Hi everyone -
I've been surfing the forums for the past hour or so, trying to get a handle on my Char-griller with SFB. A lot of the mods make perfect sense, but I've still got plenty of noob questions I can't seem to figure out. (And yes, I searched first...) A couple of these are of a more general nature about the smoking process. These questions are in no particular order and let me thank you in advance for any help you may provide. I'll be sure to post some food porn from my first smoke as a thank you!
1) It seems to me that while tuning plates are ideal, they are best used in the event that you are using the CG specifically as a smoker, and not a grill. Is this correct? I do plan on using the main chamber as a good 'ole charcoal grill from time to time.
2) I completely understand the tuning plate concept, BUT, I'm having a hard time grasping what a baffle is, and how specifically I use or install it on my CG. (I should use this as the chance to point out that I am NOT a handyman in anyway, and anything beyond basic drilling or screwing I'm pretty much lost on.) The baffle helps with the flow of smoke and is similiar to a tuning plate, as far as it's function. Is that correct?
3) With these thoughts in mind, my first mods are going to be a) swapping out the thermometer on the lid - any suggestions for which one to use as the replacement? b)lining the bottom with ceramic briquets c)making/building a better fuel holder for the SFB, and d) assuming I can figure out what it is, adding a baffle.
4) A common mod seems to be extending the chimney. From the pictures, it looks like the metal tubing extends down from the lid on the inside, towards the grill surface. What is the reason for this mod and how far down should the extension be?
5) If I am using lump charcoal as my primary heat source, and wood chunks for the smoking - how much of both of these goes where? Being a noob, I just assumed that all my fuel would be in the SFB, and I would just put the smoking wood in there with the charcoal. But after reading a little bit, that doesn't seem to be the case. Should I keep lit charcoal in the bottom of the main chamber? And would you not lose heat that way, because you'd have to open the chamber to add new coals? I thought the whole reason for the SFB was to keep the heat in the main chamber and not have to open the main chamber up.
6) Given that I'm probably not going to have tuner plates to put them on - what's the best place to put the water pan? Can I just place it on the grill beside the meat?
Thanks again everyone. I'm going to dump a bunch of lump charcoal in tomorrow and fire up the CG to give it a first burn/seasoning and then next week, I'll try my first smoke - probably something very forgiving like a pork shoulder or butt.