Char-Broil Digital Electric Smoker Running Hot

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Nov 30, 2016
Got My New Gift out of the box all looks good. Seasoned it properly and now it's ready to go!

Then the fun started doing a pork loin have the smoker set at 225° to hit an IT of 145°

1 hr into it the meat is at 110° so I break the #1 rule and open the door to see that my oven thermometer is at 325°

so i kicked the smoker down to 100° now the cabin temp drop to around 225°-250° with the door cracked open.

So I called Char-Broil and they are sending me new parts.

All in all the meat turn out great (my wife not big on smoked flavor said you can make this again) so that's a good sign

so we will see what round two bring with the new parts 
Parts have not shown up yet so i exchanged the unit and the new one is doing the same thing running hot about 75°+
Electric smokers can be somewhat quirky but overall are very convenient and produce good tasting food.   Are the controls simply analog with a digital read out or is it a PID? If PID you should be able to calibrate it (Charbroil will let you know if it can be calibrated). As for your oven thermometer, it needs to be on the same plane are the built in temp probe.   And it needs to be accurate so test it with boiling water (212 degrees) and ice water (32 degrees).  If your controller is analog, it will shoot past your set temp by many degrees, cycle off, and when it drops well below below your set temp, will cycle back on, achieving a fairly consistent average of what your set temp is.  A PID controller does the same cycling on/off but temp swings are so low one may only see a degree or two difference. Your oven, air conditioner, furnace do the same on/off cycling.

Good luck and happy new year. 
Controls are digital LED display reads: set cook temp, time set or IT probe set.

The oven thermometer is on the same shelf as the built in probe. it did test in the home oven at all different setting and it was right on with the oven setting

I also have an external thermometer that i testes aswell and the is reading the same hotness on a different shelf

I understand the cycle on/off +/-10° (per charbroils specs) but im not even close

With all that you have done, it doesn't look good for the smoker.  If it were me, after having run two smokers, I would be looking at a different brand of electric smoker. Maybe when the parts arrive, you can get this one to perform to spec. Not sure I would spend the time on it though.
I had a Cajun injection smoker it was the other way I set it to 225 it was 160 and there customer support is horrible never helped me one bit
I have the Char-Broil 725 Digital Electric Smoker and have never had that problem, mine has always run true to temp.
Unit has been taken back to the store. (Heat is heat in my book no matter what thermometer is used)

Looking at a Smoke Hollow now...

Thank you for contacting Char-Broil. 

I am terribly sorry that you are having difficulties with the smoker.  I have had my production engineering team look at the video you have uploaded and they have asked me to share their findings with you.

"He is getting readings of 242 on the digital, 250 on the analog, and 221 on the probe. Any external thermometer will always read hotter in this unit, especially if there is no meat in the smoker. The thermocoupling in our DES reads the overall chamber temperature as an average and accommodates for the heat that the meat will absorb. If there is no meat in the smoker, the stainless steel walls will continue to reflect the heat and it will read much hotter than the set temp. We recommend that he actually cooks in the smoker and let it work as intended. We also do not recommend using external thermometers as they do not accommodate for the average temp and are not calibrated to work with this unit.

Based upon their findings, the smoker is working appropriately.  Please perform a full cook with the smoker and let us know of your results
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My 2 cents:  If the smoker has a digital control there is a circuit board outfitted with chips, and one of them will have an algorithm that monitors and adjusts the temp to achieve an average.  Not the actual temp but an average.  I believe that our home oven is set that way as well, which is why it cycles on and off.  The actual temp is an over shoot of the set, and it cycles off; and at a predetermined low temp, it cycles back on, thus achieving the set temp as displayed on the control panel.  I think that is what CharBroil was trying to explain. Any other type thermometer is going read actual temp at the point it is located. When I tested my Cookshack I found variance.  When I installed a dummy load ( 10 lbs of bricks) temps were more in line between the on board sensor and the remote. Not perfect but very close.  Never had a bad meal. The same for my Smokin-it. Both the Cookshack and the Smokin-it cycle every couple of seconds because they are PID controlled (telephonically Cookshack says their units are PID but their site does not state this).  Analog units with or without a digital display will have greater temperature swings and cycle less frequently due to the time lag.  

Good luck with the Smoke Hollow. Maybe it will be tighter, maybe not. 
I noticed that the outside temp makes a big difference. I did some jerky with mine when it was 40 degrees out and the it temp was a lot higher than it was set for. It's isolated but the side walls are still colder were the censors are.
I have the deluxe wifi version (a gift) and sorry to say I am not impressed at all. The thing constantly runs way too high. I can understand if they maintain an average temp, but running constantly 100 - 150 degrees over 225 is not averaging to 225!! Food keeps coming out dismal at best. The only way I could compensate was to leave the door open every so often to keep the temp down that actually worked not too badly and had some at least passable results. 

The thing has two ways to sent the temp. One is via 3 presets...  the other via the app. I have only tried setting it via the app (as there are more temp choices) and the only way I could achieve close to 225 was to set the temp at 130. Yes, I am checking with a secondary thermometer. a Maverick with two probes. One for close to where the meat is, the other in the meat along with the Charbroil probe. Seems Charbroil doesn't think that is proper to use one, but I feel an average temp should be on both sides of the desired temp, not constantly building till it hits 375+. 

Could you imagine if your home thermostat did that? lol 

I too have parts coming, so hopefully that addresses the issue. Otherwise I will be getting something else soon. I do so want to enjoy some good smoked food!!

Also..  I had a similar statement from Charbroil from their engineers that testing with no food will not give you expected results. If that is the case.. does that mean you can only do huge shoulders? What if you only had a few burgers or a few pork loins? I don't see how a small amount of meat could compensate for something that is way too flippin hot. Regardless, it runs too hot even with food in it.. and what I found funny was it runs the same amount over, with OR without food in the cooker.  I feel the thermostat is just flat out junk. 

My buddy has one similar to the OP and his seems to behave as he also uses a secondary thermometer to check cabinet temps and internal temps, so here is me hoping the new parts will fix this thing or it might be out on the street with me running to get a Big Green Egg. lol
"Also..  I had a similar statement from Charbroil from their engineers that testing with no food will not give you expected results."

The requirement for having food in the smoker is that it acts like a heat sink, soaking up a lot of the produced heat and helping to balance everything out. I know a few folks over at Smokin-it had concerns early on  with what their smokers were producing heat wise when empty,  but when testing with a pan of wet sand simulating a piece of meat, temperatures were much more stable. And from that point on they just ceased to worry and got on with the business of smoking and eating.  Electric smokers will typically overshoot the set temp when initially getting started.  If you have a digital control, it may be programmed to ignore that initial overshoot otherwise it would cycle off. Your remote thermometer would not have such a program being more of an instant read type and therefore take a reading of all the heat being produced by the element. 
Thanks.. and I understand what you mean... however..

What I found was regardless if I have food in the thing or not, it is consistently 100 - 150 degrees over whatever the set temp is. I don't think I could fit a large enough heat sink in the cabinet to compensate for that unless maybe it was a block of ice. 

The smoker with food, is flat out way too hot. The only way to currently achieve the proper cooking temp is to set it at 125 or so... or leave the door cracked open a bit. Only then do I get better results. :/

Hopefully my new parts fix the issue. ;) 
I hope the parts work out for you. If not, there are other electric smokers available with a great track record, although they cost more than what is available through Amazon and the big box stores.  Good luck!
Appreciate that!!  ...just been a struggle. It was a gift and I really want it to work, but if I had to buy one I think I would rather have a Big Green Egg or other type of pellet smoker. is reader supported and as an Amazon Associate, we may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.