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Smoking in Char-Griller Model #2121

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mohelmets, Oct 4, 2010.

  1. mohelmets

    mohelmets Newbie

    I'm not sure if this is where I need to post this, but I have a question. I just bought the smoker unit for the above mentioned grill. I am having trouble getting the temp even near 200 with charcoal only. I use wood chunks (hickory) to get the temp up to around 250, or so. I've been told of a couple of things to try, but my question is...Is there a way to get the temp up to over 200 without the use of wood, meaning charcoal only. I use Kingsford Original briquets. When I use the grill as my smoker for small things, such as a whole chicken, I don't have the problem with generating enough heat. This all changes with charcoal only if I use my smoker unit. If anyone has suggestions or can advise me on what I need to do to generate the heat I need with charcoal only, I would greatly appreciate the input...



    P.S...I DID smoke a 13.5 pound turkey in it using the smoker unit as I described above (charcoal with wood chunks) and it turned out great...Maybe I'm still a bit too unsure about how the smoker unit works, since I've only used it twice so far...
  2. Are you saying you added the Side Fire Box? Did you take out both of the football shaped knockouts? I have that same one and could easily get over 200* with coals (Cowboy but I don't think that matters).
  3. Another thought, what thermometer are you using? The one the comes in that grill is not accurate, mine reads easily 75* low.
  4. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    After you check the knockouts, lose the briquettes, they create too much ash and can choke off the fire by limiting air  to the fire. Lump carcoal is preferred fuel because it creates much less ash than briquettes. I can get my Chargriller well over 300°F with lump in the SFB.
  5. mohelmets

    mohelmets Newbie

    Knock outs are knocked out (did that when I put it together)...I checked the thermometer last night and it is right on...It's the one that came with the grill...Yes, I added the "firebox"...

    Using lump charcoal was one of the suggestions made to me last night...I was also advised to open the lid on the chimney all the way as well as the vent on the side...

    Any other ideas, please let me know...Thanks for the suggestions so far...

  6. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The mods are a must for the Char-Grillers. Main four are extending the smoke stack to grate level, bigger charcoal basket that is suspended above the bottom, putting in two new therms at grate level one on each side, flip the main chamber charcoal pan upside down and hang it as high as you can to even out the heat from side to side. Once you have those mods in place it really makes a huge differance.
  7. mohelmets

    mohelmets Newbie

    Thank you all for the suggestions...I'll start working with it when I get the time...
  8. mohelmets

    mohelmets Newbie

    Just an update...I'm smoking a ham right now...I bought a couple small Weber charcoal baskets until I can either find one or get one made...Using part charcoal, part lump charcoal with all vents open all the way...Holding a constant temp of 240 right now, which makes me feel better...I'll just have to add some charcoal every once in a while, but what a difference just these slight adjustments have made so far...

    Thanks again for all the help/suggestions...

  9. Sounds good Mike. When I was using mine this past weekend (first time with the basket I made with the expanded steel from Lowes) I had the temp do a nosedive on me down to 155.

    It was right after adding some coals. I think it was a combination of adding the coals right in the middle and potentially the holes in the steel I used being too small. Once I stirred it up to get the ash out it came back. I just kept stirring it ocassionally. I might need to remake the basket. So, just something else to watch for. [​IMG]  Good luck with the ham.
  10. theoxrojo

    theoxrojo Newbie

    I've only been smokin' for a few years now and relatively new to this forum but the above modifications are right on.  I almost gave up smokin' with my Char-Griller until I discovered the above modifications.  I imagine some day when this one wears out I'll get a better smoker but until then I'll continue to smoke fine food for myself and friends.
  11. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    A good trick for mid-smoke refills with a big basket is to get two chimney starters, fill them all the way with charcoal and light them both, let them get about 30-40% lit, then dump them into your basket. You wont have the temp. drops or the nasty ignition smoke of adding cold charcoal to basket.
  12. Another good idea. Thanks. [​IMG]  I ended up making another one with higher sides, bigger holes on the bottom and a divider in the middle. Haven't tried it yet, maybe this weekend.

  13. flyfishjeep

    flyfishjeep Smoking Fanatic

    I always push the lit coals away from the air intake and then place the unlit coals against them to burn (minion method).  My Chargriller duo pro has been putting out some serious Q after the mods were made.  I have done all the above mention mods and added the fireplace rope around the edges, which really helps. 

    I would take a second look at replacing the factory thermometer.  It may test well, but it may not be accurate across the whole temp range.  If yours works it will be the first one I have hear of.

    Good luck and always post Qview!!!
  14. dan hortert

    dan hortert Newbie

    I have the same unit try using cowboy charcoal usually they sell it at Lowes . It's made from real wood so it burnes about the same  but doesn't last as long but you can add it as needed without needing to start the charcoal in a chimney first . The problem I had when I tried using charcoal was that on a long run the ash started building up in the firebox and started choaking out the air flough  . The cowboy charcoal burnes down next to nothing so this doesn't happen . Also if you stay at 250 no hotter you can dampen a heavy moving blanket and put it over ther smoker section of the unit and it will insulate it , I sometimes do this in the winter . You used to be able to get them at U-hual locations .