How To Fire Up Your Smoker With the Minion Method

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Every pitmaster understands that a low and steady burn is the best way to get the most out of your smoker.

What if we told you there was a method to get the ideal slow burn without having to make regular adjustments?

We’ll teach you a 15-minute set-up approach that will keep a perfect low temperature for up to 18 hours in this article.

Welcome to the Minion Method.

Why We recommend the Minion Method for low and slow cooking

How To Fire Up Your Smoker With the Minion Method

The original Minion Method arose from need.

Jim Minion devised his unique lighting system in response to the necessity for quickness in a barbecue competition.

Jim placed a small number of hot coals to the top of his new Weber Smokey Mountain Cooker after filling it with charcoal briquettes. He then adjusted the airflow into the cooker using the bottom vents.

Jim’s lighting system maintains the temperature in the 225-250F range. It may also provide burn durations of up to 18 hours.

The Minion Method has the advantage of allowing you to rapidly light up your smoker and having it smoking low and slow.

Using this easy approach, you can almost set and forget your charcoal smoker. Unless you’re performing a really lengthy cook, there’s no need for continuous tweaks or messy refilling.

You can obtain that ideal cigarette while still watching the game!


  • Perfect for 6-18 hour low and slow smoking sessions.
  • You won’t have to continually changing it if you set it and forget it.
  • You can start smoking in just 15 -30 minutes
  • No need for refueling
  • Can be used for smoking overnight


  • It burns low and slowly, thus it’s useless if you require temps of 325F or higher.
  • Some argue that the charcoal briquettes add taste to the cuisine.

The Minion Method step by step guide

How To Fire Up Your Smoker With the Minion Method

When compared to typical beginning methods, the Minion Method is quick and simple. In as little as 15 minutes, you can have your smoker up and running.

To make it as simple as possible, we’ve broken it down into four simple stages.

1. Fill your smoker’s charcoal chamber 

  • Unlit briquettes should be placed in your charcoal chamber. In a separate piece, we provide some advice on how much charcoal to use.
  • Make a well in the middle of your deep uniform layer to accommodate your beginning coals.
  • Place your wood pieces on top of your unlit briquettes.
  • Open both top and bottom air vents

2. Light your starter coals

  • Jim’s first approach included lighting his coals in a chimney starter.
  • You may also light your starting coals using a blow torch or other similar instrument.
  • Add the coals to your smoker when they are roughly 70% coated in grey ash.

3. Place the lit coals in your center well

  • Fill the middle well with the burning beginning coals you prepared earlier.
  • As your initial coals burn off, the briquettes surrounding them will catch fire. This maintains the temperature of your smoker.

4. Adjust your vents

  • When the temperature in your smoker hits 200°F, shut the top and bottom vents to 25%.
  • Check the temperature till it reaches 225-250F.
  • Adjust the vents as needed until the temperature stabilizes.

The location of your vents will be determined by a variety of variables, including the weather and the amount of ignited charcoal you began with.

Common questions

The Minion Method is straightforward, but you’re certain to have some questions.

Can you use the Minion Method with any grill or smoker?

Jim developed his Minion Method using a Weber Smokey Mountain stove, but it works with any stove or smoker with a charcoal basket. Just make sure the coals aren’t too close to the meat.

You’ll have to play around with your personal grill or smoker. The approach is then adjusted to fit its size, airflow, and leaking.

Should you use lump charcoal or briquettes?

The Minion Method works with both briquettes and lump charcoal. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and there are a few distinctions to be aware of:

  • Lump charcoal is not consistent in size. To ensure a constant burn, pack it in securely.
  • More ash is produced by charcoal briquettes. This has the potential to suffocate your fire, so keep an eye on your temperature.

Won’t burning unlit briquettes affect the taste?

Briquettes may include coal, limestone, cornstarch, and borax to help them burn consistently.

Some pitmasters have stated that meat cooked using the Minion Method has an odd flavor, allegedly due to unlit charcoal igniting during the cooking process.

Only a few pitmasters have reported that utilizing briquettes for the Minion Method flavors meat.

If you are concerned that using briquettes may alter the flavor of your meat, try lump charcoal instead. It’s just as effective.

Can you use wood chunks or logs instead of charcoal?

You may utilize wood chunks or logs, but doing so negates the Minion Method’s key advantages.

It takes time for wood to be burnt down to hot coals before cooking can commence. It also has to be supplied on a regular basis, so it’s not simple or set and forget.

Charcoal is the ideal fuel to utilize with the Minion Method.

Popular variations of the Minion Method

Since Jim’s conception of the Minion Method, several pitmasters have adopted it and modified it to fit their own style and equipment.

Here are a couple Minion Method modifications that may work better for you than the original.

Soo’s Donut

Soos Donut follows the same stages as the original Minion Method, but with the following modifications:

  • Instead of a well, dig a hole in the middle that is 8 broad and all the way down. This is the Donut.
  • Rather of stacking your wood pieces on top of the unlit coals, bury them at various distances from the center.

The Fuse

Because bigger cookers and smokers run hotter, the Fuse is best suited for them.

It’s also one of the most effective methods to prepare a Kettle grill for smoking.

You can keep that temperature down by using The Fuse technique. Let’s have a look at how it works.

  • Make a Soos Donut out of charcoal and insert a holder in the middle to keep the embers from dropping into the hole. A rock will suffice.
  • To make a C shape, cut an 8-inch slice off your charcoal doughnut.
  • Remove the place holder from the center
  • Line up your wood pieces on top of the C form.
  • Fill a chimney starter halfway and light your starting coals.
  • Pour your lit coals on one end of the C shape

Like a fuse, the burning coals will now gently ignite the remainder of the C shape. This results in a protracted period of low and equal heat.

The Pyramid

Even by Minion Method standards, this final one is rather straightforward. Make a coal pyramid and lay a paraffin cube beneath the top coal.

Once the top coal is burned, the remainder of the pyramid will gradually ignite. The Pyramid Method is slow to start but maintains a consistent temperature.

Time to experiment!

The Minion Method is an excellent approach to get the gradual and low burn you want.

Using the four simple methods outlined above, you can have your smoker up and running in about 15 minutes, and you can experiment with its many versions to find one that matches your cooking style and equipment.


Does the minion method work?

The minion approach works with any kind of stove or smoker. The idea is to keep the coals at a safe distance from the meat. Because the minion allows for continual burning of charcoal or briquettes, you’ll need to experiment with it in your stove to discover how long they burn.

What is the temperature of the minion method?

The minion technique is designed to keep grill temperatures low and slow, between 225 and 250 degrees Fahrenheit.

What is the minion method for pulled pork?

The Minion Method is the secret to utilizing a kettle grill as a smoker. Make a large pile of unlit coals, put a little number of burning coals on top, and adjust the temperature using the airflow through the grill. As the fire grows through the pile, the unlit coals supply fuel for the whole cook.

What is the minion method of pit barrel cooker?

The Pit Barrel cooker is based on the well-known minion technique. The minion technique includes adding a few light coals to a bigger pile of unlit charcoal rather than dumping a chimney full of hot coals in at once and then having to replenish every few hours.

How many Minions should you have at 20 minutes?

There are 7 minions on every third wave until 20 minutes: 3 melee minions, 1 siege minion, and 3 caster minions. This minions block has three waves before resetting.

What charcoal is best for minion method?

The Minion Method works with both briquettes and lump charcoal. Each has advantages and disadvantages, and there are a few distinctions to be aware of: Lump charcoal is not consistent in size. To get a constant burn, pack it in securely.

How long will the minion method burn?

To generate flavorful smoke, wet wood chips are often used to the Minion Method. On a Weber Smokey Mountain, this approach will let you to smoke for 8-12 hours. With shorter cooking durations, the method may also be employed on Weber Kettle BBQs.

What happens when you shake a minion?

Minions have few other physiological traits; with a crack and a shake, they may serve as glow sticks for activities in the dark, such as venturing into ventilation ducts.

What is the secret to moist pulled pork?

The key to the juiciest and most tender pulled pork is to cook it low and slow. Serve the pork as is, or at the conclusion of cooking, toss with your favorite barbecue or other sauces.


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