Chargriller SNP mods: Tuning plates vs fire brick

Discussion in 'Smoker Builds' started by grampyskids, May 26, 2010.

  1. grampyskids

    grampyskids Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    I have a Chargriller SNP and I am not ready to assemble it yet. In all the threads, I see all kinds of tuning plate advice, but in comps I have talked to users who have lined the cooking chamber with foil wrapped fire brick. Can anyone give me the pros and cons of each method?
  2. flbobecu

    flbobecu Smoking Fanatic

  3. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    The tuning plate helps to diffuse the heat across the chamber evenly.  If you look at them they have holes that get gradually larger as it goes across the plate from the SFB to the exhaust end.  The holes are smaller at the entrance to the cooking chamber because that is where the most heat is.  This forces the heat across the chamber, evening out temps.

    The firebrick on the other hand, increases mass (heat sink) in the cooking chamber, absorbing heat and releasing it slowly.  This aids in recovery time after the cooking chamber has been opened for mopping or spritzing.

    If I've missed anything or am in error, someone will be along to correct me.
  4. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    The best advice I can give you is to take some time to learn your smoker & how it reacts with your environment before going into a lot of mods. What works for me may not always work for you.  In my case, in south GA we have relatively mild winters & my cooker is pretty well protected from the wind.  My mods may not be as effective for someone in a colder region or one who has no protection from the wind.

    I suggest 2 basic mods to start. One is to have a way to take temps at cooking grate level. The stock therm is reading temps near the hood. Having 50-100 degree differences between this therm & one on the cooking grate is not uncommon. The other is to use some type of charcoal basket in the SFB.  The grate that comes in the SFB is almost worthless. 

    Start with these 2 mods & flip the charcoal tray in the main chamber & hang it so it acts as a baffle. If you detect heat or smoke loss from gaps, use foil for temporary gaskets. After a couple of cooks, you will begin to get a feel for what you need to do to improve the cooker. That may involve lowering the stack, adding a better baffle.tuning plate, sealing the chamber better, etc. I also recommend only doing one additional mod at a time & see how that effect the cooker. Pretty soon, you will have the CG dialed in to work the best for your unique conditions.
  5. dick foster

    dick foster Smoking Fanatic

    Do what I did in my offset and use fire brick as tuning plates. A twofer so to speak.

    I arranged the bricks across the bottom of the cooking chamber  and have the usual deflector plate mod in place to force all the heat and smoke from the firebox to go up under the brick. I varied the spacing between the bricks from narrow to wide across the pit from end to end. Narrow gaps at the hot end and wider gaps as they approach the flue.

    The brick adds much needed thermal mass to the el cheapo offset and varied spacing results in cooking temps are practically dead even from end to end like a tuning plate would. Especially as I always lay a piece of foil on top of the bricks and under the food on the grill to catch drippings which makes clean up a simple and easy proposition.
  6. smokininidaho

    smokininidaho Smoke Blower


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