Thinking of upgrading from a vertical to a chargriller-smokin pros get in here!

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mr porky, May 28, 2008.

  1. mr porky

    mr porky Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    First off I want to say, my current cabelas-masterbuilt 7n1 smoker produces good results but I've come to the conclusion it lacks in a few areas. I figured it would do just fine before I found out how addicting this all is and that if I want to feed more than me and the missus, its too small. The other main issue I have, is with the relatively small access between the water pan and the coal pan. You basically gotta strip the whole unit down piece by piece to gain enough access to the coal pan to recharge it.

    Needless to say it seems more work than it should be, and there's gotta be a way to make life easier. Soooooo, what I'd like is for those that have a Chargriller Smokin Pro, or a Silver Smoker to chime in. Gimme the good, the bad, and general experiences you've had. In other words, sell me on why this would be better than my current set up. Your input would be appreciated!
  2. watermelonslim

    watermelonslim Meat Mopper

    The Chargriller is definitely bigger and you have easier access to the coal, but I don't know if you will have as long of cook times on a single load of charcoal.

    I usually get about 4 hours per basket (and a basket is about 2 Weber chimneys worth of coal) using the minion method.

    Oh, and you'll need to make some mods too (get a charcoal basket, a dryer vent to extend the smokestack down to grate level, flip the ash pan in the main chamber to use as a baffle).

    Now that I've said all the negatives, I absolutely love my Chargriller. You can throw a lit chimney in the firebox without moving the food- I do this all the time. When my charcoal basket is almost empty, I'll light up another chimney and just pour it in the basket with whats left of the old charcoal. And it holds enough meat to easily feed my family of 4 and several friends with plenty of leftovers.

    It's pretty easy to maintain a temperatire between about 200 and 250 or so. And if you need to get really hot (like 300 or over) you can put a charcoal basket in the main cooking chamber and do the indirect method. The baskets Chargriller sells on their website fit perfectly on the end of the main cooking chamber, so indirect is easy with one or 2 of them.
  3. smokin out the neighbors

    smokin out the neighbors Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I love my CGSP. It's easy to maintain temps after you do some mods, and you can add fuels easily for longer smokes like butts. I have kept it going for 12 hours striaght doing 6 8lb butts
  4. teeotee

    teeotee Smoking Fanatic

    Love mine too ...... I've done most of the mods and one of my own.

    Dawg got it right with what i'd call the most important mods. Basket, dryer vent, baffle. Oh and def get a decent thermometer or two.

    I use mine for grilling also so i don't flip the charcoal pan. I've found a cookie sheet makes a pretty good baffle. Had 5f difference between ends so i can live with that. I've done 12 - 14 hour smokes with no problem. Again as dawg said, just dump in another chimney of lump around every 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Sit back and watch.

    As a grill i love the fact that the grate is split in to 4 parts. Can have real long grilling sessions by moving food around, lifting a grate or two and keep adding charcoal. The grates are a good thickness cast.

    For the price i love it.
  5. kosamson

    kosamson Newbie

    +1 recommendation for the Smokin' Pro--

    My wife bought me one for my birthday a few months ago. Like the other posts, I recommend making a few inexpensive mods. At first, I was frustrated with the CG as far as getting up to and maintaining the temp. The mods have made it a lot better.

    In addition to the dryer duct mod and getting a charcoal basket, I recommend getting one or two decent thermometers and attaching them at grate level. The heat gauge that came with my smoker has been off by as much as 125ºF.

    Anyway, I'm pretty much a beginner to barbecue, but I've turned out some really good food with the CG. They're priced affordably and the mods don't cost much.
  6. watermelonslim

    watermelonslim Meat Mopper

    I actually flip mine for smoking, and flip it back when I grill.

    I forgot to mention the thermometer though. Buying a decent thermometer is a must. The one built into the lid that it comes with is worthless. I have been using the cheap $15 Walmart wireless digital thermometer, but my Stoker came today! I can't to try it out on a long cook.
    I still need to do all the mods to seal it up though...
  7. Great Post Mr. Porky. I"m pretty much in the same situation however I must upgrade as my old ECB is falling apart at the seams after a few years of use. I haven't had time to visit the local BBQ store yet, but i've done a bit of reading and such and im also considering the CGSP, but I like the design of the larger Brinkmann Square Verticle smokers and have read that since the smoke starts on the bottom and goes directly over the meat if you cross the meat on the rack it makes somewhat of a stair case forcing the smoke directly over each piece of meat. Not sure how accurate the info is, but they say the majority of the smoke on a barrell smoker goes to the top of the barrell and then straight out the chimney?

    Here is the one i'm considering.

  8. I have had mine for a little over a year now and the mods I had done prior to this weekend were to extend the stack to the grate and flip the tray. This weekend I added 8 fire bricks that a buddy gave to me. They fit in the bottom of the cooking chamber below the tray, 7 flat and 1 on edge. Made all the difference in the world, preventing the rapid drops when the fire dies down. I burn mostly wood in mine, sticks and splits, just using a chimney of charcoal to start the fire. Good thermometers are a must as the one that came with mine is off +/- 40 degrees and by all accounts it is one of the closer ones.
  9. mr porky

    mr porky Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Thanks for the replies so far. This is what I'm looking to read. Please keep it coming!

    The mods seem fair enough, and noted for when need be. Just got a good thermo for the meat, but one for grate level temps can be had soon as well.

    Thats sounding better already. My current setup seems to go to about 2/3's of that before it can barely maintain 200.

    BTW, Welcome to SMF Kosamson! Stop by Roll call and tell us a bit about yourself[​IMG]
  10. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    I've had mine for a few years now and love it. I'm an odd duck around here as I haven't done most of the mods mentioned, and I still find it to be a great cooker on its own. I will note that the thing eats charcoal for breakfast unless you seal it up a bit.

    Also without the mods or a temperature control system, it's a bit tricky to keep the thing cooking steady, so you'll need to do something.

    If you have the means, I highly recommend it.
  11. Adding the aluminum dryer vent prevents the heat / smoke from escaping out of the top. the dryer vent extends the intake of the chimney to grate level, keeping the heat and smoke where it needs to be, down low... [​IMG]
  12. mr porky

    mr porky Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    After reading input from others in this thread, and seeing how many here have one, I went and got mine.

    Went to Lowes and scored a "super pro" and got the SFB as well. The box says 'new improved easier to assemble.' I'd hate to see the previous way, cause this was somewhat a pain from the get go.

    Get the box opened and unloaded to start getting it together. First pain was I was missing the axle for the wheels. Great, stuck on step 6. No biggie I can work around it. Everything else went along pretty good.

    Minor irritation with the 'super' as it has the wheels (once ya get the parts for it[​IMG] ) on the side where the SFB would go. Instructions seem to stress this. Lo, and behold the picures on the SFB show the wheels on the other side. DOH! Off comes the grill and swung around. Life is good again.

    Now to punch out the football and mount the SFB. This went pretty good, except for one hole which refused to release the slug. A bit of pounding and a quick dose of the drill and it was outta there. A few minor irritations, but other than that seems pretty well built.

    Pretty much done for the day, and will finish putting the racks and adding the dryer duct to the vent. Then time to season and hopefully be ready for some babybacks this weekend.

    Thanks again to everyone for your input. [​IMG]
  13. Ahh ok got it. Thanks for the tips. I should have know there was a "mod" for that. I just found the mod section and it looks great. Do you need to replace the dryer vent often?
  14. Congrats on the new toy Porky! Looks Good. Let us know how it works out for you this weekend.
  15. link

    link Smoking Fanatic SMF Premier Member

    I have the same Smoker (no Mods...Yet) and I love it. I would keep the old one around just for the hell of it. You just never know when you will need a little extra space.
  16. mr porky

    mr porky Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Will do!

    One of the "conditions" for getting another was to sell the "old" one. I still have my trusty gas grill for things that need a quicker prep.
  17. watermelonslim

    watermelonslim Meat Mopper

    LOL, I had the same issue with the wheels.

    I too bought the Smokin' Pro and a seperate Side Fire Box from Lowe's. I followed the instructions, and they were clear on which side the wheels went on. I got done with everything and started seeing pictures where people had the wheels on the other side.

    I thought about taking the chamber off and switching it, but then I just said fork it, it's done.
  18. coyote

    coyote Master of the Pit

    yer funny mr porky...sounds like yer hooked line and sinker.. I think I smell a lang in your
  19. mr porky

    mr porky Meat Mopper SMF Premier Member

    Indeed. I owe plenty to everyone here from their valuable insight to the qview[​IMG] As I said before, I thought my 'old' rig would be big enough for what I figured it would be used for. Until I started using it!

    Just checked the Lang site. I'm gonna need to get really proficient with this and somehow convince the wife.[​IMG] Who knows, maybe if I get good, and have the neighbors coworkers etc placing orders then I can save the proceeds towards one. For now, I think I got a winner, and the missus is still talkin to me[​IMG]
  20. teeotee

    teeotee Smoking Fanatic

    Congrats on the new smoker ........ always a good moment. I'm sure once the q starts rolling she'll be even more happy.
    Unless you're feeding more than 10 - 12 at a time the cgsp will do just fine. If you "need" more space an ecb is only $30.00 [​IMG]. Or some of the vert propanes aren't too pricey either.

    Look forward to the first qview

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