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Minion Method

 
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urbangriller



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 8:36 am    Post subject: Minion Method Reply with quote

I'm wondering if anyone has experience of the Minion Method for maintaining a low and slow burn using briquettes in a Weber kettle.

The Minion Method was named after it's creator, Jim Minion, and is designed to be used for cooking sessions that will last 6-18 hours (although I have personally used it for shorter sessions).

The concept behind the Minion method is simple. Place a small number of lit coals on top of a pile of unlit briquettes and control your temperature by adjusting your vent(s). The lit coals will ignite the unlit coals slowly, allowing you to cook for long periods of time without having to add new coals as well as controlling your temperature since it is easier to bring a fire up to a certain temperature rather than try to bring it down.

Acording to Jim there is no unpleasent odour/taste as the petro-chemical fumes are burnt off as they pass through the lit coals at the top, like a catalytic converter. Does anyone know if this is correct?

Cheers
Chris
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Dilbert



Joined: 19 Oct 2007
Posts: 1006
Location: central PA

PostPosted: Sat Apr 25, 2009 11:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I use the same technique in a rectangular non-Weber grill.

but I stopped using briquettes years ago - I use lump charcoal - one of the reasons behind the switch was to get rid of the petro smell....

not sure whether I'm especially sensitive to the smell or what - but on a bet I did accurately identify six hamburgers as from propane gas, briquette and lump fires, blindfolded....
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Sun Apr 26, 2009 4:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Minion Method Reply with quote

urbangriller wrote:
I'm wondering if anyone has experience of the Minion Method for maintaining a low and slow burn using briquettes in a Weber kettle.

The Minion Method was named after it's creator, Jim Minion, and is designed to be used for cooking sessions that will last 6-18 hours (although I have personally used it for shorter sessions).

The concept behind the Minion method is simple. Place a small number of lit coals on top of a pile of unlit briquettes and control your temperature by adjusting your vent(s). The lit coals will ignite the unlit coals slowly, allowing you to cook for long periods of time without having to add new coals as well as controlling your temperature since it is easier to bring a fire up to a certain temperature rather than try to bring it down.

Acording to Jim there is no unpleasent odour/taste as the petro-chemical fumes are burnt off as they pass through the lit coals at the top, like a catalytic converter. Does anyone know if this is correct?

Cheers
Chris


Hey Chris,

Well, kinda, but I think I must have been doing it wrong. As Jim noticed, putting a full stove of briquettes in to nearly any grill or smoker was far too high of a heat to use any time within the next few minutes. I tried building a smaller fire and would have lead-in briquettes. Attempted to not have to pre-burn the charcoal for addition later. Was never thrilled with the smell of the little pillows of heat and changed over to mesquite (available locally ((easy to find!)) about 15 years ago. The only thing I use the briquettes for today is for cooking with a camp dutch.

That being said, Kingsford recently sent me a sample of their new Competition Briquettes for review. The start-up smelled similar, but the smell I was used to in the smoker, grill and on my food was non-existent.

Cheers,

Biggles

ps - I don't use webers, so that could have something to do with it. The air-flow in those things is legendary.
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urbangriller



Joined: 25 Apr 2009
Posts: 3

PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 1:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the problems we have here in Australia is we do not have easy access to alternate fuels, the "Heat Beads" are our best choice, that's OK "caus they do a fine job.

I was hoping that one of the Engineering types here might have analysed this method and could tell me if I'm coating my food with nasties by using this slow (and not recomended by the manufacturer) method.

Cheers
Chris
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DrBiggles



Joined: 12 May 2005
Posts: 355
Location: Richmond, CA

PostPosted: Mon Apr 27, 2009 2:53 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

urbangriller wrote:
One of the problems we have here in Australia is we do not have easy access to alternate fuels, the "Heat Beads" are our best choice, that's OK "caus they do a fine job.

I was hoping that one of the Engineering types here might have analysed this method and could tell me if I'm coating my food with nasties by using this slow (and not recomended by the manufacturer) method.

Cheers
Chris


Hey Chris,

Yeah, totally get it. Use what you have available. It's a tough call here, many of us have ditched or refuse to use the heat beads due to the nasty smells we receive. Good alternatives, charcoaled woods, raw, are readily available here and once you've tried them, you rarely go back. Sure they require more air and care in the box, but what you receive in return is worth the effort. Something I'm still not doing well with is that with the large, commercial smokers require the use of green wood! That's right, they don't use seasoned wood. In fact, if you read the instructions for the rigs, they actually state that you should be using green wood, not seasoned. Around here, that means fresh white oak. Crazy, huh?

Honestly, it's all about combustion. You need to get the air in and get the bad stuff out while maintaining a good supply of heat at your food.

And speaking of food, here's what I was up to today:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/7295452@N03/sets/72157617276095815/

xo, Biggles
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BONEDR
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PostPosted: Tue Jun 16, 2009 4:35 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I came across the following which is a reports on using the Minion Method in a Weber Kettle. Good pictures and graphs of temperature measured over several.

http://webercam.com/2009/03/weber-kettle-mini-minion-method.html
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danicamoore



Joined: 16 Sep 2009
Posts: 58
Location: Illinois

PostPosted: Wed Sep 30, 2009 8:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Heat Beads surely good for an alternative. But unfortunately there are disadvantages on this one. Unfortunately this can cause smells on foods and could possibly affect the taste and nutrients.
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SeligmansDog



Joined: 27 Nov 2012
Posts: 4

PostPosted: Wed Apr 24, 2013 3:01 pm    Post subject: gravity feed for kettles? Reply with quote

Not sure if anyone's still following this thread, but here's a new potential hack to get low n slow in a kettle: http://webercam.com/2013/04/gravity-feed-fuel.html

I just updated the post using a covered chimney starter, got a nice even 12h burn with fuel to spare (but might actually be too low a temp).
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Iiwelshii
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PostPosted: Sun Sep 01, 2013 1:57 am    Post subject: Update Reply with quote

Wondering if you have any new info on this technique? Doing a brisket tomorrow with the minion method, but will be trying this method soon. Good thinking.
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