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The grill master who came up with this idea of indirect barbecue method is known as Jim Minion; hence the name, ‘Minion Method.’ The method is popularly used by the masters of this field who love cooking low and slow.
The Minion Method reduces the time to continually rearrange your unlit briquettes or charcoal, thus saving you time and energy. The Minion Method is a top technique for overnight cooking and therefore, we recommend it. If the Minion Method is set up well just as we are going to show you in this article, step by step, it can last up to 18 hours. The temperature will range between 225-275 degrees F.
If you are preparing meals such as brisket and pulled pork, the Minion Method should be your top choice. If your cooking requires higher temperatures, we recommend that you use other ways to gain the right taste.
Birth of the Minion Method
All the inventions that we see in our modern days, they were once an idea that came to reality. As we know, they were also born out of necessity and so is the case with this Minion Method.
Jim Minion was a participant of a championship in the Pacific Northwest that sort of bringing together people who use the barbeque way of cooking. His choice of a cooker was a Weber Smokey Mountain
Looking at what the manufacturer had recommended, he saw the flaw of it and he wanted to make a change. He spread briquettes over his smoker and this changed the game. The unlit ones were more than the lit ones. He spread the lit ones over the unlit and he discovered that he could keep the fire burning up to 22 hours. Though, a sales manager as a profession, Jim Minion took home two awards of different categories, one as the first and second as the runner up. This new way of barbeque cooking changed the way we do things. We owe the honor to this man.
- It stays lit up to 18 hours
- It can be left overnight
- It saves you time and energy
- It retains the heat of 225-275 degrees F
- It is slow in cooking
All you need to have for this to work is a bag of charcoal or briquettes. You may use any of your favorites or maybe what you have readily available. The unlit charcoal or briquettes should be more than the lit ones.
You will also need a smoker or, as popularly known, a charcoal grill. You may need gloves for handling the briquettes as well. Lastly, you need food to prepare for this method. It should be food that does not require much heat because the Minion Method mostly produces temperatures that range between 225-275 degrees F. The food should also be able to withstand a relatively long time cooking, like 18 hours. Such food is pulled pork and brisket.
Step by Step Guide on How to Set Up the Minion Method
There are two different Minion Method options that we can use. The ‘wedge’ and the ‘donut’. First, we shall look at the ‘donut’ Minion Method.
- Pour one bag of heat beads inside the charcoal basket, this is about 4kg. Do this while spreading all of it to form a donut-shaped figure. Do not forget to light your remaining heat beads in a sperate chimney or a different place.
- In the middle of the donut, place lit heat beads and make sure that they are in contact with the unlit ones. In doing so, be mindful of the lit beads so as not to overuse them or underuse them. This will help you save energy and time as well.
- Now after doing this, add your unlit wood chunks all distributed well around the lit and unlit area.
- You can now comfortably close the fire area and then cook your food using a low and slow method. You can prepare food for a long time, up to 18 hours. The temperature remains stable between 225- 275-degrees F. Once you have done this, you do not have to go on refueling it.
Correcting Common Problems
Common Problems with Food Smokers
Wrong meat cut.
Using the wrong cut of meat can ruin your whole cookout plan. Instead, you should change this by going for the best cut of meat that you can afford. You should go to your favorite butcher and tell him or her what you would like and most likely you will get the best meat to start with.
Using light charcoal briquettes in plenty.
For a start, the light charcoal should be mixed with heavy ones making sure that the latter are the majority. This will make the fire stay for a long time without going out.
Too much smoke in the grill.
For you to smoke right, you need to know how to regulate it. We know that smoke is required when doing barbeque, but when it is too much, it destroys the food that you are trying to make. Using a water pan can help control the amount of smoke and humidity.
Not taking enough time to light the fire.
One common problem that is found with the Minion Method is that people may not follow each step. Due to lack of patience, you may find that you put too many lit briquettes on the unlit ones. This will make the fire go fast. To fix this, you need to make sure that you use the right amount of lit charcoals. Maybe 13 medium-sized over 3.5 kgs of unlit ones. Too few lit briquettes is another problem. You may find that you have used fewer lit coals and therefore it becomes hard to light the others. This problem is common because you are not taking enough time to arrange the briquettes in the right order. To fix this problem, you need to take the time to follow the procedure step after step and arrange each correctly.
Analysis of Best Practices in the Industry
Best Practices in the Barbecue Industry
Keep the grill clean.
One of the most important things when it comes to grilling is to ensure that you keep your grill or bullet smoker clean. If food is stuck on the grates, make sure that you clean it if possible, immediately. This helps you to save your time and energy. If it stays dirty, it will be harder to clean. Don’t forget to clean the water pan too.
Oiling the food, not the grates.
One mistake that people often do is to oil the metal grates of the grill or bullet smoker instead of the food. The downside of this is the fact that it changes the taste of the food. It also makes the grates get dirty easily as it will stick on the metal. Using herbs and spices in the water pan can add extra taste to your food.
Be sure to monitor the time and temperature.
This will help you keep track of what is happening. Moderating the temperature will help in cooking the food with the right heat for the best results. Monitoring the time will help you know when to top up the water pan, and the best time to remove the food from the cooking chamber.
Make sure that you keep the top lid closed as much as possible.
There are several reasons that we recommend this practice. One is to ensure that you can control the temperature. This is key so as not to destroy the food you are cooking with too much heat. Refreshing the water pan will help keep moisture in the smoker.
It is key to know if your food needs direct heat or indirect.
When grilling, you understand that different foods need different methods. One is the direct one, which requires that you prepare food that requires only less than 20 minutes. These are mostly processed foods that need little attention. They are delicate and therefore, should not spend much time in the heat. The other ones include meat, which may take more than 20 minutes going on an hour. When preparing pulled pork, you can spend more than six hours. When you have these tips at your fingers, the risk of spoiling your food becomes minimal.
Use the general turning of food rule.
With the right timing and the right temperatures, you will need to turn the food once. For the searing effect of food to be tasted, you must not turn the food from time to time as this will affect it. You need to be careful and only turn the food when it is needed.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)
How do I set up WSM?
Follow the instructions of the assembling as provided in the instruction manual. Make sure that every part falls in the right place. If you don’t know where to fix certain parts, ask someone that can help you do it. After this, if you want to use the Minion Method of cooking, set up the charcoal area by spreading unlit coals evenly. Leave a space in the middle so that the setup looks like a donut. Add lump charcoal or a set of lit coals or briquettes at the center of it. Then add some wood chips or wood chunks on both the lit and the unlit parts for smoking. Fan it for a while if need be, then put your food on top for grilling. Use the top vent and bottom vents to control how the charcoal briquettes burn and follow the recommended cooking time.
How do I arrange the charcoal in a smoker?
The arrangement of lump charcoal in a smoker is dependent on the type of method you are using. When using the Minion Method, arrange the unlit charcoal to form a donut shape. This will slowly help in the distribution of heat in the charcoal chamber yet maintain the temperatures in a constant range to enable you to grill for hours.
How do you smoke with briquettes?
When smoking with charcoal briquettes, ensure that you follow the procedure of using lump charcoal. The difference that comes with using briquettes is choosing the right ones from the market. Make sure that they are clean so as not to smoke up your whole meal. Making this mistake may ruin your cookout or picnic because not all the food requires the taste of smoke that can be produced by impure or unlit briquettes in the charcoal chamber. The Minion Method can work well with charcoal briquettes and you can keep the fire burning for a long time.
How to use bullet smokers?
When using the Minion Method, it is almost the same as using any other smoker that you might have in your backyard. Ensure that you stack unlit charcoal together to form the bottom and then make sure that you leave a space to stack lit charcoal also in the charcoal chamber Make the Minion Method donut shape that we have recommended in this article and use the top vent and bottom vents to control the cooking temperature. For top results try adding your favorite herbs and spices to the water pan for a unique taste. With some practice, your favorite bullet smoker recipes will turn out perfect!
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