettes. However, with lump I have a hard time keeping the temperature down. So for a long slow cook like for a brisket I use Kingsford Original and the Minion Method. If I am cooking something at a higher temperature I will use lump. I live in South Central Texas where our winter nights are usually above freezing and our summer days or hot. This climate could effect the temperatures I experience.
I did my first long, low cook using lump (GFS brand which I think is RO). I packed it tight, MM start with about 1/4 of a chimney and had rock solid 250 temp for 10 hours (a couple of 5.0 lb butts) with little adjustment was 6 degrees outside and that likely helped in being able to keep temps stable...only needed the vents open 25% or so.