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CHAR-GRILLER Smokin Pro - product reveiw

post #1 of 40
Thread Starter 
All I have ever smoked with is electric and propane. Lately I am getting an urge to smoke with "natural fire" and have been going to the stores and looking at what is all available. I notice quite a few of SMF members use this grill and my local Menard's has the grill on sale for a $100 and the firebox for $50, this seems to be a fairly good deal. I would like to hear other member’s opinions on them, likes and dislikes, would you purchase one again or is there another model I should be looking at?

I like the cast iron grates, and the barrel of it seems to be constructed well. Another question I have on this and I have been doing SMF and Google searches but can't find much, is this grill with firebox added just for using charcoal or can it be a stick burner also? I can’t even find the manufacturers website…..

Are the frames of these pretty solid, the one on display seemed wobbly but the stores help may not have assembled it correctly or just not tightened everything right?

If this ends up being what I choose to try I will be reading up on all the modification current SMF members have made and doing most of them prior to using it. Thanks in advance for everyone's input and sorry for the 150 questions !!!
post #2 of 40
Mo, for the money, I find it to be a very nice smoker. It serves me well when I cook hamburgers or steaks, etc., and it also has allowed me to smoke many things over the few years that I've had her. The metal isn't heavy gauge, which tends to need more baby sitting as the temps can vary. Mine had a cast iron grate that had a small flaw in it while on display at Lowe's. They offered it to me for $100 (with sfb) and also threw in a (worthless) cover. All in all, I'd buy another one.
post #3 of 40
My only gripe so far is that the wheels are cheap. I've had mine for about 2 months now and the wheels split in two this weekend. Other than that - it's a great smoker. Lots of good grub comin off it. The wheels will be easy enough to replace with something heavier.
post #4 of 40
I like mine but that is all I have ever used. I usually start with charcoal but add splits for smoke. If using fruit woods only it can be used as a stick burner but when I tried strait Hickory it was way to strong.PDT_Armataz_01_28.gif

All in all it does use a lot of fuel but that isn't a bad thing. I am still looking for a basket for the charcoal as the ash builds up fast & I loose air flow & with that temp drops. I seem to do fine without the mod of dropping the chimney down to the grate.

You do need to rotate the meat as it does seem to be a bit hot at the firebox side & if using the top grate it is alot hotter on the top grate.

All in all it is a great versatile smoker/grill, with a lot of room.

It does require a bit of attention to keep steady temps. as you learn the quirks it gets very easy to predict & learn when it needs tending before it needs it. It's predictable.

Again als in all a good value for the buckPDT_Armataz_01_37.gif
post #5 of 40
The more I use mine, the more I'm glad I bought it!

Take care, have fun, and do good!


post #6 of 40
John, I don't share the same experience as you. As a CG user for a long time, I find it a challenge to even reach 220 at grate level. Most times I have to really lay the coal to the SFB to get it there, and I keep adding. I suppose I may be doing something wrong. Can you describe your technique?
post #7 of 40
At grate I stat neat 200.

I start a chimney of regular old Charcoal briquettes. When glowing red I dump them & add som Cowboy brand lump charcoal. When that gets the cooking chamber to about 175 I add 2 small pieces of split wood (Cherry from an orchard is my favorite) Every hour I add another 3 handfuls of lump charcoal & another split of wood. I can maintain 200 on the lid thermo & have a turkey fryer thermo thru one of the stock rotisserie holes with the pot clip inside the cooking chamber to hold the tip of the fryer thermometer about a 1/8 under the cooking grate & that stays around 200 degrees.

When I first put the meat on the bottom thermometer is about 25 degrees lower that the stock one but as the cook goes on they switch to the other way 25 degrees hotter on the lid. I have tried an oven thermoter setting on the to warmer rack & that runs about 275 to 300 degrees when I open to mop the meat.

I do have an issue with the ash drawer building up enough ash that I start to loose air flow after 5 or 6 hours. I haven't quite figured out what to do to cure that yet & have tried to turn the charcoal rack over but only have tried that once & it did seem to help a little.

I have not added the chimney mod & don't know if I will as I am going to enter a backyard BBQ in Silver Lake, MI & the backyard has ribs & wings as the only 2 meats. It works perfect to do the wings on the top & they get almost crispy.

Hope I have been of some help.
post #8 of 40
John, I'm thrilled that you get that kind of steady temp. I sure don't! Good luck with the competition. I'm sure you'll do great!

If you can throw pic out sometime, that'd be great!
post #9 of 40
I have tried to post pics but I have to spend a lot of time resizing them. The camera I have takes huge pics.

Last smoke I brought the camera out & my daughter had run the batteries dead & when I went to get the spare set I found out that that was the set she ran dead.

I keep trying to post the Q-view though.
post #10 of 40
I love my CG... after the mods I did to it, it really is very temp stable. It is definitly a good bang for the buck! As for fuel, I use lump charcoal, wood chunks and sticks.

My main complaints were the firebox coal grate, the hot spot at the sfb end and the useless temp guage. All of those deficiencies have been remedied. I have also turned mine into a 4 wheeler, using air filled hand cart tires. PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #11 of 40
I have had mine for a few weeks and I love it. A quick trip to Home Depot can have you in good shape. I made a charcoal basket for mine. I also added an expanded metal grate that sits just above the ash drawer. That way I can dump the ashes while the charcoal is still burning. Using the charcoal basket I got almost six hours without adding any more charcoal.
post #12 of 40
Its a great cooker for the money. My biggest complaint is that the lid doesnt seal very well so its kinda drafty. Hard to keep temps steady but you ll get the hang of it after a few tries. Read my reply to smokindad about TEMP CONTROL PROBLEM cause I dont have time to type it again. Master the fire, nothing else compares.
post #13 of 40
Go for it Mossy, with a couple mod's you'll be more than happy with it!wink.gif
post #14 of 40
i like my chargriller. i am in the process of trying to seal up the leaks, and i have to believe that this will help with my temp, but i have to say that if you keep up your fire with lump coal, you will get used to it. i use a couple of grate thermometers and dont have a problem keeping 220. good luck, and you will get used to it. i dont think you can beat it for the price. jack
post #15 of 40
Snag it! I love mine.
post #16 of 40
I like mine,highly recommended!
post #17 of 40
You will fall in love with it real fast.....

I got my first one almost 2 yrs ago. I bought my second one last December.

I have the sfb's on both, and with only the vent mod, and a piece of expanded metal on the sfb cooking grate, I can get temps up well over 300.... I use RO lump, and throw in some hickory chunks.

I cooked last weekend, and hot a hard time keeping temps down below 265.... of course, it was 101 at 7pm too..... Overall, I would buy another in a heart beat if and when I had to.

Money will spent. Not only can you grill on it, you can smoke on it, and do low and slow. Where else can you buy such a versatile unit, with that much cook space, for that kind of money.

post #18 of 40
I was gonna get one they look nice and lots of happy customers!
post #19 of 40
Go for it Debi, you'll love it... 'specially when you tinker with it and get it the way you want! PDT_Armataz_01_34.gif
post #20 of 40
I've had mine for about a year now and it gets better every time I use it. I did the chimney mod and made a charcoal basket and smoking has been a breeze. Temps are easy to maintain and I get 4-5 hours out of a basket of charcoal. I do alot of grilling during the week using the main chamber and my food gets better and better as the "seasoning" on the cast iron grates build up. I highly
recommend the Char-griller.

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