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New Poster/long time member

post #1 of 19
Thread Starter 
I have been a member for years, never posted before. Until 2 weeks ago I used a modified ECB. Since I never got good heat I only ever smoked ribs and usually finished them off in the gas grill. I finally took the plunge and bought a Char-Griller with the side fire box. I have since smoked my best ribs ever (Wife's opinion) and A pork butt/pulled pork that was to die for..for a family 4th of July party. Last weekend I did a 5lb pork shoulder, a turkey breast and a cornish hen. All came out good. I now consider myself an offical BBQ/Smoker person. :)
I write short stories, usually somewhat truthful, about my life experiences...The story that follows is all about the day I bought and put together the new smoker....
July 3, 2008


After many years of using my ‘el cheapo’ Brinkman Smoker ($39.99) to make my smoked ribs and pulled pork, I finally decided to upgrade my meat smoking capabilities. My decision to purchase a new smoker was helped along by the fact that the bottom of the charcoal pan in the old device was rotting out AND the truly deciding factor was that Rose and Shadow won a few bucks on the firehouse weekly number pool. I was able to coheres, beg, plead and shame my wife and my cat into giving me a small portion of their winnings towards the smoker. The wife was easy; getting the money from the cat was a *****. I had to explain to Shadow that IF I didn’t get the cash he’d have to learn how to open his own cans of food. He saw the logic of my reasoning and begrudgingly kicked in a few dollars towards the purchase.

For the past 2 years I had my good eye on a CHAR GRILLER Barrel grill/smoker with a side firebox option available at LOWEâ€S. It is about the size of a 30 gallon drum and will easily hold twice as much as my old smoker. I picked up the new smoker today along with the side fire box option. The thing came in two boxes and both items were not exactly light weight. Rose supervised my manhandling of the boxes into the Escort Wagon and we then stopped at Wal-Mart to get some Ribs and Large chunks of Pork products to be transformed into delectable, smoked morsels hot off of the new smoker. Rose asked me if she should ask her brother to give me a hand in the soon to come assembly process, I told her I didn’t need any help and that I felt that the assembly would be a piece of cake.
My wife laughed and told me she’d remind me of my statement when she heard me cursing in three different languages. Little did I know how prophetic her words would be.
We got home around lunch time and I unloaded the grill stuff into the back yard. Being as I am a Big Kid at heart, I immediately opened the smoker box and started to pull everything out. When I got to the Directions Packet I paused and gave the directions the once over. The directions pack contained 2 booklets of directions, one in English, and the other in Spanish…with a smile on my face; I threw the el spanisho directions in the el trasho.

I finished unpacking the smoker/grill box and Actually read the directions Before I started to assemble the thing. The front page of the directions had a warning in bold print….

CAUTION: This Unit Is HEAVY…Do Not assemble without a helper.

Seeing as I already busted my cajones getting the boxes into the car and then into my back yard, I really didn’t need a bold print warning telling me how heavy the unit was. I also figured that the CHAR GRILLER Company did not know how helpful my wife could be assembling a project so I decided to totally ignore the warning and go solo in the assembly process.
I followed the directions and everything was going very well. The directions also stated that “assembly time was approximately 45 minutesâ€â€¦I was well ahead of the assembly time curve. When I started to attach the bottom half of the smoker to the leg section I stopped and decided to see what attaching the optional firebox would entail.

I unpacked the Side Fire Box Unit and perused the directions. When I got to step #4 in the directions I got a very uneasy feeling about the 45 minute time curve.
Step #4 read as follows…

#4- With a Hammer and Screwdriver knock out the 6 holes (5/16†diameter) that are around the damper opening. Then with a hammer, knock out the large perforated section of metal around the damper opening that is shaped something like a football. (See Fig. B)
This entire step may require heavy hammering and/or drilling with a 5/16†diameter drill bit.

I got a hammer and screw driver and started knocking out the bolt holes, that step went very smoothly. I then attempted to knock out the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. Remembering the Heavy Hammering aspect of the directions, I swung mightily at the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal with my Hammer. The Herculean Hammer Swing made solid contact with the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal, made a loud bell ringing sound and bounced back towards my head at a high rate of speed. The hammer missed my face and the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped section of metal was still firmly attached to the Smoker. The Herculean Hammering Plan was halted and Plan B, the 5/16†Drilling Project, commenced.
I got the drill, extension cord, my drill bits and the Drill Doctor bit sharpening device and attempted to drill some holes in the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. I had two 5/16†drill bits. Drill bit #1 was a Titanium Tipped, fairly new, beauty recently purchased at the CUMMINGS TOOL SALE held at the local fire company. Cummings Tools are Low End, low cost, throw away and easily broken. I started with the titanium tipped specimen…That drill bit had a hard time penetrating the black powder coating layer of the steel smoker. I sharpened the titanium drill bit and tried again…it burned through the black powder coating and didn’t even dimple the metal.

Drill bit #2 was a Black & Decker bit that I’ve had for years. I sharpened it up and attempted to drill the holes. With some effort I drilled my first hole into the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal.

As I was drilling hole #2 Rose came out to see how I was doing, as she leaned over the back porch railing, watching me drill, a VERY hot sliver of drill tailing found its way under the strap of the sandal ensconcing my naked, left foot. I immediately stopped drilling and proceeded to hop around on 1 foot, cursing profusely. From her perch on high, Rose smiled sweetly at me and said….â€You were right Butch; it sure looks like a piece of cake to me.
Staring up at my loving wife, as the hot sliver of metal continued to burn its way into my foot, I had a mental, crystal clear understanding as to Why I do NOT own a firearm.

I drilled 10 to 12 holes along the upper edge of the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. During the drilling process I removed approximately 11 sharp pieces of metal shavings from the soles of both feet and endured 7 more burning hot slivers attaching themselves on the tops of my feet and forearms.
It was at this point in the assembly process that I determined the following. If I continued to drill another dozen holes along the lower edge of the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal I would probably be hideously scarred for life.
I decided to again institute The Herculean Hammering Plan. I again gave a mighty swing along the upper edge of the newly drilled area of the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. Much to my surprise, the whole section of metal gave way. I whacked the bottom edge of the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal and the entire piece fell away.

After I defeated the Large, Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal, the remainder of the assembly went without a hitch. I am going to do a small smoking session on the fourth to get a feel for the new smoker and then I will be Smoking a boatload of ribs and pork for a family get together slated for Sunday. Hopefully, all will go well, I will enjoy the taste of good BBQ ribs and my house will still be standing.
post #2 of 19
Glad ya joined us! What a dissertation icon_smile.gif very interesting read!
post #3 of 19
welcome!!! do a search for cgsp mods and youll find a ton of good stuff and be obsessed with smoking and moding that thing.. good luck
post #4 of 19

Char Griller

I have the same smoker we got from Lowes (Father's Day present). I think it's great...I have only used it twice, but some experienced friends say it is really good bang for the buck and holds heat well.
post #5 of 19
Welcome Hawki.
post #6 of 19
Welcome Hawki...WOW..3 yr member and never posted.....WHHHHHHY?????? lol...Glad to have you
post #7 of 19
Glad ya came out'a the wood work, good luck with that new unit.

You wouln't happen to be a HAWKEYE, would ya?
post #8 of 19


Great read, I can not wait for your posts with the q-vue..LOL!!
wonderful, welcome!
post #9 of 19
welcome to smf enjoyed the read .I had a similar event happen with my cgp went to knock out that Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal. 1st hole went good but the others well had to swing like the devil and woudnt you know it the very last hole rared back to swing ( I was using a screwdriver shorter than I should have) so I let my finger get between the front flat edge and the Perforated (My ***, Perforated) Football shaped, section of metal, well this last hole would fell out if you breathed on it. so i got a smached finger it was sore for about 3 days I also built mine by myself. but I love my cgp. happy smokin Brian
post #10 of 19
Hey Hawki...you sure you just haven't spent since July '05 WRITING that post? Heh! Welcome to posting at SMF ;{)
post #11 of 19
Welcome Hawki. Thanks for the laugh. I look forward to your future stories.
post #12 of 19
dunno what to say, welcome to the forum i guess. but you already been here for eons !!!! love your intro... i just curious why it took 3 years to make first post??? well dont let it be another three til the next. would love for you to share some qview from that before mentioned chargriller!!!!
post #13 of 19
Thread Starter 
Sorry smoke buzz...
I'm blind in my left eye, (auto accident) got the nick Hawkeye out of it---Hawki for short :)
post #14 of 19
Thread Starter 

Thanks to all for the well wishes

I am like a kid in a candy store...smoking something every weekend. I really like the chargriller....the ECB is now residing in the landfill. As I make mistakes I'll be posting for Help!!! so far sooooo good.
If all of you nice people like my 'true' stories I got a bunch from my exploits fixing my home, camping vacations and the yearly excursion hunting for the "perfect" Christmas Tree with my loving wife Rose. While they are not Q related they might bring a smile and a chuckle.
I am getting ready for my camping/vacation trip And I am smoking a pork butt along with attempting a 1st ever beef brisket. Gonna take the left overs camping.
post #15 of 19
Welcome aboard...............Glad you stopped lurking and started posting...........I will agree the football peice can be a pain to remove, I had to use a chisel and hammer...........
post #16 of 19
Hawki , Loved your post , don't be bashfull , post the good and the bad , and take some qview to share with us too PDT_Armataz_01_18.gif

Love to also hear about some of your exploits as well icon_smile.gif

And for smokeinmyeyes , and anyone else buying a new chargriller PDT_Armataz_01_18.gif Before you start attatching legs and such , cut a 2 X 6 that will just fit inside that barrel. Stand barrel on end and move the 2x6 under each of those "Perforated ,My butt perforated " spot welds and give each of 'em a good whack one at a time with a hammer and screwdriver or chisle. PDT_Armataz_01_18.gif
post #17 of 19
I'm glad you started posting, and hope to hear from you again soon. I too own the fabulous CharGriller Smokin Pro w/ SFB. I don't mean to make you want to scream, but when I purchased and assembled mine, someone at the factory must have decided to pursue the epic adventure of removing the perforated (I never saw it, so it may have been perforated) football shaped section of metal. Even though the instructions eluded to the football shaped metal piece escapade, there was no such device, only a football shaped opening in the unit.
post #18 of 19
Hey Hawki,

I have had my eye on the exact same Char-Griller model. Eventually I will get one. For now I will just live vicariously through you all. Love the Blog about your assembly experience. Keep up the good work.
post #19 of 19
Hawki -- Glad you come out to post! Neat write up.

Are you a real Hawkeye? If so, that is just a shame. biggrin.gif
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