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Chargriller Smokin Pro Newbie ?'s

post #1 of 52
Thread Starter 
Hey guys,

This is my very first post and I saw that there were some other Chargriller Smokin Pro w SFB posts but I didn't want to thread jack, so I am posting my own questions here. I am very new to smoking so please be gentle. I have tried searching for answers but am still confused. Please don't be afraid to be detailed as I really am trying to learn as much as I can!

1. Do I need to use wood to smoke food or can I just use charcoal?

2. If I do need to use wood, do I use both wood and charcoal or just wood? Which is better? Wood logs or wood chips? Also, do I need to soak them in water first?

3. How do I adjust/regulate the temperature on my chargriller? There is a smoke stack and a vent of the side fire box but I am unsure what role they play in regulating temp. I had trouble keeping my temp at 250 for my seasoning stage.

Thanks guys!
post #2 of 52
Use lump charcoal for the heat... then youll need to feed a few chunks of wood every so often to achieve your thin blue smoke. The old soaking chips/chunks is a greatly debated topic around here.. i dont soak for what it is worth. to adjust the temp... youll want to leav the stack wide open and adjust the air intake for temp adjustment... more air the hotter tyou should get it.... if you cant get heat still try adding more lump... also make sure you punched out that little football shaped knock out that was on the smoke chambber between the sfb and chamber.. apparently some folks forget that step...it willl take you a few times to get to know your smoker and how it works... then there a few mods you can do to make it more efficient if you choose later on in the game... good luck hollar if you have any more ???s
post #3 of 52
Welcome, there's no wrong or bad questions, everyone one of us on this site was once a rookie. I figure myself as a advanced rookie, so here's my 2¢

1. You use both charcoal and wood chips, the charcoal is used for the cooking heat and the wood chips deliver the smoke flavor.

2. Normally any bag of wood chips you buy need to be soaked for about 15 minutes, this keeps them from burning to fast and delivering to much smoke at one time.

3. To regulate the heat temp you use the "vent door" on the side of your fire box and the "vent cap" on the chimney. More air into the smoker the higher the temp, less air the lower the temps. It takes some "tuning" to get your temp under control, but slow adjustments over some time will get you in the zone, just give it some time to adjust.

Hope this helps. smile.gif
post #4 of 52
Check this out for mod info... there are a few others with a bit different mods... just do a search if you are interested... hope this helps ya when you get to that point.

post #5 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks for the responses guys, they helped a lot. I have a few more questions now:

1. What is the ideal temperature for smoking? I particularly want to do some ribs and maybe a butt this weekend.

2. How do I know when I need to add more wood? I assume I add more charcoal as the temp fluctuates, but the wood?

3. It was a pain disposing of the ashes last time I grilled. I dumped them into a bucket of water and then tossed it on my lawn. Probably not a good idea. Any better solutions?

4. I have a garage with a garage door and I see some people grill inside their garages (garage door lifted). Am I at risk of carbon monoxide if I do this? What about if I leave the grill to cool over night in the closed garage...will poisonous gas seep into my home? I know you guys may not be doctors and I understand my risks, but I am hoping you guys can provide some insight on this.
post #6 of 52
Welcome to the SMF, glad you joined us. good advice so far, I have nothing more to add. Sign up for Jeff's 5 day course it's free and chuck full of good info. You might want to try Jeff's rub and sauce recipe also it's gooood
post #7 of 52
I generally try to maintain bout 225-250 for most smoking... poultry I am now doing bout 300...For me adding wood is usually about 45 in to hour...and just a few chunks... you want to see a thin transparent blue smoke, not a thick billowy white smoke. I generally add charcoal either when the temp starts to drop noticeably, or I look at my coal basket an see how far it has burned down. build yourself a coal basket like I did in that link, then you can slide out the ash drawer when doing a long smoke with ease... plus the ash will fall through the basket and wont smother your coals.. I just dump em the next day in the garden or garbage can. as for the garage, i woulnt worry bout the co too much. especially when your smoking keep the door open... if your worried bout the cooling off in the garage just crack the door a bit. dont think you will produce enough co to get in the house, but crack your door to be safe. hope this helps
post #8 of 52
also if you smell smoke, your smoking.. you dont have to see it always.
keep in mind that even though we have the same smokers their proformance will vary, youll be smoking confidently in a few tries with the help of everyone on this site.
post #9 of 52
crap .... i forgot to tell ya... that thermo that comes on the smoker is not close to acurate most often.. mine is bout75-100 deg low every time... ad a couple thermos, or use a remote digital.. good luck
post #10 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks alot Fireguy. Super helpful! I will definitely look into building that charcoal basket as it seems very useful. And thank you for the garage advice, it seems sensible.

When you say you add wood 45 in to an hour, do you mean you add wood after you have been on charcoal for an hour? Or every 45 minutes to an hour you add wood? I think I have seen some people say they don't add wood during the first hour of cooking or something like that. Please correct me if I am wrong.
post #11 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks Kratz, I've already done the 5 day course and been lurking the forums for about two weeks. I'm going to try his rub/sauce recipe after I give the ol' pit a good workout this weekend. I appreciate it!
post #12 of 52
I add wood/smoke right off... i replenish the chunks about every 45 min to 1 hour as needed.
post #13 of 52
I'm also a complete noob when it comes to the CGSP but i totally agree with the above.

I *thought* i was struggling to get it up to temp and maintain the 250 when seasoning and 225 on my first smoke last weekend when referring to the lid mounted thermometer. I stuck my accurate meat thermometer through one of the tiny holes to the left hand side of the smoke chamber and discovered that the temp there was reading at about 290 so suspect that the temp at the firebox end may have been 20-30 degrees more but not sure.... hence why my fatty was overdone (well not purely a temp issue also a monitoring issue on my part)

Have a look at the mod thread posted above which you will learn a lot from, i have just ordered 3 calibratable thermometers for mine and a remote electornic one.

There is sooo much great info on here and everyone is amazingly helpful and friendly :)

I also recommend the 5 day course wholeheartedly, it answered a lot of noob questions for me and really helped :)

Enjoy the CGSP :)

post #14 of 52
Thread Starter 
Can anyone recommend a good meat thermometer that I can order? I'd hate to burn up my first smoke :)

Thanks for the info JonD. I keep hearing about these fatties and I am dying to try one (or should I say trying to die from one, LOL).
post #15 of 52
hey noob ...... check this thread out for therm info.

A lot of people on here really like the Maverick ET73. I have a Mav ET71 (single probe)had it forthree years now, works great, changed batteries maybe twice. Lowes, Home Depot and Walmart all sell other brands and models. All depends on your budget.
post #16 of 52
Thread Starter 
Thanks Teeotee!
post #17 of 52
Yeah I did a few mods to mine.
- Flip the charcoal pan to create a baffle to distribute the heat (the pan should be over the hole to the side firebox)
- add a length of aluminum dryer vent to the inside of the smokestack(the thick 8 dollar stuff from lowes not the 3 dollar stuff from walmart); extend it down the inside of the lid and to level with the grate. *This helps with the flow of the smoke and heat. If you dont have this in place the heat rises up and goes across the lid to the stack and out.
- get a good charcoal basket - im not really a fab kinda guy, (although some folks have made some nice baskets with expanded metal) - I use this:
*just remove the handle and rig it to hang from the screws or rails along the inside of the side firebox.

I use royal oak natural hardwood lump charcoal and kingsford sometimes, nothing else! Use unsoaked wood chunks for the smoke, get them started in a charcoal chimney (with each batch of coal I throw about 3 or 4 chunks on top). Blackened chunks of wood produce the best TBS; I'll use chips when in a pinch, but only in foil wrapping and along the sides of the basket, (they burn too fast for good smoke in my opinion). Soaking the wood will affect your temps (which I try to keep between 210 and 250).

Use a decent digital thermometer. I use one to monitor the cooker temperature (stick the probe thru a hunk of potato) - I use a heavy internal thermo on the meat during last stage of cooking to get the temp. Whatever works for you, but the digital remote thermos save alot of time otherwise spent standing next to the cooker! Walmart sells one for about 15 bucks - good enough to get started, or if ya got the cash go with the mav...

Other than that, I'd say practice practice practice. there is no such thing as a bad smoke, as long as it is edible icon_smile.gif - also check out Jeff's 5 day email course, and hit the forums hard! There is alot of good people with much knowledge to share!

Have fun!
post #18 of 52
Welcome to S.M.F. ! See all the great advise allready ? Not to step on any toes , but for my 2 cents I would advise NOT to use the chimeney cap to regulate heat.This will cause ' stale ' smoke to collect in the smoke chamber, which will result a build-up of creosite, a bitter black yuky-ness . Think of your smoker like a hot rod. Stuff a potato in the exsaust pipe and it dont run to good !Your chimeney is your exsaust and your vent is your throttle.Keep that exsaust wide open at all times ! Have fun !
post #19 of 52
For smoking with of wood chips I enlisted the use of a new 1 quart paint can from my local hardware store. It works well in keeping my chips from burning too fast. I poked four holes in the top and added the chips, set it on or near the coals and bingo, thin blue smoke. If the chips still seem to burn too fast for ya drop a little water in with the chips before closing the lid.
post #20 of 52
Thread Starter 
This is great information!

I have another question:

After I grilled last time, I just left all the food on the grates. Is this what everyone usually does or do you clean it off? If so, what is a good method?

Is a wire brush safe to use on cast iron?
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