temp control in CG Smoker

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Fire Starter
Original poster
Aug 1, 2007
Southern Ca.
Hey all - I've had the CG smokin pro with sfb for about 2 months now and I've had trouble maintaining temp. Today I put the grill grates in the sfb and put the coals on the grate. I also put some foil around the lid to keep the smoke/heat from escaping. It seems to be working. I've kept a constant heat today of 225 for about 2 hours now (i'm doing a couple small pork shoulders - about 2.5 lbs each). Anybody else put the coals on the sfb grate? Is this a bad idea? I'm new at this so I'd appreciate any advice.

The SFB is actually not meant to burn charcaol according to the chargriller website, so if you use the original design you will not get hot enough using charcoal. Many have good luck using the cooking grated to get the fire higher in the box, and keep the ashes clear. I would reccomend using a charcoal basket though. It will allow you to load up more charcoal and burn longer. I can go about 6 hours on one load of fuel in mine.


Thanks for the reply - the picture was helpful. The charcoal basket is a great idea. Where did you get it?

You DO want to place the charcoal on the grate, it allows the ash to fall below, so it doesnt choke out your fire.

Hope your smoke goes well. Keep us posted.
thanks all for the help. it came out good - I had to finish up in the oven though- the temp of the meat stalled out at about 158.
If this was already mentioned, sorry for the dupe, but you also might try lump charcoal, if you are not already. It seems to burn hotter than briquettes. I just toss a couple of handfuls every hour to keep the fire going. I'm burning mine on the original grate with the bends pointed down and I sometimes i have to shut it down completely just to keep the temp from spiking.

Another thing that might help you is a water pan in the cooking chamber. I shove an old paint roller tray (unused, of course) in the cooking chamber with the deep end about 2 inches from the SFB opening. This does 2 things: it keeps the fire in the SFB burning evenly, but more importantly, it evens out the temperature in the cooking chamber.

AKA: Geek with Fire
Josh is right, try lump charcoal next time, it burns hotter, longer, and less ash. Then plop a chunk or two of your favorite wood in the coals.

Putting the charcoal on the grate is a good thing as GoFish stated... it lets the ash fall out. I had to replace my grate... it got twisted, bent and rusted out. Right now, I have an expandable flat grate in there that I lay across the top edges of the ash pan. It works better than the original ever did, but it ain't perfect. I am gonna fab a grate out of expandable metal.
Thanks for all the great info. I'll definitely us lump next time. This site has been a huge help. Does everyone else have trouble with smoke coming out around the edges of the lid on the cg? I would imagine that if the smoke is leaving, the heat probably is too. Is anybody insulating the edge where the lid meets the bottom?
Yes, there is a nice sized gap between the lid and the chamber. I installed a length of 3/4" angle iron along the two sides of the chamber for the lid edge to rest on. It is not a perfect seal, but it helps.
I don't know if this will help, but here's my 2 cents. I use the CG Super Pro w/SFB and have not experienced low temps. I use the original grate, Royal Oak Lump, and Wood "Chunks" not chips. I first line the whole fire box with the chunks, put some un-lit lump in, then lite a chimney of the lump, when lit, dump it on the un-lit lump. Open up the vent and wait for all to be burning. Then add meat and cook. Usually I only add a few pieces of lump at a time along with some wood Chunks. I only re-fuel 3 times on a 6 hour smoke. In the cook side I usually have some drip pans with liquid in them (needs to be boiling prior to adding). If I fell adventurous, I add split wood(like used in a fireplace) in place of the chunks.
Mine gets hot enough that I need to keep the vent closed to just a sliver of an opening and I can maintain 215* - 225*. Hope this helps.
I too didn't have any heat issues this past weekend. I used WGC weekend warrior lump charcoal & it was great!

With the vent opened just a sliver it held between 215 & 230 the entire 6 hours...with only 3 re-fuel's and almost no ash! I use the stock charcoal grate (flipped upside down) and the ash production was super low.
Are you relying on the "stock" themometer? If so, that may be the problem, they're a tad bit less than accurate. Go get two good ones, drill a hole a few inches from grate level about 4-6 inches in from the side and install them there. And use good lump to get it going, then go to real wood, the split type. Your firebox should accomadate 12" - 16" pieces.
yeah, I second that...however, my stock themometer was reading a consistent 25* lower than grate temp...so I guess if you know how off it is, you can use it as a baseline if need be?

I had 2 over themometers inside since I didn't have a chance to drill the holes for the permanent ones.
You know, there are sooo many variables when it comes to temps it's tough to nail down. Like how often do you open it, what's the temp outside, wind, and the list goes on and on.
My stock "junk" has long since departed... It got to the point where it would not register over 150. This is how I fixed that problem:
yeah, i agree...

i opened it at least once an hour to flip/spray with apple juice.

also, it just so happened the wind was blowing right at the side of my sfb, so I'm sure that helped the fire stay hot...there were times where I had the vent closed for 35-45 minutes and it held just fine...
The stock thermometer rarely comes above 150* I have a simple oven thermometer on the grate (which means I have to open the lid to see temp). I need to buy the ones that bolt into the cover at grate level.
I have been smoking with a CG for about six months now and have never used charcoal. I just use hickory or mesquite chunks. I have to keep a close eye on it but don't mind if I have a six pack of Sierra Nevada and some Allman Brothers playing. Am I wrong to smoke this way?
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