WSM 14" minion method and standard Weber method

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by porkandbeansmo, Dec 24, 2015.

  1. I've only tried the minion method once and did not have any luck. Today I'm doing a 6lb brisket for Xmas Eve dinner and I started with minion this morning - almost full coal hopper of unlit and a 3/4 full chimney of lit coals poured on top. I could only get a maximum temp of 170-180. Does this method not work with the smallest WSM?

    It is in the mid 40s out so I switched over to the standard method to keep my meat cooking in the 225-235 range.

    My other question is when using the standard method and adding coals to the smoker every 4 hours should I be adding lit coals or unlit coals?

    Any advice would be awesome.
  2. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I don't use the minion method when using my mini-WSM's or my 18.5 WSM. I fill the charcoal basket full with fuel and add (2-4) 2"-3" chunks of smoke wood. Open all the vents take a propane torch light it and stick it in one of the lower vents. I run the torch until the pit temp gets 25-30 degrees above my target temp. Turn off torch remove. The temp will drop. If it goes 25-30 degrees below where I want the put I will repeat. When I'm 10-15 degrees from pit temp I'll start closing the lower vents. Leave your exhaust vent wide open when smoking no need to close it to control temps. For most lower temp smokes, under 300, I will have one lower vent partially open. Above 300 usually two open.

    Using this method there is no need to open the door and add fuel. I can get 12-16 hours in the mini-WSM and 20 hours plus in the 18 using this method when using briquettes. A few hours less when using lump. At the end of my cook I close all vents to snuff the fire. Next smoke I just shake the ash leave the unused fuel and add new to it.

    One more note if you are using water in your water pan don't. There is no need for it and it can cause lower temps. Foil the water pan for easy clean up and run it dry.

    Hope this helps. The WSM once you get it is the easiest charcoal smoker around.
    porkandbeansmo likes this.
  3. phatbac

    phatbac Smoking Fanatic

    here is how i did my modified minion method on my WSM 22 yesterday when smoking prime rib

    i put some wood chunks under the briquettes and on the side and put some thin splits in the middle then i put 3/4 chimney on top of the splits like this

     i only use 4 hours of smoke but it stayed hot for 3-4 hours after i was done and i didnt need to add more briquettes

    oh btw the splits were white oak and he chunks were cherry

    happy smoking

    phatbac (Aaron)
  4. Man that sounds like the way to go on the mini WSM. When you insert the propane torch thru the vent do you stick the flame thru one of the lower or upper holes in the fire ring?
  5. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Sort of. I line up one of the holes as close as possible prior to lighting when I light the 18". The mini-WSM's are home built and have expanded metal baskets. I also try and line up the holes in the expanded metal. A friend here has the 14" and he uses the same method. When lighting make sure you have the smoker assembled and all the vents open. It usually takes me 5-8 minutes total time to go from cold smoker to cooking. I'll do a "side light tutorial" and post it in the Mini-WSM sub forum in a few days.
  6. My WSM's a 14" and I got it at cabelas. I'm not sure if it's the same thing as a mini WSM or not. My basket looks just like a smaller version of the ones in the 18 and 22. I'm going to try your method next time. I had a full basket of burning coals that when burned down I added about 12 unlits. It came back up to temp slowly but didn't hold. Then I added some hot coals and I cranked for a while but died down to 170 an hour or so later. Seems like the coals stop breathing as the basket gets full with ash.
  7. dirtsailor2003

    dirtsailor2003 Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    The mini-WSM is a bit different, but the lighting method works in the 14. My friend here with the 14" uses the same method. I use the torch to light my 18".

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