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Minion Method in Chargriller

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Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:01 am

Posts: 47
Location: Nashville

I am new to the Chargriller family and wonder if anyone could help with the best way to do the minion method in a CG.

Any thoughts?

Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:10 am
bstein well done
well done

Posts: 435
Location: San Diego CA
You will need to put some sort of a basket in the SFB, then choke the oxygen down to a minimum. Like this it should burn fairly carefree, though I found that I had to check on mine every hour or so. CG's are great for smoking large quantities of meat, but they do require some tending.

Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:37 am
Married_Man medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 233
Location: NC
I've had good success without the basket using both charcoal briquettes and good lump charcoal.

I fill the SFB to the level of the bottom of the opening between the grill chamber and SFB with unlit charcoal. Make sure not to block the SFB side vent. Add about 1/2 a chimney starter worth of lit charcoal to the top of the pile on the left side next to the opening between the chambers.

There are many variations on this with some hollowing out the center of the pile and adding the lit there or various other tweaks.

Ash build-up can be a problem with charcoal briquettes. I plan to test lump charcoal & no basket against charcoal briquettes with basket.

If using lump charcoal, keep in mind that lump characteristics vary greatly between brands. Of the three brands I've tried, I've had the most success with Kingsford Charwood for long smokes.

If not using a SFB, I've read about, but not tested, a minion type method in the main chamber. You line a row of unlit charcoal from left to right across the complete grill grate, leaving 6" or so on one side to add lit charcoal. Place the meat to be cooked at the opposite end of the chamber as the lit charcoal. The charcoal will burn toward the meat. About half way through the cook, move your meat to the other end of the chamber, do not turn the meat. I would guess you might need to rake a few coals away from the meat when you move it to keep temps down in that area.

Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 11:55 am
olewarthog well done
well done

Posts: 372
Location: South GA

I use one of the CharBroil shaker baskets available at Lowes. I should be mounted in the SFB so the ash drawer can be easily removed without disturbing the basket. You can find several easy ways to do this throughout this forum. Some have cut pieces of angle iron that fit across the SFB to sit a basket on. Some use SS bolts to raise the basket up. I had a grate from an old grill that I wedged inside the SFB.

Fill your basket about 3/4 full with charcoal with wood chunks mixed in. I leave an empty space in the front left corner of my basket for the lit charcoal. This way the charcoal has to burn back against the air flow. This seems to increase the burn time somewhat. Here is a pic before adding the lit charcoal

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I then fill a generic chimney (smaller than a Weber chimney) about 2/3 full with charcoal & start it using the side burner on my gas grill. If you don't have a burner, a couple sheets of newspaper will work also.

Image

I don't wait for the chimney to get to the full white ash stage. As soon as I can't hold my hand over the chimney I dump it into the empty space in the basket.

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I have both the stack & side vents wide open for maximum air flow. Sometimes, I even pull open the ash drawer a couple of inches. I have digital probe therms in the MC. When i see the MC temps break 200, I close the side vent down to only about 1/4 open. Most of the time, the temp will stablize in the 220-230 range. If it falls short, I open the vent up another 1/4. If it overshoots, I close the vent completely.

Once your temps are stable, you should be able to maintain a steady temp for at least 2-3 hours with only minor adjustments to the side vent. Always leave the stack vent completely open. When temps drop, I shake the basket to remove as much ash as possible, push the remaining charcoal to the left side & and refill the basket with unlit charcoal on the right side.
CG Super Pro w/SFB
Char Broil 3 burner gasser
ECB

Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 12:27 pm
sixfofalcon medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 211
Location: Philadelphia, PA
I don't find the Minion method to be necessary or beneficial in the CG. I just load it up with about 50/50 lit vs. unlit briquettes and choke the intake down to about 90% closed. I've gotten over 11 hours on a single fuel-load this way, and the temperatures don't fluctuate much. As mentioned, a nice charcoal basket in the SFB is key for the CG.

The Minion method is better suited for vertical smokers like the WSM, where there isn't as much heat loss between the fire and the food. In an offset like the CG, it takes a lot more heat in the firebox to get the cooking chamber up to BBQ temps. Using a small amount of lit coals, per the Minion method, means you have to start with the intake wide open and then wait around for temps to come up, then close the intake down to try to maintain the temp where you want it.

It's much easier to just start with a lot more hot coals than what is called for in the Minion method. This way you can be near your cooking temps right off the bat, and by keeping the intake mostly closed, you don't have to worry so much about overshooting the temps as the fire spreads to the unlit coals.
Weber Performer
22.5" WSM
CG Smokin' Pro (lots o' mods, but basically "retired")

Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 2:46 pm
CaCook medium-well
medium-well

Posts: 256
Location: San Francisco Bay Area
i use a expanded metal basket in my firebox
then lit up 12 coals in the chimney starter and throw it on top.
It takes a while to get the smoker going, it will shoot up and then get down to 225.. once it's there it stays there though.

My firebox door has a gap so I cannot really control much, I always keep the intake shutted and let the door gap do the intake, seems just right.

there were times the basket charcoal all lit up at the same time, quickly getting the main temp to 400.. had to throw some water on the charcoal to cool it down. Opening the lid on the MC seems to make the fire flare up more.

Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 9:55 pm
jstewart well done
well done

Posts: 945
Location: Simi Valley, CA
If you feel like the answers are "all over the map" as they saying goes, they are :shock: :shock: That really is the beauty of these forums. You have answers that say you do need and don't need the basket and answers that say the minion isn't necessary while others use it. You need to figure out what will best work for you. Not only is each CG different, but so are all of us in what we like and decide to use. I myself have a basket and use the minion method. My basket is 12x12x6 and I fill it almost full. I'll light about 12-15 briquets and let them get good and hot. There are some days where I need to pull out the tray a bit to get it going while on other days the temps climb right on up where they need to be. Once the temps settle and I put the meat on, then I add some wood chunks.
Jimmy
Image
CG Super Pro w/SFB
Weber One Touch Silver

Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:44 pm
d_holck well done
well done

Posts: 839
Location: Illinois
Welcome to the Board, SouthernSmoker and Married_Man... you'll find all kinds of good advice here, even when, as jstewart pointed out, the advice is all over the place.

Not sure what you're intending to cook, but if it's something forgiving like pork shoulder chances are you won't go wrong. Try different ways, keep notes about timing, weather, etc., and you'll find what works for your setup.
"... mmmmmmm 'bacon'."

CG Outlaw w/SFB
UDS
Old classic Weber Kettle

Post Tue Nov 03, 2009 10:46 pm
d_holck well done
well done

Posts: 839
Location: Illinois
Welcome to the Board, SouthernSmoker and Married_Man... you'll find all kinds of good advice here, even when, as jstewart pointed out, the advice is all over the place.

Not sure what you're intending to cook, but if it's something forgiving like pork shoulder chances are you won't go wrong. Try different ways, keep notes about timing, weather, etc., and you'll find what works for your setup.
"... mmmmmmm 'bacon'."

CG Outlaw w/SFB
UDS
Old classic Weber Kettle


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