Char-Grill Amarican offset smoker

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Original poster
Jul 8, 2005
Miami. FL
I'm just getting into smoking and got a cheap chargrill offset smoker which has given me some trouble but i understand that building a baffle into the smoker will solve these problems. My problem is I dont have any metal working equipment. I was wondering if there is anyone in the miami/ft lauderdale with such equipment that would be kind enough to help me out with this small project?
you can get by without adding a baffle if you invert the charcoal pan and raise it to its highest setting, the charcoal pan will then act as a heat diffuser and radiate heat evenly along the cooking chamber
I have seen these around town and I am thinking of getting one since they go on sale at the PX this coming weekend.

When you talk about inverting the charcoal pan could you be more specific or include a picture? This is about the only offset smoker I have been able to find here in town.


sorry for the late reply Grunt but here is a pic of the pan in the grilling position and then inverted for smoking to act as a heat diffuser

there is no need to install a baffle on the char griller and if you do put a baffle in you will never be able to grill on it again, thats the nice thing about the char griller it does both smokin and grilling
Crazy horse is on the money with the inverted pan method. The Brinkman has a shorter pan so it doesn't go all the way across the cooking area, but same result.
:idea: I have a baffle that just hangs from the bolts that hold the fire box to the main body of the smoker. I installed longer bolts on top with the extra length inside the fire box. When I made the baffle I was going to bolt it in permanently but when I put it in the first time and let it hang to start the nuts, it hung nearly right in place so I changed the bend a little and let it hang. Now if I want to cook hot and indirect, I take it out and when I smoke I hang it back up.
i have heard that it help with the flow of heat but i havent tried that one
Extending the chimney down to the grill level will definitely help. There are alternatives for accomplishing this. The most traumatic is to replace the chimney. However, another way is to simply roll a piece of sheet metal (thin and NOT GALVANIZED). Insert it into the lower end of the chimney and allow it to "unroll" untill it takes up the size of the chimney. Adust it so that it reaches the grid level.

Another piece of advise, don't forget the "baffle" that redirects the heat from the fire box to the cooking chamber. Tulsa Jeff's intro to smoking course addresses this mod very well.

Good Smoking,

Crazyhorse: Thanks for the pics provided, two questions on this 1) when smoking is a water/drip pan used with this method, if so how is it placed on the inverted rack? 2) Should I assume the meat is placed on the upper rack?

Thanks for the advice. Matt
Oar the water pan is placed under the inverted rack, it's a heat diffuser not a drip pan
need some advice and suggestions: Anyway, yesterday I did a meatloaf and some ABT's. The Abt's turned out fine but the meatloaf, which was no more than 2 1/2 to 3 lbs took from 3 pm to nearly 8 pm before gettting to temp.

Method used---recently extended the stack by three to four inches with foil (heavy) secured via a metal wire wrap. Inverted the cooking chamber grate and had a good 1/2 to 1 inch gap all the way around. Water pan was in the middle under the inverted grate. Used the minnion method in the side firebox with a combination of Lump, brickets and seasoned wood.

For the first three hours or so the fire in the side box was roaring, vents were wide open. The crappy supplied temp gauge (cant afford a different thermometer yet) never pushed 125 degrees. Using another meat therm. got other temps from in the cooking chamber ranging from 150 to 200 degrees.

The meatloaf temp did not budge for almost 3 hours. Things did not get going until I tore down the whole setup, meaning I removed the meat and abt's. I Flipped the grate inside the main chamber back over. I put the water pan in the center under the loaf which is now on the upper grate ( the one for warming). I then began to transfer small amount of coals from the side box into the main chamber. I placed these lite coals to far right, just next to the damper. At that point my main cooking chamber came to temp 225 to 300. The loaf finished within an hour.

Any suggestions on this would be great. I have the same type as pictured in crazyhorses posts. The temperature here yesterday was nice, around 65 degrees, with a slight breeze.

Thanks in advance for responses. By the way once done the loaf was good.

I also have a CharGriller charcoal grill/smoker and the inverted charcoal pan works out great. It really evened out the temp in the chamber. The one thing i find a problem with is using a water pan under the improvised baffle. It is very difficult to re-fill it once it gets low. I went with 3 firebricks instead and have had great results.

OAR since i am still fairly new to this as well, I might suggest deffinatly gettting a new themo for the smoking chamber. Once i did this my meat tase and preparation process increased 150%!!! The cheezy one that came with my smoker always read around 220*-260* when in reality it was 300*-375* thusly, overcooking my meat. I picked up a new thermo at a store named BBQ's Gallore for around 23 bux. You will need a power drill, a sharp drill bit, and a wrench to install it tho.
Also, when i first fire up the smoker i make the fire hotter than it needs to be and let it 'calm down' a bit before i put the food in. I sure hope my newbee/limited knowledge helped a lil.

Good Luck!
Ok gang. I am going to try to help out here as well. I have made a few easy mods to my CharGriller with SFB.

I have made only 2. The first one was to buy a piece of the aluminum flexible tubing for a drier vent and a hose clamp. I cut it, with a sharp pocket knife, and slid it over the smoke stack. Then formed it to the shape of the lid until it was right at the grate. The other mod was I got a piece of expanded metal and placed it on top of the cooking rack inside the side fire box. That allowed me to have LOTS of room for the charcoal dust to accumulate without smothering the lit coals. If the coals are in the bottom of the side fire box grate, you only have abt 1" of space for all of the dust to build up, then it starts to smother the lit coals and you loose temp.

Don't use the thermometer in the lid. Go to WallyWorld, or any other store and pick up yourself an oven thermometer and place it on the grate. That will tell you the temp where you are cooking the meat etc., and not the upper section of the lid.

This is all I have done, and it works great now. I have place an aluminum pan of hot water next to the inlet of the main chamber before I done the mods. Now I don't.

Using the side fire box only, it is hard to get temps much over 250ish without using a lot of wood. And by using the expanded metal up higher, the temp are hotter, and so the paint is burned off in places on the SFB, so if you do this mod, just spray it with cooking oil after it cools down, and it will keep the rust at bay.

By the way, make sure the top vent is wide open at all times, regulate the main chamber with the vent on the side fire box. If you close down the upper vent, you will keep the smoke inside, and it can get a bitter taste on the meat, and also not allow a good flow of air, resulting in lower temps. Remember, fire + air = heat.... take away either one, and you loose heat.

I just bought a professional Char Griller and smoke box. The grill set up had the damper removed on the side of the cooking box where the hot box attaches. My grill has the damper (baffle) still attached as it came from the factory. Should I remove that lower half of the cook box for more heat flow? or leave the lower damper in place?
I already have the oven thermometer hanging from the top rack to read my temps across the cooking surface. I'm going to lower the stack by using a hose clamp to hold a soup can on the stack. the height to the cooking surface looks about right by what you folks have described. I'm gonna fire up in 2 days and break this little beauty in. Pics comming soon! Thanks for the help!
First Bill ("mrgrumpy") was right on the money! I also found with inverting the coal rack in the chamber helped... and if you put an empty beer can on each side of it - a drip pan balances really nicely!!

NCCODAVE - Now.... the "knock out" plate must be removed from between the cook chamber and the side fire box!!
I did mine as i assembled it... before i put the side firebox on and put stove caulk between the two... it is already made to come out.... tapped on it with a hammer and got a hold on it- flexing it back and forth....
Are you referring the American gourmet model?
These are pretty small smokers and a baffle is all you really need for it.
If you have a drill that's all you need.

Drill your holes to match your bolts of the smoker(for mounting) then sandwich the sheet metal it between 2 boards and screw then together to get a tight squeeze.(home made press brake)
Bend the sheet metal by hand until you get the right angle.
Unscrew the boards and there's your baffle!

Fire box.
Take the fire grates and turn them sideways. This will raise your grate to increase airflow.

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