Char-Griller Texas Trio Troubleshooting

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Dinforlife!

Newbie
Original poster
Jul 3, 2022
1
0
Upstate South Carolina
Hey folks!

I'm a longtime haunter but first time poster. This forum has been invaluable as I just got into smoking meat last summer, and now I'd like to pick some brains on my specific situation.

Two years ago my wife got me a Chargriller Texas Trio grill to replace our no-name one that finally gave up the ghost. We got it so we could grill on the gas side during the week and take more time on the charcoal side on a weekend grill. It came with a smokebox, but that wasn't even on my radar at the time. Last year some of my close friends got into smoking with their BGEs and Kamado Joes and piqued my interest. I realized that my grill had a firebox and decided to give it a try. Texas Trio:
Texas Trio.jpg


I've learned a lot just by doing (and have had a blast), but my biggest issue is how hot my smoker runs. I think it is due to how small the cook chamber is. Being so small, whatever is being cooked is practically right on top of the fire. For example, a full chimney of Kingsford briquettes has the cook chamber at 500+ and by the time the temp has dropped to smoking temps, the coals have pretty much burned out and I have no coal bed to ignite my wood. When smoking wings, in order to keep my temp around 250, I must literally take a handful of briquettes from the bag, light it, and then feed it 1-2 briquettes at a time for the duration of the cook. And then once I add the small smoking chunks, once they light, it kicks the temperature up again. Below is a picture of the cook chamber:
Texas Trio Cook Chamber.jpg

I read about folks inverting the charcoal grate assembly and using it as a baffling system, but that seem to work TOO well. Even with an inch or so gap around the side and opposite the firebox, it was letting very little heat up into the cook chamber. Yesterday in an attempt to overwhelm it, I simultaneously dumped two full, raging chimneys of FOGO lump (filled with uniform lumps) into the firebox and it bumped the temp up to MAYBE 205. I then took it the grate assembly off and the temp skyrocketed. I finished my rib cook using the method described above for wings. Inverted charcoal grate pictured:
Texas Trio Charcoal Baffle.jpg

Lastly, I modified the firebox by bolting expanded metal grating above the slide out drawer to allow me to dump ashes mid-cook (looking at you, briquettes) and to allow more airflow when the ashes build up. I realize now that the grating was too wide so the smaller coals would fall through, eliminating any chance of building any sort of coal bed for my wood chunks. I'm fixing that issue today. Firebox:
Texas Trio Firebox.jpg

So with all of that said, does anyone have any ideas? I'm thinking about trying to get some sheet metal to rest on brick or two to act as a baffling system that won't be quite as effective as the grate assembly. That way I can actually build solid coal bed without torching whatever's being smoked.

Any ideas or insight would be helpful. Thanks, gang, and y'all have a Happy 4th!
 
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