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Char-Griller Wrangler Pics, Comments & Questions

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by drewster, Aug 13, 2010.

  1. drewster

    drewster Newbie

    Hi All,

    Well, I finally got my new Char-Griller Wrangler with the firebox put together and seasoned (some pics below), and I'm looking forward to actually getting around to some smoking (this weekend or next, time is tight for me).

    I know the thermometer that comes with these things is far from accurate, so I had a "replacement" thermometer sitting on the warming rack while I was seasoning the smoker. The thermo in the hood read around 250°, while the one on the rack read close to 400°! I just got a Maverick dual probe remote and I will be checking the temp again the next time I fire her up.

    I see a lot of stuff around the forums for various "mods" to these things, and I have a couple of questions (I know they're probably handled in some other thread(s), but if I can get them answered here (or get pointed to the threads I'm looking for) I'll be very happy.
    1. Are there any "must have" mods that I can't live without?
    2. I see some stuff about making (or buying and adapting) charcoal baskets for the firebox. Is there a "best" way to do this? This firebox comes with grids for cooking, can I put the coals right on the grids?
    3. What the heck is a "tuning plate"?
    4. If I use the smoke chamber for grilling, will I have to re-season it? Really?
    5. Can't I just use the darn thing as it is, without any mods? What are the pitfalls?
    Thanks so much in advance for any information. I am still so new to this smoking thing, that I feel a bit lost, and overwhelmed by so much information in the forums...




  2. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    I have the CG Smokin Pro w/SFB.  You will see all kinds of mods to these units. I have only done a couple of inexpensive ones & have very good results. You know about the stock therm, so no need repeat that. I have 2 wired probe therms & 1 wireless. I use the wireless to monitor grate level temps & the others to monitor meat temps.

    IMHO, a charcoal basket is a must. The higher you can mount the basket the better. I have a grate from an old grill that I bent so that my basket will sit on it a couple of inches below the cooking grate rails in the SFB.  I tried just using the grate, but the basket holds the charcaol closer together & I get longer burn times.  I use a Charbroil shaker basket I picked up at Lowes for less than $20.

    I  don't use tuning plates. I lay the SFB cooking grates crossways in the main chamber then flip over the charocal tray & sit it on the grates. The curve of the tray will almost match perfectly the curve of the SFB opening. By adjusting the gap between the tray & opening, I can balance the temps from side to side within 10 degrees. I can also widen the gap & create hot zone when I need one for crisping skin on BBC or wings, etc.

    I also suggest lowering the stack to grate level. Lots of people use flexible dryer hose. Since I rarely use the warming rack, I have removed mine. I cut a piece out of a disposable oven liner, rolled it up & stuck it in the stack opening inside the chamber. Very cheap & it works.

    About the only other thing I do is to line the bottom of the main chamber with XHD foil. I do this to make clean up easier. I also have about 4-5" extra on both the front & back sides. I roll this up loosely to the edge of the chamber & close the hood. It's a nice, cheap gasket to help with heat & smoke loss. I also use foil to plug a couple of small gaps around the SFB lid & ash drawer.

    Finally, I also grill in my CG & do not reseason it.  I do clean & oil the cooking grates after each cook. Before I close the lid up, I do give the inside of the main chamber lid a light spray with cooking oil. I do this after both grilling & smoking.

    Hope this helps.
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  3. drewster

    drewster Newbie

    Wow! Thanks so much! I have read some more since I first posted this, and I definitely want to do the charcoal basket and the hose.

    I'm not sure (my mind doesn't want to bend in the right direction) what you mean when you say, "I lay the SFB cooking grates crossways in the main chamber then flip over the charocal tray..." etc. Is there any way you could provide a picture of what you're doing?

    Also (I'm not sure if this is important or stupid or what) I noticed that I can't pull the firebox drawer out while the coals are hot. I think it expands too much. I thought that I SHOULD be able to do this, when I'm done cooking, to dump the coals, ash etc., but I just can't get that bugger out until the whole thing cools down. Am I being an idiot to even try? If not, are there any suggestions as to how to make this easier?

    Thanks again!
    Last edited: Aug 13, 2010
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The firebox drawer on those are notoriously poor fitting, I had to take an angle grinder and "adjust" the outline of the drawer to keep it from binding up.

    Olewarthog gave you a good run down on the must have mods. The upside down charcoal pan he was talking about is the one in the main cooking chamber that hangs on the little hangers. It has the charcoal grate on one side and the other side is rounded. Flip it upside down so the rounded side is up, then either do what Olewarthog suggested or you can use the hangers and hang it upside down in the highest position. Olewart's idea probably can be fine tuned a bit better than just hanging it, but they both work.

    As for grilling in the main chamber: yes... you will have to reaseason it if you build a hot fire in the main chamber. The high heat will burn off all your seasoning. What I did to avoid that was purchase a used Weber 22.5" Kettle off of craigslist for $20. That is where I do my high heat stuff and also where I lite my chimney's for my smoker.
  5. drewster

    drewster Newbie

    Ah! OK! Now I understand about the charcoal pan thing. I'll have to try that. Meanwhile I'm going to get some 3" flexible ducting for the chimney and I ordered a charcoal basket from Char-Griller, even though I think I'll have to make one (or buy one of the expensive ones I've seen online) since it just doesn't really look right. But for $9.99 plus shipping, I figured I'd give it a whirl.

    I'm not sure about getting another grill just yet, since my budget is somewhat limited and I'm sinking much of what I have into the smoker... Maybe I'll do my grilling in the SFB [​IMG].

    Thanks again!
  6. All of the advice you have gotten so far is spot on. One other mod I would suggest is to add another vent in the side of your SFB. Its easy to do... just trace the pattern of that extra "pinwheel", drill it out, and cut with a fine metal cutting sabre saw. I burn a lot of wood in mine and had trouble getting enough oxygen to my fire. This mod did the trick.
  7. bob1961

    bob1961 Smoking Fanatic

    i have a char broil w/SFB that i did the mod's to that were a sticky....


    take a look at my pictures in there to get an idea what we are talking bout....i can fill my basket up three times to the top with charcol without the ash being an issue, that will let me smoke for close to 24 hours if i wanted to [​IMG]  ....the biggest mod that has help the most was the 1/8" steel plate i wased for the heat tuning plates under the cooking rack, that block's the direct heat coming through the fire box opening and keeping it off the meat and spreading it around the cooking chamber....if you have a walmart by you look in there lawn/garden dept for the thermo for the lid and the remote probe thermo for 16.00 bucks each....you'll need both to monitor your cooking temp's....i'm by far the best smoker on this forum, but what i read and was told what mod's to do has been spot on by these great people here [​IMG]....doing those mod's was kinda like trading in my yugo for a caddy [​IMG]  well worth the time.........bob

  8. bob1961

    bob1961 Smoking Fanatic

    i use my SFB for grilling for my g/f and i....using the bigger cooking area for grilling is a pain cause i have to take out all the heat plates for the charcol to go in on the charc grate....i just take my charc basket out and put back the food grate with a smaller char rack on the bottom of the SFB and go from there....when i build my bigger RF smoker in the spring i'll most likely turn this smoker into a griller with the SFB removed maybe............bob

  9. I redid my smokestack with the 3" bathroom vent hose. You can configure it so that it goes around the warming rack. The warming rack is where I do my whores-d-orvers now.


  10. drewster

    drewster Newbie


    I see the duct and that's what I'm planning to do, as well. I'm getting lots of good info here, now I just have to DO it!


  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

  12. tdelong515

    tdelong515 Newbie

    ok guys so i just got my SFB in for my wrangler,any suggestions or tips for me before I attach i to my wrangler??? I do have the red rtv so I will be sealing it,and I've already made a charcoal basket. Oh and here's the best part!!!, I got it for $59.99!!! As soon as I saw it I had to have it. Although I shoulda just bought the whole thing all together when I bought the wrangler, but it ended up being cheaper this way.
  13. tdelong515

    tdelong515 Newbie

    These are my current mods, am I missing anything? Oh has anyone else noticed how flimsy the side wall that the SFB is attached to is? Like I can bump my SFB and itll bounce. I guess thats how you'd describe it.
  14. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

  15. gary s

    gary s SMF Hall of Fame Pitmaster OTBS Member