So I've got the Char Griller Smokin' Pro with sfb that I've modded. I've used aluminum dryer hose to extend the stack to about 1.5" above grate level, built a large basket for the sfb, and the baffle and tuning plate mods. It is not rigged for reverse flow (but I'm thinking about doing that). I've posted pics of how I did the mods here at the end of page 12: http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/58778/char-griller-smokin-pro-with-firebox-mods/220 Here's the issue I'm having and I wonder if anyone has any insight.
I did 2 racks of spare ribs today (I'll post Qview tomorrow; I don't have the cable to upload photos from my camera right now). Temps were very insistent, and moving tuning plates didn't seem to make much difference. At the beginning of the smoke, temps were considerably higher on the sfb side. It was pretty consistently running 50+ hotter on the sfb side, even with the tuning plates shifted clear over to the sfb side.
But about 3 hours into the smoke, I noticed it leveled out, and even shifted. At one point, it shifted and was running 50 degrees hotter on the smokestack side than the sfb side. That doesn't make sense to me. Anyone have any explanation for that?
Part of my temp issues could be because it was about 35 today with a slight breeze blowing on the non-sfb side. I'm sure that pulled a decent amount of heat out of it. I think another part of it is because I brain farted putting water pans in, so there was no water in the smoker.
Also, would it improve the temp consistency across the cooking grate if I modded this for reverse flow? I have enough dryer hose that I could just run the hose to the sfb side to get a rf mod without drilling a new stack hole and welding the old one off (I got that idea from another thread on here. Thanks for whoever came up with it). Or is this just something that will always be difficult to control with such a thin metal smoker in cold weather? Just wondering if there's something I'm overlooking that could improve performance.
Now the important part. The ribs were still pretty awesome, despite less than perfect performance by my smoker (I'm sure it couldn't have been operator error). Here's how I did them. Sat PM I removed the membrane, and coated them with mustard, and whatever spices I had in the cupboard that I thought sounded good. Mostly just salt and pepper though (I'm a big believer in the KISS principle). Refrigerated overnight, then into the smoker at 11:00 AM today. I was burning a mix of lump and briquettes, minion style with hickory chunks for smoke. At 12:30, I rotated them 180 degrees to compensate for the temp difference.
At 2:00 PM, they went into tinfoil. I used an orange juicer to juice 2 granny smith apples, and put that juice into the foil, sealed it up and back into the smoker.
At 4:00 PM, out of the foil and back onto the grill for the last hour. I didn't hit them with any BBQ sauce (it's the KISS principle in operation again), but I think it would have been a good idea. Next time I'm going to make my own jalapeno BBQ sauce (got the idea from Bubba's BBQ in Jackson, WY, where they've got an AWESOME jalapeno BBQ sauce). Looking forward to that.
The thin parts near the bottom of the ribs without much fat got turned into near jerky, but it was still tasty even though it was way too dry. Water pans probably would have helped that. I think I'm going to cube those portions of the leftovers, and use them to make a ham and bean soup. Should be tasty, I think.
But the center parts were awesome. Perfect texture for my liking. Pulled away from the bone easily, but firm enough that you can leave a bite mark in the meat without pulling everything off the bone. Like I said, Qview will be posted tomorrow.
I tell you what guys, this is the most fun I've had with a hobby since I really started to fly fish 13 years ago. And unlike fly fishing, the women in my life don't nag me to spend less time cooking delicious food. Hell, they even clean up after me when I do it. Aaaaand the downside is....?