Sealing a Char Griller Smoking pro

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by fpmich, Jul 20, 2013.

  1. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Need help with my new char griller and have few questions about some mods.

    I hope I post this in the right forum.  If not, please move this thread to the right forum, but don't slap me until I learn my way around :)

    I love this site!  Over the past year, I have been researching the Char Griller, and smoking in general.  It seemed that I ended up right here for info, more often than not with Google search.  So kudu's to those running the site, as well as to great members with so much knowledge to share.  Thanks.

    Char Griller has changed some things since I first started looking at them last year, and even earlier this year.

    One took me by surprise after I opened the box, spread stuff on the floor, and pondered how I was to assemble it.
    Hey!  They didn't pack my warming shelf!  Well apparently, they just recently made that an "optional feature" for 20 bucks extra.

    Not a big problem for me, as I doubt I would use it too much anyway.  Besides, without it I can extend the stack straight down with a tube.

    And the other BIG CHANGE is... that you don't have to knock out the football openings any more!

    They're already cut out for you!  Woo Hoo!  That was my biggest fear.  I've read so many posts on various sites about problems with removing them, and was afraid I may trash my smoker before I even got it together.

    OK.  I'm a new guy here, and new to sfb smoking.   Now lets toss out a few newbie questions.

    I see how alelover made a channel to lay his rope in to seal lid. http://www.smokingmeatforums.com/t/111490/chargriller-seal-modification

    1. Could I do it with just one upside down L angle stock (just the bottom angle stock in his pics).
    Then lay an adhesive bead & stove rope (round or flat).  The lid should sit & seal itself on the rope wouldn't it?.

    2. Any reason not to use aluminum with rivets or screws, as opposed to steel & bolts for this?  Conflict with metals? Steel rusts.

    I will be using my Char Griller Smokin Pro, for both smoking & direct grilling.

    3. Temperature question:  Will direct grilling exceed the temperature limits on the Permetex high heat sealants like the Red (500*F) or Copper (700*F) and cause either of them to fail?

    4. I know that most of you use the Permetex Red.  Any reason not to use the higher heat rated Copper?  Is there a problem I don't recognize?

    5. Any reason not to have smoke stack extended down to great for direct grilling?  Probably a silly question.  I can see no reason for it to interfere.

    Thanks in advance for your help.   Don't get too technical on me tho'.  I'm a simple guy.

    KISS principle apply's to me.  Keep It Stupid Simple!
     
    Last edited: Jul 24, 2013
  2. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Still need advice... Come on guys and gals.  Help me out.  [​IMG]

    No replies in  4 days from 52,000 plus members. 

    Maybe I should not have posted question at beginning of weekend.  Everyone out smoking?  lol

    sry to bump my own threat, but I can use some help.

    Thanks in advance,  to any who reply.
     
    Last edited: Jul 29, 2013
  3. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Invisible Clear Coat on threads...  is a sure fired way to guarantee they will remain  totally protected.

    And I must have used it, when I posted this thread. 

    I would really like to get this smoker up and running, but want to do it right, with your help.  I joined this site because of the wealth of info, but sometimes search just doesn't get the answers we need.  So I posted, thinking I would get some replies.  9 days, over 80 views, almost 53,000 members and still no replies? Sheesh!  I'm not asking for the moon or money!

    This is my last bump of this thread. 
     
  4. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Never mind.  11 days and no responses. Sad. [​IMG]

    I still like this site, but just not for quick responses to questions.

    I got answers to all my questions. on another site pretty quickly, so you can close this thread if you want.

    Not bad mouthing site, just the lack of semi-quick responses.
     
  5. I tried to post this earlier, and igt never showed up. I am about to put the L bracket aand rope seal on my snp. I too am going to use aluminum. I see no problem with it. I am also going ro use copper rtv sealer, I have not seen any posts saying not to.
     
  6. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Thanks for the reply GONE4NC!

    Hey! I too was a driver.  Retired now for about 4 years, and still miss the road and the long hauls.  Stay safe!

    According to info I've read here and there, the Red Ultra is food safe, but the Copper Ultra is NSF.  I don't see that it really makes a difference as your food shouldn't touch it anyway.  I'm gonna have to go with the Red Ultra because I can't find anyplace near me that has the copper one. What store did you find the copper at?  I would rather have copper (700*) between the sfb and the barrel at least.

    Aluminum and steel/iron don't really mix, but not to extreme measures.  I am going to use aluminum angle, but use steel bolts to attach it.  That way if any corrosion occurs, it will be on the bolts instead of the barrel. (I hope)  I also plan on just bolting the angle on in an inverted L shape.  Seems to me like that would make it easier to drain/ dry when caught with rain, instead of a channel which would hold water in more & longer.
     
    Last edited: Aug 1, 2013
  7. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    1. Should be ok as long as the stove rope does not move.

    2. Use steel and store the CG inside out of the weather to prevent rust. KISS Rule.

    3 and 4. If you are going to sear at very high temperature, 600°+, get the highest rated silicone you can. I recommend 1000° rated.

    5. This is not necessary IMHO, but if you extend the stack down it should end at least 4" above the cooking surface for proper draw.
     
  8. I haven't picked up the copper rtv yet, but Pep Boys had it last I checked. If it's not food safe I thick I'll stick with the 500. This project might start this weekend.thanks.
     
     
  9. noxcuse

    noxcuse Newbie

    May I offer what I did on my trailer smoker? If you don't have much of a gap, I would do this. I bought a caulking tube of black fireplace sealant from my local hardware store. You can also get red, but I used black to match the lid. Put Saran Wrap on the bottom mating surface, and with a caulking gun, apply the silicone to the lid. Once you finish, shut the lid so the silicone flattens out on the Saran Wrap. After about 24 hours, open it and remove the Saran Wrap. It just peels right off. Now you have a perfectly formed sealing surface. I took a razor blade and trimmed the outside for looks. Also, I've ran my smoker up to 500° to clean it and never had to worry about that silicone.

    -----
    Sent from my Droid Razr Maxx
     
  10. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    I would love to get 1000* rated silicone, but as much trouble as I had finding any over 500* rating, I'll have to pass.

    I did finally find some of the Ultra Copper today at Auto Zone.  Wal-Mart, Meijer, Home Depot nor Lowes had any at all.

    The reasons I'm going with aluminum is 1) it's easier to work with and 2) it doesn't rust. 

    I'm planning on just doing a thin bead of sealer then laying the rope on and adding a few pop rivets or screws to hold it well.  If, after I get it together and the gaps aren't too big, I'll probably do just the sealer thing was mentioned, but if gaps are big, then I will go with the rope.  I'd like to use angle iron to help strengthen the barrel and store inside when not is use too.  But seeing as I am putting this thing together in the living room, tells you I don't have inside area for outside things.  My wife is so thrilled to have these parts lying around for 2 week now.

    That's the main reason I was getting antsy about no immediate replies. [​IMG]  I feel much better now tho.

    Chimney height.  Most say at grill level for smoking, some say, a little above.  I'm planning on just using flashing rolled up and stuck into chimney,  Then I can raise or lower if need be.  Of course if I decide to add the warming rack, then I will have to go the flexible route and make a decision.  Low or med low.  Jury is still out.  Why do you recommend 4" over grill level?

    As for searing at very high temps.  I don't build the coals up to meat the meat.  I take the meat to the coals.  I have a piece of enamel grate I use and just lay it right on top of the hot coals, let it get hot & sear the steaks or whatever that way, then put them back up top where the heat is lower.  In fact when using a very hot bed of coals from a camp fire, I will lay steaks directly on the glowing embers to cook.  The char will brush right off and you are left with the best tasting steak you'll ever have. 

    Years ago my wife gasped [​IMG]  the 1st time she watched me do that to 2 porterhouse steaks.  After eating, she's a believer.

    And yes, they were med rare to rare.  Any other way to enjoy a steak? :)

    Thank you all for your replies and input!   I appreciate the help and guidance.

    NoXcuse: I saw pic of your trailer build.  Nice job there!  I would like to see your fire box for it.  I doesn't show in the pics I saw.
     
    Last edited: Aug 2, 2013
  11. noxcuse

    noxcuse Newbie

    Thanks man. If I remember tomorrow, I'll go take a pic of it. It's just a basic rectangle with a rectangle door. I plan on making this one into a patio smoker and making a reverse flow trailer smoker out of a propane tank.

    -----
    Sent from my Droid Razr Maxx
     
  12. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    double posted.  sry.  can't seem to delete it
     
    Last edited: Sep 9, 2013
  13. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Well, if I'm anything with a project, ... it's S-L-O-W-!  Just ask my wife. [​IMG]

    I finally fired up my char-griller last night for it's 1st seasoning.

    I ended up making a "channel" as alelover did, but I just used 1/2" angle aluminum and riveting around the bottom half of barrel.  If I decide to replace anything it will be steel angle for the sides, so that it helps straighten them.  Used 1/2" stove rope, should've used a larger size, as I still have some minor leaks, but not bad.  I ran a small bead of sealant across the back of bottom barrel and added 1/2 rope to it and closed lid to cure.   I was worried that the 1/2" rope would be too much for the back seal, but now I wish I had used larger there too.  Not too leaky, but some.  I had a larger gap than I thought, but think I can remedy that with just a bead of red sealer on top of rope.  A little smoke leeks from the hinges, but not as much as expected.  I ran a small bead of red sealer along the top of the bottom barrel there.  Didn't want rope as it would just keep fraying from the ups and downs.

    Used the copper 700* sealant between sfb and chamber, and then chickened out and used only  the food safe  600* red sealant around the food chamber.  I sealed inside of chimney mount with red sealer, and copper on outside of it.  Doesn't leak a bit there!  The sfb leeks very slightly, and I don't think I will bother sealing it.  Seems to be a good fit.  I haven't made a basket yet, so right now I'm using it as is right out of the box.  A basket will be in my near future though.  Ash was awfully thick, and no way to dump it without dumping live coals too..  (Kingsford)

    I made a temporary inside chimney extension  (wouldn't fit over flange, so just cut a slit).  Didn't mount it permanently at all yet. I have some ideas on how to make it removable for grilling without tools.  ( still thinking on that).  And I sweet talked (read...fooled)  Meijer's into giving me a free warming rack.

    I was a little confused about where to put hot coals for seasoning.  SFB or Main chamber.  So I started with main chamber.  Started a chimney starter full, & place a few more unlit coals scattered on grate.   When chimney coals were fully going, I spread them out over the unlit ones into what I thought would be a moderate fire source.  Closed lid and very soon temps went to 500* and then to 560*.

    Couldn't get temps to drop, even after closing intake on sfb, So I  scooped all the hot coals back into the chimney after a hour of trying.  Emptied & flipped grate over for baffle, added the leftover hot coals to sfb & tried again.  Temps were lower between 250* & 260*.  My two side thermometers read a 30* diff.   So I just put on my Temporary Inside Chimney Extension.  Didn't fasten or seal it, just loosely stuck it on.  Temps went to 5*-10* from side to side.   Left it this way for awhile, and watched my Maverick inside the house.  Temps held fast at 260* down to 245* with both vents WIDE OPEN.   Went out a lot, to check the grate thermometers, and they were usually 10* to 5*, different.  These temps held for about 2 hours before dropping a bit, without me messing with fire at all.  It was all just charcoal for tonight, except for a few small dead Maple Branch pieces tossed at beginning to check for smoke leaks.  I'm really very happy with my small leaks on this unit!

    I used River Country 3" Glow Dial w/ 2 1/2 stem Therms for side to side, 2" above grate and about 3 1/2" from ends.  Put my maverick right in the center between them, and also about 2 1/2" from lip, and never way my Maverick off from more that 5* from either side therm.

    Goning to do another burn today to season some more, and play with temp control when I add wood to coals and etc.

    Can't Wait until I smoke something!  But, again.... I'm S-LO-W-!  So don't expect photo's too soon.

    QUESTIONS:

    1.  Did I do good,  get lucky, or neither

    2.  Is getting the Warmer Plate for sfb worth it?

    -----Seems like a handy thing to have or either keep food warm or for pre-warming wood before adding to firebox, as well having another flat space when using as grill.  Never too many flat surfaces!  LOL

    Thank you for your input.

    I want honest experienced opinions,... rather just what I "want" to hear.

    If I've done something wrong, or something that could be made better, Just tell me.  I can deal with it :)

    Thank you all so much!  This site has given me so much info already!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  14. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Is there a way to delete posts?

    I accidentally double posted, but can't fiqure out how to delete.

    SRY
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  15. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    Any input to my education here is appreciated!

    Next day, I wanted to see how low temps worked in it for smoking fish & jerky.

    Lit 6-7  Kingsford briquettes with barrel ash tray upside down, but added a tinfoil baffle to direct all the smoke & heat under the upside down ash pan..  Got about 95* with a difference of  15* side to side.  Hour later I added 8 more lit coals, and temps went to 125*, with a difference of 20*, side to side.  1/2 hour later, I added another 12more lit coals, and temp went to 150* with a diff of 25* side to side.

    Removed the foil baffle between sfb and pan, and temps evened out at to 5*-15* per side.

    Also experimented with top chimney extension above the smoker.  Used leftover duct and slid it onto chimney making it about 2' tall.  Temps on left (chimney side) rose about 20* to 25* higher than sfb side.  When I removed it, it leveled OK again.  So I guess I can use that trick to heat up that side from time to time, instead of opening lid and moving meats around so much.

    Again... Any input is appreciated!  I'm here to learn.
     
    Last edited: Sep 10, 2013
  16. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    1st cook on new CGSP.   (Ribs, of course)  Was surprised at temp variations from side to side and in the middle, with my maverick.  Did two racks of spare ribs, which I bought whole, and trimmed down to KC style with riblets cut off, but still cooked up.

    My nice even across temps that I got from my 1st two burns went to h*ll in hand basket!   lol

    My Maverick in the middle, read about 15* to 25* higher than either of my side therms.  And temp diff on each side varied from 15* to 25*  Turned sfb into 8-10 mph breeze, got too hot, turned it back around.  Better but my temps were still not holding right.  Placed my maverick right next to each side therm, and it still showed hotter than they did.  I had calibrated both the side therm's, and maverick, with boiling water before installing.

    My side thermometers are located about 2 1/2" up from grate, and 3 1/2" from ends, or sides.  However the maverick was only about 1/2" above grate using the clip that came with it.  But I don't see how that could effect the temps that much, as all the heat was coming from the sfb.  The temps were always hotter at the stack end.  I can really use some input and help on this crazy problem.

    Anyway... I used the 3-2-1 Method on ribs.  Left one slab & a couple of small pieces, not wrapped, for a test.  We only did a taste test of a small riblet and the pieces of meat from both ends tonight.  They were not foiled at all but tasted great and were fairly tender.  The thin pieces were little over cooked, but I expected that.  Tomorrow we eat them ( A late start on smoking).

    And end piece (2 or 3 bones) fell off from the non-foiled slab when I turned it, so I am guessing I probably won't bother with foil again for ribs.  But...tomorrow will tell, when we try them.

    I used no water pans.  I used about 2 lb of Kingsford blue, and about 4 lb of RO hickory lump, along with (a very few pieces of dry hickory & maple wood). Just enough to keep the tbs flowing.  Haven't made a basket yet.  Just used the ash clogging thing it came with.

    Questions:

    1. Am I doing OK on the charcoal usage?   6 lb or more of charcoal, for 6 hour cook @ 225*.

    2. What is the deal with the temps being so weird with just 2 slabs of ribs.  That's got me confused.

    Any input and suggestions are appreciated!

    Thanks

    Frank
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  17. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    1st real taste test of first cook.   Re-heated ribs last night for dinner.  Pieces included both foiled, and non-foiled, as well as with and without any sauce for last hour.  The foiled ones were a tad bit more tender than I like, but still not as mushy as you get in restaurants., but the un-foiled were perfect for me.  Bone still came out clean, but meat had a little more texture & would hold on to bone just a tad while you ate it, which I prefer.  Wife didn't care which were which,  She just scarfed all of them down!
     
    Last edited: Sep 18, 2013
  18. I used the red permatex on all the screws inside my charbroil smoker and now when i smoke, the smell of chemicals is so bad, people across the street say they smell chemicals. Should I have not used that much? i only used it because i saw so many people saying its good. I have a good seal but again, meat smells like chems, inside grill smells like serious chems. I hate to have to get something to remove all of it. So I'm wondering what's the best to seal the grill without having this?
     
  19. fpmich

    fpmich Smoking Fanatic

    My guess is that you over did it with the sealer Dave.  No need to seal "all" the bolts, as the bolts and nuts do that anyway.  The only place I have sealer on the inside is just to plug the 4 holes for the rotisserie that I don't use, and when I get some bolts, I'll remove those plugs and just bolt and nut the holes.  Other than that, all my sealer is on the outside for gasket adhesive and chimney seal. As far as removing the sealer, it shouldn't too bad as it is a silicone.  Just peel off and maybe a little scraping on bits and pieces.

    As for the smell, was that the first time you fired it up,  or did it continue to smell on 2nd and 3rd time too?  I never noticed any smell from mine and I had cooking chamber to 560* the 1st time.  But my sealant had also cured a few days before the 1st burn too.
     
    Last edited: Sep 17, 2013
  20. jarjarchef

    jarjarchef Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I am sorry that you have gotten little or no responses for this thread. Usually a thread like this you get a ton.

    I saw you are also getting help from another site as well as asking here. Where are you with needing questions answered? I will be happy to go back to the beginning if needed, but if you have moved on I don't want cause any confussion.

    Jeramy
     

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