Char-Griller Smokin Pro with firebox- Mods

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mossymo, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. kid creole

    kid creole Fire Starter


    Don't ask me how I know, but i know the same thing you do.  :)
     
  2. I used this and it's still sealing after over a year. Still holding my stove rope on too.

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  3. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    You got that right, Scott.  I did mine very carefully and it was a painful process, but it worked without making it look like a junk yard candidate.

    How nice it must be to remove some bolts and nuts and lift the dang thing out of there!

    The chimney deal?  GRRRR!

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  4. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    All I did was grab a set of channel locks and bend on the flange to straighten it out until I could fit my dryer hose over it.  Once I got the hose seated, I bound the hose to the chimney with tie wire to make sure it stays put.  It was only slightly less redneck than doing it with duct tape, but I'm not trying to impress anyone.  It got the job done.
     
  5. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hey!  I didn't always live in California?

    Rednecks are my kind of people!

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  6. Gentleman, 

    Santa brought me my Char Griller Duo, with a firebox. I have been using a smoke hollow gas smoker, so this wood smoking is a new thing. I am having a few issues. 

    1. I have to prop open the firebox door to sustain a fire. My vents are open on both ends, all the way, and my chimney is open. What is causing this? My thought is maybe I am using too large of logs, as they are about as long as the firebox. 

    2. I can't maintain the inside temp where I want it. It's getting too hot. I want to keep it around 230-250 F, it's all I can do to get it to 240, most of the time it wants to climb to 260, 280, 300.

    3. Please explain what the dryer hose does. I thought one wanted the whole chamber filled with smoke, seems like this would keep it under the rack, then draw it out before it's filled with smoke. 

    any ideas or suggestions would be appreciated. 

    thanks

    jason 
     
  7. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Hi Jason!

    I don't have the Duo, but I do have a Char Griller Pro.

    These units are not designed to use logs or sticks.  You would be better off with "lump charcoal" and knuckle sized chunks of wood.

    The dryer vent deal is to keep the smoke from going to the top of the unit without properly smoking the meat.  On the new CG units the chimney is flared inside the pit, so you may have to deal with that in order to extend the chimney down to the grate.

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  8. tom c

    tom c Smoking Fanatic

     
  9. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I believe you are correct, I use sticks of wood in my CharGriller but keep them about 9" long by about 3" thick.

    I start a fire with lump charcoal to get up to temp and add a stick or two of wood when the temp starts falling because the lump is being depleted.

    Note the 2 unburned sticks at the left of the SFB, I keep 1 or 2 in the SFB to preheat, it helps them catch quicker and maintain  the small hot fire you need.

    I can keep my temps between 225° and 260° using wood. 

    [​IMG]
     
  10. Thanks for the quick replies. SO, scrap the "full wood' method, and I will switch to trying lump charcoal as a base, adding wood chunks as needed. From the link posted about the minion method, I think this will address both issues of getting too hot and keeping good heat source going. 

    Now, I am not questioning the Mods here, I just want to understand WHY they work.

    1. The dryer vent hose- "The dryer hose keep the heat and smoke in, with out it the smoke and heat raises to the top of the smoker and out the stack.It also help even the temp though out the cooking chamber I don't understand this. Without the hose, isn't the chamber getting filled with smoke? It seems (in my limited smoking knowledge) that the hose would bypass filling the whole chamber, and it would go into the chamber, and go directly to the hose and out, thus, not smoking the food as well. Obviously, this isn't the case, as there are so many good reviews about it. What is it that I don't know about smoke that makes this work?

    2. "reverse flow"- what does this mean? I see some put a steel plate below the grate, that is open at the far end. letting the smoke in. I understand this controls the temps better. If used with the hose, wouldn't the smoke go directly out of the hose, thus not getting to the meat? Again, i probably don't understand how smoke works. 

    3. How does a shaker basket work better? How does this keep the fire from suffocating under the ashes? It seems it would still hold the ashes in it, thus causing the fire to go out, as the openings seem pretty small. 

    thank you for all your help!
     
  11. You need to raise up the fire. If air can't get under it it won't burn well.

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  12. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    First of all, as I posted above, you do not have to scrap your full wood method, I use the charcoal as a way to start the wood fire. If you are using full size splits of wood(the size you would put in a woodstove) then just cut some off. As a stick burner the CG does just fine.

    Second the Chargriller works just fine out of the box with no mods IMHO, you just have to be willing to tend the fire. Most of the mods in this thread were made with the intent of turning this cooker into a "set it and forget it" that would require minimal tending and allow for more sleep on overnight cooks or "multitasking" during the day and to get more even heat across the length of the cooking chamber. IMHO if you seal up the air leaks and gasket the hood on the cooking chamber you will have done enough. I must admit that the many finished projects that are posted on this thread are very impressive.

    The purpose of the dryer vent mod is to regulate the heat flow, in theory keeping it low will direct more heat closer to the cooking grate. If you do this mod you should also do the baffle mod at the cooking chamber- SFB connection which directs the heat more in the direction of the vent stack. IMHO the dryer vent should not extend to grate level but 4-6 inches above it for proper air flow, but then again I haven't done any of it so...
     
  13. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    As noted, the dryer vent also helps to even temps across the grill.  With about $30 in mods, my unit runs within 5 to 10 degrees side to side at normal smoking temps. The smoke and heat get distributed more evenly rather than rising to the top and out the chimney.

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  14. Thank you to all for the help. I picked up some lump charcoal today and a charcoal chimney, plan to do a dry run tomorrow with my basket and add sticks of wood as needed. Hope I have  a much better time controlling temps. Sounds like a great project to try while watching the NFL playoff games. 
     
  15. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic


    Did you do the baffle and tuning plate mods?  When I fired mine up for a seasoning run I got the plates dialed in and held temps within about 10 degrees side to side.  But when I've put meat on the grill, it's been tougher to manage.  Part of it has probably been wind, as you pointed out earlier.  Low ambient temps influence it too, I imagine.  But it's been tough to keep temps consistent across the grate while cooking so far.

    Also, I had some inspiration for my next mod today while walking through Home Depot.  The lid to my SFB has a pretty sloppy fit and I lose a lot of heat and smoke around the opening.  So I'm gonna put a gate latch on my SFB to hold the lid down tight.  It's snowing/raining here today, so it's not going to happen this weekend.  I'll post pics when I do it.  I think it should work. 

    Do you think RTV high temp gasket maker will hold up to the temps from the SFB if I use it to make a custom gasket to the SFB lid?

    *Edit* I just noticed in Alelover's photo above that he's used it to seal the gap between the SFB and cooking chamber.  If it handles the heat there, it should handle the heat around the lid.
     
    Last edited: Jan 21, 2012
  16. sprky

    sprky Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I don't think anyone answered your question on what a reverse flow is, so I will, do my best. A reverse flow is a smoker where there is a plate installed below grate level, and the stack is installed on the same side as the fire box. The heat and smoke must travel across the smoker below the plate then back across the smoker above the plate in the other direction and out threw the stack. 
     
  17. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    So are the pieces of metal in your basket to allow it to burn in a maze kind of like the AMNS does to give you longer burn time?  If that's why they're in there, are they heavy enough to keep the burn from jumping across and not following your maze? 

    I've actually been thinking about putting another piece of expanded metal inside my basket to cordon off about 1/4 of the volume of the basket.  That way I have it permanently set for side-to-side minion cooking.
     
  18. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    First, I did no baffle and tuning plates.  Well not really?

    I followed Dutch's lead and put a small pan of water next to where the firebox enters the pit.

    [​IMG]

    The beer can should give you an idea of the size. This one is obviously well used. They will last several smokes if handled carefully.  Disposables available at your local dollar store.

    I do use drip pans, also disposable aluminum from the dollar store.  I have found that careful arrangement of the drip pans keep the bottom of my smoker clean and they do provide a baffle effect.  Monitoring with two wired therms will get my temps even from side to side.

    Getting your new unit tuned in is half the fun.  That is where the learning curve is.  If I ever stop learning, this stuff will be work and no fun any more!

    Stick with it you will get there!  Once you have your unit tuned in, you will learn how it works at different times of the year, and things get a lot easier.  And more boring. [​IMG]

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  19. Fellow Smokers!

    I am a Minion Method believer! I picked up some baskets for $2 at Lowe's (on clearance). I heated my lump charcoal in the chimeny (clearance at Academy), Then dumped it in the middle between the two baskets. I didn't let the charcoal get white enough before I dumped it. I committed a premature dump. The Temp issue was a non issue. once it got warm, it stayed between 230-240F. talk about set it and forget it! Occasional stoking and a few wood sticks added as needed. Can't wait to smoke some food with this method!

    My premature dumping of the charcoal. Baskets in the top left and bottom right. 

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    The top left basket is beginning to turn white after about an hour. I added a wood stick for the heck of it. 

    [​IMG]fi

    The end result. 

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    e

    The best part? Nice steady temp. Not fighting it like I did with all wood. 

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    Thank you to all the fellow smokers who guided me to this point!!!!
     
  20. I got rid of the maze. I don't think it made a difference. I changed the bottom to expanded metal for better air flow as well.

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