Question on the minion method


Brian Quintal

TVWBB Member
I'm hoping to break my virginity this weekend on my new WSM with some ribs. I'm going to follow the recipe found here which states using the minion method for lighting coals. The minion method mentions adding meat and wood at same time. So if recipe calls for a few chunks of wood I'm laying them on top of the hot coals then adding the ribs? No wood buried in the unlit coals?


TVWBB Super Fan
You can bury a couple pieces in the coals if the cook is going to last long enough to reach them, you can just scatter them around on top of the unlit or pile it all on the lit coals. I generally like to put one piece on the lit coals and then lay the remaining on top around the outer part of the unlit coal.

Tim Mulvihill

Buried or on top, try it one way your first time, and the other way your second time, see which you like better.

Don't be discouraged about burning through charcoal fast. It will do that until the WSM seasons/gunks up. After 5-10 smokes(depending on what your smoking) you should be able to close the vents after you're done and save some charcoal.

J Hoke

What Tom said. I also like to throw in one chunk every hour or so for more smoke flavor into meat. Don't bury very deep if you are going to foil whatever you are cooking. Waste of wood since smoke can't penetrate the foil.
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Bob Mann

TVWBB Honor Circle
I fill my charcoal ring to the top with 4 or 5 fist sized chunks of wood mixed in the charcoal.
I light it in 3 places, in between the vents, with a high output propane torch.
I let it go for about 10 or 15 minutes then put the WSM together.
I bring the cooker slowly up to my cooking temperature, then put the meat on.
I do not use water, I use a foiled clay flower pot base in the foiled water pan.

Hope this helps.

Since you're doing ribs, I wouldn't get too gung-ho about filling the ring with a lot of fuel. You'll end up with a lot of unburnt coals since the session isn't all that long (6? hours).

My best recomendation is to get the fire going about an hour before you're going to put the meat on. That way the cooker can get up to temp, stabilize, and you won't have to deal with a cold fire coming up.

I heard a neat way to 'season in' a new cooker. Coat the inside lightly with Pam(or some other cooking spray), then put about 2 pounds of the cheapest/nastiest (fattiest) bacon you can find in. Cook it like it was a slab of baby backs. That cooker will get seasoned really quick. It also will give the new owner a chance to learn temperature control without sacraficing a good piece of meat. And if it turns out good, then you've got a lot of bacon to eat!



I bury 2-3 small chunks on the bottom, layer charcoal on top of that and then put another 1-3 small chunks and surround those with coals, and then spread the lit coals around. Depending on the length of the cook, I might still have some partially burnt wood on bottom. I usually let the unit get smoking and up to about 225 before I put on the food, which does not take very long. Mine will smoke for about 2-3 hours this way. If I'm doing ribs, which is my most common cook, it works about good before I foil at the 2.5 hour mark. Once I get close to my temp mark, all of the bottom vents are closed except for one, which is open about 1/3, with the top full open. I start shutting down the vents about 50 degrees before I hit my temp goal so as to not overshoot. Then I go back to the football game and drink beer with my trusty mav along side for comfort.

Dwain Pannell

TVWBB Hall of Fame
Some bury it in the coal pack. I like to get my fire burning clean and then just before adding meat I add my smoke wood. There is no smoke coming from my cooker until I add the smoke wood.
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Alan F

I put wood on top as needed unless I'll be away from the pit. Do a search on the coffee can method.