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Char-Broil Silver Smoker

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by oddball, Apr 23, 2008.

  1. oddball

    oddball Smoke Blower

    Finally purchased myself a smoker and ended up with this model. For those that have this smoker or may be thinking of purchasing one, I'll post my thoughts.

    Unit was decently packaged with everything stuffed into the main pit and packed into the box. After we (my son helped with the assembly) unpacked all of the parts, we opened the instructions and got started. The instructions were surprising accurate and thorough which was quite surprising considering the instructions you get with most products nowadays. My first gripe is with the legs. They are manufactured to be universal, meaning they can be used on the left or right. Which may save a little frustration as you can't put them on backwards, but it also means they are extra unused holes. For a piece of hardware that spends it's life outdoors, I want as few holes as possible. Next is the axle for the wheels. It is about 2" too long. So not only can the axle flop around in the holes which are too big in the legs, it will also slide from side to side. I simply placed washers on both sides of the wheels and cut 3/4" spaces from some scrap 1/2" copper pipe and placed them between the wheels and the legs. There is also a hole in the top of the pit where the temp gauge would go, however, a temp gauge is optional so they include a shiny chrome plug. Aside from having a shiny chrome cap on a black pit, I didn't really care. I installed two seperate gauges at grill level on either end of the pit. Finally, there is the big product information sticker on the pit door. Why there is a sticker even on the door, which you can't read until you open the box, is beyond me. Most of it peeled off easily, note I said most. However, as I found out later, after the seasoning process, any left over pieces practically fall off, so don't waste time here trying to get it off.

    I extended the smoke stack on mine down to grill level. Which on this unit wastes valuable grill space, but I thought bringing the smoke/heat level down closer to the grill was more important. Also, the grills are right above the heat inlet, so there isn't any room to easily install tuning plates. I placed a piece of sheet metal on the left hand side above the heat inlet for testing. But the grill is literally sitting on top of it. I'll need to go back and revisit this setup and see what I can come up with. I was seeing about a 30 degree difference from side to side. The main issue is the hot spot where the sheet metal stops.

    This smoker also leaks quite a bit of smoke. Both lids don't seel very well and the smoke stack (which bolts in) also leaks. I'll be seeling the smoke stack, but I'll just live with the doors. It doesn't seem to be a big issue. I didn't have a hard time maintaining the temp and I only used about a half bag of lump during the 6 hour smoke.

    On a side note, I smoked my first ribs on Sunday. They were very well received and I was very happy with the results on my first try. The ends were a bit overcooked (mainly becuase I was waiting for my brother who was late again), but the middle sections were practically falling off of the bone. Everyone was quite pleased and impressed, including myself.
  2. desertlites

    desertlites Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    congrats on your new grill oddball, I have heard the same story from many of those grill owners which lead me to not wanting to purchase 1 in the future.This is such a great site with great people that we get such good consumour (sp) reports on the units everyone buys.It sounds like with a few smokes and some mods you are going to be on your way to some great get-togathers with family and brothers that run late. good luck with the smoker.
  3. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    well Oddball, that charbroil silver is a good charcoal smoker, but you have to do a couple modifications to it. The manufactures of these type os smokers don't go the extra mile when it comes to making a good useable product IMO.

    First thing you need to do Is switch to lump charcoal, burns hotter, a whole lot less ash, and none of the crap in it like starch, binders,clay, and who knows what else. I use Roayal oak, walmart, menards, GFS has it. Stay away from cowboy brand from Lowes.

    Next thing is tomake a heat baffle plate. In this pic, you can see the baffle plate attached to the end of the smoke chamber near the fire box. This directs the heat over and down, so it doesn't scorch the meat that is next to the firebox. Then you se some tuning plates. These help carry the heat across the smoking chamber.

    I have experimented with a couple different types of plates. These are the best for this smoker I believe.

    You see the plates with the holes in them. smaller holes and less of them near the firebox, larger and more holes farther away, and finally no plate at the end of the line where the smoke and heat can finally exit through the stack. Ose a piece of flashing or dryer vent tubing to extend your smokestack exit point, down near the grate, it will keep the heat and smoke from blasting straight through the chamber.In this pic, you can see the extension down to within 3/4 inch of the grate!

    Now while this smoker is made for charcoal, it is advertised as a wood burner. I have found that to burn just wood in this smoker, will be too strong of a smoke flavor, and too much creosote, so if you want to burn just wood, you have to pre-burn it to coals first.Better to just use the lump. I use chunks of wood to flavor the smoke, 2-3 inch chunks of maple, cherry, or apple are great, as well as hickory. If you want to soak them, just put the chunks in a ziplock bag full of water and squeeze out the air and seal. Let it sit overnight. It will only soak in about 1/4 inch, so I don't bother with soaking chunks, or chips. You can also put the ground up chips in a foil pouch and poke 1 or 2 small holes in the top. Toss it near the hot coals, and it will smolder for awhile. The smoke you are looking for is just a faint bluish wisp, not a belching white, or black smoke. If you can smell smoke, it is smoking, you don't have to see smoke.

    One last thing to add. The dial on the door of your smoker is not accurate, it will be as much as 50 degrees off. Buy a cheapo oven thermometer and set it on the grate next to your food. try and keep your temps around 225, but 215-250 will work, for chicken , I would advise 250-275,especially large ones or turkeys. In the lasy pic, you can see the "puck" style therm, and I took a marker and drew on a line that I wanted to stay around, because the smoke clouds the display, plus I don't see as well as I once did, and you want to glance quickly and then get the door closed, so you don't loose all the heat.

    I hope this helps ya oddball, or any others who want to get on track making some tasty smoked food
  4. kookie

    kookie Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Congrats on the new smoker....................Lots of mods here for that type of smoker..............
  5. oddball

    oddball Smoke Blower

    I've got the basics down so far. My next task is to work on the tuning plates and change the grate in the SFB. I was having issues with the lump falling through or falling off of the end.

    And thanks for the pics, you can get never get enough good ideas.
  6. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Good deal, I think you need to make/buy one of these!
  7. white cloud

    white cloud Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Excellent Information and Description Cap.D
  8. capt dan

    capt dan Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Thanks WC, I learned from others, and from trying a bunch of mods on my own. I hope some of the explinations can save someone a few steps, and maybe some time too, and hopefully avoiding tossing out bad food!
  9. lcruzen

    lcruzen Master of the Pit OTBS Member


    I mine I just took one of the coal racks from the smoke chamber, inverted it and placed it on top of the coal rack in the fire box. Made the gap much smaller.