I need some help with heat!

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Original poster
Aug 29, 2007
I got a Char-Griller with the side smoke box for my birthday and I've used it twice to smoke. The first time i did ribs and the flavor was good but I couldn't get the temp up to 230. I found out chips and chunks are not the way to go. I planned better for the second outing. I got some cowboy charcoal and a local rib joint was kind enough to give me about 10 logs of hickory. I started the charcoal and when it was ready I put on a couple of logs. I still couldn't get the main chamber up to 230. The box got so hot the heat resistent paint fell off. I was maybe getting an hour off a log before it burned up. I have 5 or six logs left over and I might pick up a couple more. What am I doing wrong? PLEASE HELP
SOunds like an air flow issue. Make sure the cover on your stack is all the way open and try opening the damper more. I start mine at about half open then start choking it back as the temps start to rise. Also make sure you don't have any ashes blocking the air flow in front of the damper. I usually ise Royal Oak lump. for heat & 2 or 3 hickory chunks (fist size) for smoke.
I talked to the nice people at Char-Griller and I think part of my problem is when Lowes put the grill together they didn't knock out the damper between the main chamber and the smole box. It still has the damper with the 5 open holes. I guess that whole thing can come out. Am I on the right track?
I don't own a Char-Griller so I really can't help you on that one but I'm sure someone who does own one will be along shortly. So are you saying there is no opening between the fire box and the cooking chamber?
Well without actually seeing the grill here are my thoughts. First, try lump charcoal, not briquetts, briquetts don't burn as hot and produce too much ashe, which lowers the temp output.. You must be loosing heat somewhere, is the SFB sealed between the box and chamber? This is extreamly important. I suggest you cut the "logs" to smaller sizes you don't need or want a big fire going in the box, what you're looking for a brilliant red coals, the lump will help with this. I use chunks and they work fine. Did you verify the accuracy of the thermometer? usually they are off, get two and install them at grate level. Get some dryer vet tube and lower the chimney stack to grate level, if this is not done, the heat exits the SFB and goes directly to the top to escape. Also, try smoking the ribs at 210*-215*, I rarely go over 215*. I have this grill you have and if I want I can get the temp well over 230* keep experimenting, do the mods, and use smaller pieces of wood, you don't need a roaring fire. If chunks burn too fast, don't place them right on the coals, rather around the sides, this works well, it lets the chunks smoke, then slowly ignites them producing more heat.

Hope this helps.
Yup, that would be the problem. Remove the sfb, bang out the hole, seal the box and chamber with furnace cement.
Take the sfb off, use a hammer and screw driver to break out the plate, it has weak spot welds, seal with furnace cement and reattach. Let it sit overnight and go at it again.

Send me a pm or e-mail if you need further help.
One other thing, (and if this was already mentioned, I'm sorry) don't count on the stock temp gizmo that came with the CGP. If you are not already doing so, use a digital probe mounted in the middle of the cooking chamber about grate level; much more accurate. Some folks around even go as far as mounting new temp gizmos on the lid, on both ends, near the grate level.

Happy smoking!
LOL and I don't use the lump charcoal because it burns to fast, so I stick to the briquettes.
At anyrate, what is this log stuff. You hardly need a log in there. Cut some two to three inch chunks from that log and use those. Unless you just want to cook the food with just wood, you only need some good chunks to produce your smoke.
And as stated, you don't have to hit 230* to smoke, my GOSM runs between 200 to 225* for most of my smokes, the meats turn out just fine. Might take alittle longer, but no one has complained yet.
Sound like you've been given good advice. There should be a big opening between the SFB and the main chamber of the CG. I believe Lowes sells them as separate products and it makes sense that they did not know to remove that piece when putting it together as an offset smoker.

As far as firing it, turn the stock charcoal grate upside down to give yourself a little more room for the ash. Fire it with lump charcoal and a few hickory chunks (or what ever flavor you have), keep the stack cover wide open and use the SFB intake to regulate the airflow and consequently, the heat. My experience is that after the fire matures I need to keep the intake about 10-15% open to keep the temps down under 240F.

Check through the charcoal section of the forum for modifications that folks have done to improve the performence.

Hope this helps!!!

Take care, have fun, and do good!


Flash, I've been using the Royal Oak lump and on a 6 hour smoke I only need to refill once, maybe twice and the ash production is minimal. I was reading the reviews, and there are some that burn very fast and produce alot of ash, it's all dependant on the type of wood used to make it.
Thanks for all the replies. I'll bang the damper out when I get home. I'll get more lump charcoal and make a good bed of coals before I throw the logs on. Sounds like the 5-6 logs I have should doe just fine for my ribs.
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