What did you do before the Minion Method?


Andy Erickson

I'm just wondering because it seems like the Minion Method has only been around for about 10 years, but this cooker has been around for close to 30 years. Did people just do the Minion Method even though it didn't have a name or did they just monitor the cooker more and add charcoal as they went?
Before I had the WSM, I cooked on a Brinkmann Gourmet smoker. I had never heard of the Minion Method, but I always used a variation - a (small) chimney full of lit charcoal dumped onto a pan full of unlit. That just seemed like the logical way to do it, since I wasn't about to use lighter fluid to get the whole load started at once. The Brinkmann would only burn about 6 hours even on a completely full load of charcoal, so I always started it off completely full. And I saw no reason to wait for all the charcoal to become lit, when that first chimney was enough to get the smoker up to temperature.
Before I read about the MM here, I used a kind of sideways MM with my OTG. It was okay but required quite a bit of tinkering and adding fuel. It wasn't an exact science, but it got me into smoking at a basic level.
I used an electric hot plate in the bottom of a big terra cotta flower pot.
I found this site and had done a lot of reading before just recently getting my WSM so my charcoal experience started with the MM.