Kansas City BBQ Judge

The Minion Method for Beginners

The minion method is a BBQ smoking method on a Weber WSM or Kettle Grill. 10 to 15 briquettes of lit charcoal are added to the center of an unlit charcoal pile. Gradually the fire spreads to the other unlit charcoal, allowing for even heat distribution. This is ideal for low and slow smoking.

How To: The Minion Method


First: Add charcoal briquettes to the fire ring, making sure to leave a void in the center.

Second: Using your charcoal chimney, ignite 8-12 pieces of charcoal.

Finally, Wait 15-20 minuets, or until the charcoal is completely lit and red hot. After the charcoal is red hot, dump the lit coals in the center of the unlit charcoal. Once the lit charcoal is placed, put the smoker back together and add your meat.

BBQ TIP: If you’re cooking “large meats” like brisket or pork butts, wait a minimup of 2 Hours before opening the lid. You might be urged to peek, however DONT PEEK! Every time you open the lid, you let the heat escape. Lookin Aint Cookin!

Controlling Temperature:  Minion Method

Getting your pit temps just right can be a little daunting. Every good pitmaster knows his or her pit, and the same will go for you. “Dialing In” or adjusting airflow of the smoking vents just right is an artform itself. Keep your air vents open too much, and your tempurature will skyrocket. Keep them open too little and your fire will extingquish. Both have happened to me and neither are fun. The reason why the minion method is good for beginners, is because it allows for better tempurature control during those longer cooks

  1. Open your bottom vents all the way
  2. Open your top vents so that 1/2 of the vent is covered
  3. Leave top vents open & Check Pit temp every 15 minuets
  4. When you’re 20 degrees +\- away from desired cooking temp, close your top vent 75% of the way.
  5. Check Pit Temp in 15 Minuets ( It should get hotter but not much)
  6. At this point, use the 15 minuet rule to dial in your desired pit tempurature.

Pro Tip: Smoking meat is a long game. Have patience when dialing in your pit tempurature. It could take te better part of two hours to get your pit at the desired tempurature. Some times it seems like it’ll never get there at all. Just be patient, adjust the vents as needed.

Minion Method:  Pros and Cons


  • Easy to understand
  • Designed for longer cooks
  • You don’t need to add extra charcoal
  • Easier Temp Control
  • Beginner Friendly


  • Bad for short term cooks
  • Primarily uses briquettes (I’m a lump guy)
  • Low & Slow only

Minion Method: Conclusion

If it’s your first time smoking on a Weber Smokey mountain or you’re a seasoned professional, the Minion Method is excellent for low and slow smoking those briskets and pork butts. Cheers and happy smoking!

Have any comments or questions about the minion method?

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Cheers, AJC.