WSM 22 - How much charcoal do you use for Minion Method

Discussion in 'WSM Owners (Weber Smokey Mountain)' started by robitaillere2, Aug 8, 2014.

  1. robitaillere2

    robitaillere2 Fire Starter

    Got a WSM recently and have been playing with the charcoal load amounts and have been seeing a lot of different things happen when issuing the Minion Method.

    So, the question is this... how much charcoal do you use to start your minion method and how much unlit do you put in the bowl?

  2. It only takes about 12-14 pieces to start the whole thing going. How much unlit depends on how long you want to cook. Some folks load it up and then cut of the oxygen to the cooker when they are done. This saves the remaining charcoal from burning. You need to have a cooker with good sealing qualities for this to work.
  3. dave17a

    dave17a Smoking Fanatic

    I only use the minion method on full load, otherwise just throw wood on top in various places, thats just me.
  4. For smokes that last 4 hours plus, I use usually Kingsford Briquettes and fill the ring about 2/3 to 3/4 full unlit briquettes around 10oz empty coffee can and place my wood chunks top of the unlit briquettes. I like chunks as they seem to burn more consistently. I then load my chimney about half way and light those briquettes. When the coals in the chimney are ready, I remove the coffee can from the fire ring and add the chimney of hot coals to the ring. I then assemble the smoker as directed with the Minion method. I usually can keep even temps from 225-250 for long durations (up to 8-10 hours depending on temp and wind)

    For shorter sessions, I cut the amount of charcoal to about 1/2 the ring but never any less than that.

    In my own experience, I always err on the side of caution. I'd rather have a bit more than I need because you can always adjust temps easily on the WSM. When done smoking, I always close my vents to let the fire extinguish. I've found I always have some coals left over if I want to recycle some for my next smoke.

    Overall, trial and error are the best benchmarks. Keep a log detailing weather conditions as this will help you learn the nuances of your WSM.
  5. Admittedly I only have the 18.5 but this is what I used to do about a 12 hour pork butt last weekend. It was about 1/2 a bag of KB, started with about 3/4 of a lit chimney.

    Had 2 half burnt coals left over after I shut down the vents.
  6. dave17a

    dave17a Smoking Fanatic

    Not overload on smoke. I have 22.5 and thats bout what I use on minion which is chunks with charcoal on top. Minion is layer of coals, the chunks and more coals, but ifin it worked it worked. How was the end product?[​IMG]
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Over the years I have narrowed it down to two basic loads for my 22.5" WSM:

    Half ring with 1/2 a chimney of lit dumped on top for smokes of 8 hours or less.

    Full ring with 1/2 a chimney of lit dumped on top for all other smokes.

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