BBQ Cooking Methods
You are most likely aware there are three basic methods for cooking using your grill or smoker, indirect, direct and combo. Each method, like grilling or smoking meat, places your food differently according to your fire. We realize if you are new to barbequing, you may not be familiar with the minion method. This is a superior method of cooking for the following reasons.
- Your charcoal fire will burn for a long time
- Your meat will require minimum supervision
- You can smoke meat perfectly
- You can cook big pieces of meat including cheaper and fattier cuts
- Ideal for ribs, briskets and pork shoulders
- You can cook extremely tender meat
We understand grilling meat is challenging when you first begin. This is why we are going to share some pro tips before we explain the minion method. If you are cooking a larger piece of meat, do not open the lid of your BBQ for at least two hours or the heat will escape. Be patient while getting your grill to the right temperature and adjust your vents when necessary. Once you learn how to set up a slow burn, we know you will be on your way to creating a masterpiece.
The Minion Method
Jim Minion is the grill master who established this indirect BBQ method. Once he wrote about this technique, it became known as the Minion Method. This method will eliminate the need to constantly rearrange your fire or add fuel to save you considerable time. We are going to show you how to set up your charcoal so it burns more consistently, steadily and longer. This method is perfect for overnight cooking.
When done properly, your fire will last between six and eighteen hours at 225 to 275 degrees Fahrenheit. This is ideal for slow-cooked meats such as pulled pork and brisket. You should not use the Minion Method for cooking your meat higher than 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Simply follow our directions for your minion method offset smoker.
Setting Up for the Minion Method
You can use either charcoal briquettes or lump charcoal. We recommend briquettes because they burn evenly and the size is uniform. No matter which one you choose, use a quality thermometer to watch your temperature. You want to make a crater using your charcoal. Pile up as much as possible on the sides and leave a hole in the center. Now fill the hole with lit charcoal the color of ash. This way, your charcoal will burn from the center.
Use a lot of charcoal right from the start so you will not have to replace any later on. We recommend placing a few chunks of wood the size of your fist on top of your charcoal to add a nice smoky flavor to your meat. Wait until your charcoal has turned the color of ash. You will have a large enough hole to place your meat. Your meat will cook slowly using indirect heat to ensure it is tender and juicy. This is the Minion Method for indirect BBQ.
Adapting the Minion Method
If you have a smaller grill, you can still create a Minion Method offset smoker by using a two-zone fire. Use one side of your grill to build your coals. Place your meat on the opposite side away from the heat. You will need to add fuel more often so your cooking time will be longer due to heat loss. You also have to consider how airtight the grill is. If there are a lot of leaks, your fuel will burn a lot quicker. If your smoker is tight, your fuel will burn efficiently and last longer.
If you are using a smoker, you should have two grills for your food, a charcoal basket and a water pan. If your smoker is a vertical style, your meat will be directly above the fire. You will need to use your water pan to prevent your temperature from getting too hot. Your water pan will diffuse the heat and keep your meat moist. If you have a different type of smoker, use indirect BBQ cooking to achieve a lower temperature.
The Minion Method will ignite your lit fuel slowly through combustion and still enable you to control the temperature. You will need to fill your water pan halfway. This will take between five and nine liters of water depending on the capacity. Your vents allow you to control the heat. Open your top vent all the way to allow the smoke an escape as opposed to building up in your cooking chamber. You can control the heat with your bottom vents.
You should achieve the desired temperature in about half an hour with the Minion Method. This will give you roughly eleven hours of cooking time for one load of fuel. You can always add more fuel if you need more time.
Potential Adjustments and Summary
Depending on your smoker or grill, you may need to make a few adjustments to keep your temperature on the mark. If your temperature is getting too high, close one of the vents you have opened all the way halfway. If your temperature is dropping, open all of your vents. We recommend thinking of your smoker as a car. Your vents are your braking and acceleration system. When you open them, your car will go faster and the temperature will increase. When you close them, your car slows down and the temperature drops.
Your water pan represents balance. If your temperature increases quickly, your water pan is probably empty. You need to check your pan regularly so you can top it off when necessary. Your Minion Method offset smoker basics are:
- Fill your charcoal basket with four kilograms of charcoal in the shape of a doughnut
- Place thirteen to fifteen lit pieces of charcoal in the middle
- Place fist-sized pieces of wood for smoking on the top
- Fill your water pan with five to nine liters of water
- Top off your water pan approximately every three hours
- Always keep your top vent open all the way
- To start, two bottom vents should be open all the way and one completely closed
- Adjust your vents to control your temperature
Smoked Pork Loin
Now that you know how to BBQ using the Minion method, we figured you might need a sensational recipe to begin. To make a tender and juicy smoked pork loin you will need:
- One eight to ten-pound whole pork roast
- Two to three applewood chunks
- One and one-half tablespoons dried thyme
- Three teaspoons onion powder
- One teaspoon salt
- Two tablespoons melted butter
- One and one-half tablespoons sweet paprika
- One cup of your favorite BBQ sauce (you will need more for serving)
- One teaspoon cayenne
- One and one-half teaspoon black pepper (fresh ground)
- One and one-half tablespoon turbinado sugar (you can substitute brown sugar)
- Inject your roast using two cups of port brine (the recipe is below)
You will need:
- Two cups chicken stock (we recommend using homemade)
- One tablespoon salt
- One tablespoon sugar
- Two tablespoons rice vinegar
- One tablespoon Worcestershire sauce
Mix your pork brine ingredients together until the sugar has dissolved completely. Remove the silver skin and fat from your roast. Use butcher twine to tie it together to help ensure the shape remains round while cooking. Inject the brine into your roast with a high-quality injector. As you inject the brine, your roast will become slightly puffy. Place your roast in the refrigerator for one or two hours to give the brine a chance to infuse.
Mix your paprika, salt, onion powder, thyme, sugar, cayenne and pepper together using a small bowl. Take your pork loin out of the refrigerator and coat it lightly using melted butter. Cover your roast with the dry ingredients and massage it lightly. Make sure you rub sticks. Leave your roast sitting for thirty minutes at room temperature.
Use the Minion Method to prepare your grill or smoker. Wait until your temperature reaches 225 degrees Fahrenheit. Put your roast on the grill using indirect heat. Close the cover and cook your meat for ninety minutes. Turn your roast and use a brush to add a little more barbeque sauce. Keep cooking for another ninety minutes then flip your roast again. If you like, you can add more barbeque sauce. Continue these steps until the internal temperature of your meat is 140 degrees Fahrenheit.
After four hours, use an instant-read, high-quality thermometer to check the temperature of your meat. Your roast should require four to six hours to cook. We recommend checking the temperature of your grill frequently to ensure it does not exceed 250 degrees Fahrenheit. The ideal temperature is 225 degrees Fahrenheit. This will make certain your roast is delicious and tender. Let your pork roast sit for twenty minutes after removing it from your grill to let the juices redistribute.
Smoked Pork Loin with Minion Method
Once you have used the Minion Method for cooking your favorite meat, you will use it often. Indirect BBQ is an ideal way of ensuring your meat is always tender, juicy and absolutely delicious.