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DWFII

Minion method for low and slow

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Having read both of the pinned threads on starting charcoal for low and slow i was reminded of a method i learned long ago for lighting a WSM--simply tale a both-ends-cut-out can (on the WSM it was a coffee can) and surround it with charcoal...lump or briqs. Light a certain number of pieces separately and dump them into the can. Then pull the can. The fire spreads evenly from the center out.

 

This is similar to the "volcano" method described in one of the pinned posts. If one used a smaller can--such as a tomato paste can and either dropped a firestarter  or one or two briqs into the can before pulling it, I think it would be near-as-nevermind the same thing.

 

Has anyone tried anything similar and/or found it wanting?

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Used to use that method all the time on my Akorn -- have 3 different sized cans, depending on how hot/fast I wanted the fire to get.

 

Use similar method for the Sm. Primo -- just without the cans involved.  Spread the old lump out, leaving a clear space in the middle.  Start a few pcs. in the bottom of the "chimney" (or more for a quick/hot fire), and dump them in the middle, then add the lump, finishing it up for a full load.  Works for me.

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Some members use a paper towel tube to create space to drop down a lit starter cube. I don't see the necessity. For L&S, I dump in the lump, create a small divot in the charcoal and insert a starter.  Easy, peasy.

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I use a Digi-Q to control the temps after starting thing off (gently, in 1 spot) with a propane torch.  If I am planning a really long, low-and-slow I use the cotton ball and alcohol at the top of the pile and get it up to temp slow.  I plan to smoke some collard greens with ham hocks overnight Weds night before Thanksgiving.  And I trust my little digital gizmo to let me sleep in peace and get up ready to smoke my turkey.

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7 hours ago, daninpd said:

 If I am planning a really long, low-and-slow I use the cotton ball and alcohol at the top of the pile and get it up to temp slow. 

 

I have always used a paper towel soaked in food grade cooking oil. If I crumpled a half sheet into a tight wad after soaking, would it be too big or burn too long? Hows long does a stater cube 9or even a half cube) burn?

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The differences between starting mediums are not as significant as the understanding of when to close the lid and begin the climb to the desired temp. I have used cottons balls, paper towels, oil, alcohol, Weber cubes, Rutland starters, fat wood, etc. to start the fire and in each case I wait until the starter has completely burned off and the lit charcoal is sustainable before I close it up. If more charcoal is the lit the climb will be quicker than if less is lit. In this case I close down the vents more quickly when I begin to approach my temp. The less coal, the slower the temp raises and the more time before I shut down the vents.

 

Ultimately, kamado-style cookers are different than kettles and they should be operated differently. Nothing a few cooks can't overcome. Learn your Akorn and adapt to what works for your cooker. Experience is your greatest teacher.

 

Happy cooking.

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On ‎11‎/‎12‎/‎2017 at 4:35 PM, bcrgrill said:

Used to use that method all the time on my Akorn -- have 3 different sized cans, depending on how hot/fast I wanted the fire to get.

 

Use similar method for the Sm. Primo -- just without the cans involved.  Spread the old lump out, leaving a clear space in the middle.  Start a few pcs. in the bottom of the "chimney" (or more for a quick/hot fire), and dump them in the middle, then add the lump, finishing it up for a full load.  Works for me.

 

I use the minion method in my Big Joe when making  jerky.  I find that controlling the amount of lump that is able to ignite makes keeping the grill temp at 150-170f (for as long as I want) a breeze

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Hey all. Any pics of the setup?? I have always used a chimney, and I never had good luck. I can see through reading here, that isnt the way to do it. I plan to sit in front of it on Saturday with this method or the volcano method, and try holding different temps. I think I get the idea, but work well with pics as a backup. The pics in the sticky about low and slow no longer show up. I am really just wanting to make sure I am using enough charcoal and have it setup the right way.

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jlb, you're on the right track in a couple of ways. You've already learned that the chimney is a no-go for low and slow temps. And you're smart to take the time and effort to learn how to master temp control. Ceramic Chef would be proud :-D

 

I don't have any pictures to share but can offer this advice. Whether you use the "hole in the middle" or the "divot in the top of the pile" method, always try to make your initial fire as small as possible. Stick by your cooker and observe as the temp starts to slowly climb. About every 25 degrees I'll close both vents a notch. When I'm about 25 degrees short of my target I'll move both vents down to the 1 position. That usually allows my cooker to settle in, but of course your mileage may vary. If you need to make small adjustments then just move the top vent a tiny amount.

 

One more thing. Get away from the thought process of using just the right amount of charcoal. Always fill it up with enough fuel for the cook and then some. Your temp is governed by your lighting method and vent settings, not the amount of charcoal. No reason to risk having to remove everything to add more fuel during a cook. Unless your cooker is defective, closing the vents after the cook will snuff your fire and allow you to reuse the unburned coal in the firebox.

 

Hopefully someone can add some illustrative pics for you. 

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On 11/12/2017 at 3:02 PM, DWFII said:

simply tale a both-ends-cut-out can (on the WSM it was a coffee can) and surround it with charcoal

 

I do this all the time, old WSM habit.  It does give you a column of lit coals from top to bottom, without lighting too much and going overboard, so you can dial in the temp you want.  I use 1 tall can for the column and 1 tall can for a mini-chimney starter.  BTW, the peas are really good too!

 

91HMNVCTU2L._SY679_.jpg

 

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