Hey, guys..OK..I'll admit that I'm a total noob with the Mini. But, this thing is driving me nuts.
No matter what I try, I CANNOT get a good fire going and get it to stay lit across the entire fire box - without it taking me 20-30 min of putzing around.
I tried the Rutland starter cubes (one cube cut into three pieces and set vertically into the lump at 1st, 2nd and 3rd base), and that just didn't get a good fire going..
Added a paper towel soaked in Canola oil..basically laid down one level of Lump (RO), then soaked paper towel, then another layer of RO (piece in the middle with longer pieces on top like a spoke of a wheel). Starter cube pieces in same place.
With the towel, everything lights just ducky - but it flames, and flames, and flames..and I'm not sure when to close the dome as I have flame roaring up over the grid for a good 10+ minutes.
If I shut the dome (DFMT totally off, draft door totally open), the fire inevitably goes out, and I get 10-15 minutes of puffy grey smoke billowing out of the chimney.
This thing has got a learning curve that's MUCH higher than I ever expected.
My wife says I may be able to figure it out if I was retired - but I'm not, and don't have half an hour to get this thing loaded, started and ready to cook every time.
I will say the couple of things we've cooked successfully (burgers, steak and a couple of pork chops) have been fabulous. But pizza was "meh" and think my oven at 550 does better. Hot dogs were indistinguishable from the Weber gasser.
Beginning to wonder if all the hassle is worth it, and have the 3-burner Weber that is SO much easier and seems to deliver (blasphemy, I know), just about the same end result.
Maybe I should have got a small or medium. The mini just seems like it has too small of a fire box and is too tempermental to make it "worth it" unless you've got scads of free time to waste getting it going and to the right cooking tem.
Wondering if the small would have been a better choice..thinking of selling the Mini on CL and upgrading to a small or medium..or, just calling it a day and going back to my Weber gasser + Cookshack smoker (which is amazing..load it, set it, run it and forget it for 10-16 hours until done - and the taste is amazing).
What am I missing here?