anyone with any experience with a char griller model #9020 pellet smoker

Discussion in 'Pellet Smokers' started by darock159, Apr 10, 2013.

  1. I purchased one of these last weekend!  I wanted to upgrade my Masterbuilt 30" smoker but I couldn't justify dropping $850 on a Traeger.  I stumbled upon this Char Griller by accident and was shocked to see how close in design it is to the Traeger Lil Tex Elite.  I assembled it in around 30 minutes, seasoned it and was smoked 2 racks of baby backs on it that night.  They were AMAZING!  I did do a two hour test run to figure out the temperature fluctuation and also how much smoke to add.  Yes, there is a 0-7 smoke setting that allows zero smoke to a lot of smoke but adding more smoke does make the internal temp of the chamber drop 15-20 degrees but it recovers quickly.  After one smoke I was THRILLED with the results!  I got a very nice pink smoke ring on the ribs and the smoke flavor was spot on.  If you're like me and want a solid pellet smoker without schilling out a lot of dough, this is a PERFECT smoker! 

  2. alanb2310

    alanb2310 Newbie

    i have this same smoker. how do I get the thing to smoke a lot?
  3. kerbos5

    kerbos5 Fire Starter

    Alan check this thread there are a few guys in that thread including me that are trying to provide as much info as we can on this smoker since its so new, please add your exp...good/bad so others wont make the same mistakes we make, better yet solutions to minor problems to help others. :) 
  4. shocker

    shocker Newbie

    Had mine only for a few weeks but going well.  Several little errors in the assembly manual but easy enough to figure out - can't put a 1/4-20 bolt in an 1/8" hole.  The one thing to check out is the lid.  On mine, at the top hinges, the gap was about 1/2" or more, but at the bottom of the lid everything fit fine.  I took the lid off, inserted a bolt the diameter of the hole in the hinge (cover the hinge with a cloth to protect the paint) and used a pair of pillars to slightly bend the hinge forward.  Takes some effort with the thickness of material but can be done.  When put back on it fits fine all the way around.  Still plan to add a small insulation strip around the lid just to keep the heat inside.

    Smoke is good - did ribs with the usual rub and the flavor was great and the ribs were fall off the bone.  One area to be careful with - don't tell your wife this is a set-it and forget it product.  Now mine expects me to do chores around the house instead of drinking beer and watching the charcoal smoker.

    Have fun 
  5. Sure,  I got one at the local Lowe's last week. Asked the manager for a discount and got 20% off the list of $499. Another 10% at check-out for being a Veteran so the final tally was $288 + tax. On top of that they put it together and delivered in 2 days!  Jeff Pile says: "I stumbled upon this Char Griller by accident and was shocked to see how close in design it is to the Traeger Lil Tex Elite."  Actually the only difference I can find Jeff is that the 9020 is the mirror image of the Lil' Tex.  Had the same control as Traeger uses.

    Went to the Char-Griller web page to register and could not find the model listed. Called the folks down in Georgia and was told the web page is being updated and just to keep the original receipt that they were no longer going to use web registration.  Oh well, I used my Amex to purchase (Amex extends all warranties one year after manufacturer's by the way) so not concerned so much about the registration.

    Followed the directions in the manual for initial fire and unlike the Traeger manual, this one had a clear explanation on how the "P" control works with a graph to show speeds of the auger.  3 hours later I was into my first 3 2 1  ribs. Six hours later was enjoying my first home made smoked ribs with complements for the XYL (ham radio talk for wife).

    I found the multitude of YouTube presentations on how to prepare the ribs, techniques to keep the moist, and cooking resulted in success on my very first attempt at real wood smoke cooking. So much so that the pork shoulder (butt) will go on later tonight to enjoy with the opening day of this year's NFL season.

    As served.


    Tom, N4NW
  6. shocker

    shocker Newbie

    Had mine for 3 months now and done 2 briskets, 3 port shoulders and countless ribs.  Learning more about the P settings to get more smoke flavor early on and experimenting with flavors of the pellets - like hickory and apple wood the best.

    Suggest you check the fit of the lid.  I had to do some slight bending on mine for a better fit but is great now.  Also I find that cleaning the ash out after a long cook is better than letting it sit in there for 2 or 3 cooks, but that's just what I do.  All going great with mine.
  7. bill conn

    bill conn Newbie

    I bought the Model 9020 CharGriller pellet grill from Lowe's via the internet; Lowe's did not stock any pellet grills at the local store. It was delivered to my house assembled by the local Lowe's store. I followed all of the Grill Preparation instructions in the manual to the letter. I then used the grill following the Grill Operation instructions one time to cook some hamburgers. It worked beautifully that one time. The next day I had around 18 guests come to my house for a meal and the unit would not ignite rendering it totally useless, I found out that the "fire rod", the part that ignites the pellets, was not even warming up. The next day, a Monday morning, I located the CahrGriller company email address and explained my dilemma. The following Friday I received a replacement "fire rod" but am stuck now figuring how to remove the old fire rod with the new one. I located the Digital Control Wiring Diagram and assume that I unplug the old fire rod from the Digital Control panel and replace it with the new one but am unsure whether or not the "Fire Pot" needs to be removed in order to access the fire rod. More to come.

    There are instructions in the manual, Troubleshooting "Manual Lighting Instructions" section, how to manually ignite the pellets with squirtable "Alcohol Gel" but could not locate any at our local stores. 

    Our local Lowe's store was totally supportive in returning the grill for a full refund if I so desired. I may exercise that option if I am unable to replace the fire rod myself or, after the repair I continue to have issues with the grill.
  8. bregent

    bregent Smoking Fanatic

    >how to manually ignite the pellets with squirtable "Alcohol Gel" but could not locate any at our local stores. 

    You can also manually light the firepot with a torch. 
  9. westby

    westby Smoking Fanatic

    First - you should be able to have them send you the directions for the ignitor rod change-out.  It isn't that complicated, but directions certainly help.  Rec Tec has a youtube video out there - not sure if Chargriller does.

    Second - if you want to manually light - use Purell hand sanitizer.  Prime the firepot with a handful of pellets, pump a few squirts of Purell on your pellets, let them get burning just a bit and then turn on your grill.  Should start up just fine.
  10. Hey Im also looking at those 9020s do u know what the hopper holds is it a full 20 lp bag?
    Last edited: Apr 17, 2016
  11. david slater

    david slater Newbie

    Can anybody help me with the P settings with the 9020? Did my first smoke with it yesterday. Wasn't sure I was smoking or grilling. Actually everything turned out ok.
    Thanks in advance for your time and help.
  12. david slater

    david slater Newbie

    Could you help me with the P settings you have experienced. Did some ribs for the first time with this new unit. Did not know weather to call it a smoker or griller? During the process wasn't sure I was smoking or grilling. I bought this to be one hundred percent smoker. Seems its all in the P settings. Your experience would be so helpful.
    Thanks in advance for your time.
    [email protected]
  13. g- fisherman

    g- fisherman Newbie

    Hello I just purchased a 9020 few weeks ago as an upgrade from a masterbuilt. Still getting used to it but I do like it a lot so far .As far as I can understand the P settings are only used for the smoke setting so higher P setting = more smoke and lower temp or lower P setting = less smoke but higher temp. the other settings are a set temp target that it will try to stay at.Also I had a problem with my lid not closing properly so my temp settings were 10 deg lower then the actual dial but I called service and they are sending me out a replacement in 1 to 3 days so I can live with that great customer service.

    hope this helps

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