CG Super Pro Temp issue

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by marty catka, Jan 26, 2010.

  1. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    OK, did two butts over the weekend. When I get a chance to get on the home computer pics will follow. The point here is that with 35 degree weather it still took me two hours to get my Super Pro (with mods) up to temp. Using Royal Oak lump for fuel with small pieces of oak (roughly 1 inch diameter, 3-4 inches long) dispersed throughout. Temps dropped to between 200 and 220 once meat went on. Struggled all day until I decided to add some Kingsford briquettes I had on hand after I went through a large bag of Royal Oak. Took almost 16 hours to complete and that was with finishing in a 240 degree oven!
    Now I used to work in large power houses. Everything got preheated. Combustion air gets preheated by the waste gas going to the stack. Feedwater gets preheated by the flue gas on its way to the stack. Feedwater also gets preheated by steam after use on turbines. Even the coal is heated to about 140 degrees as it is ground up in the pulverizers before going to the furnace. The $64,000 question is: Has anyone tried to raise the temperature of the combustion air before it gets to firebox for cold weather smoking? I had a "vision" of bringing some ducting material that would run from the end of the smoke chamber by the side shelf, under the smoke chamber, under or behind the firebox and turn the corner to the air inlet. By doing this you would raise the temoerature of the combustion air thereby raising the temperature of the burnt gases going thru the smoker.

    What are the thoughts out there? I am no tinknocker or metalsmith, but I think the idea has merit.
  2. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Not sure about the pre-heating idea on the air... but suppose you could jury rig a cheap test with some dyer tubing?

    Also keep in mind the Char-Griller usually does not get much hotter than 250°, and wind is your main enemy -any wind. I found by using a mix of 50-50 lump & briquets I can usually run my Smokin Pro at 225-250 fairly steady - and I have the shaker basket from Lowes.

    One other thing I have seen crop up from time to time is to toss a welding blanket over your main chamber to help retain the heat better.
  3. deltadude

    deltadude Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    Marty Catka, thats some nice thinking... The simple way, move your smoker into the warm garage and duct out the exhaust. A lot of homes that have attached garages have a furnace in the garage. I have cut into the plenum box, cut a new outlet and run a short duct run. We did this for our weekend poker games during the winter, we would have two poker tables and 20 people in that garage, but it was comfortable.

    Another way would be to create a exhaust heat exchanger, really not practical unless you happen to have a lot of free stuff lying around and either have shop or friend with a sheetmetal shop owner. A test rig could be made with some moving boxes and a electric heater, see if makes that much of a difference.
  4. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    After reading about the guy burning down his shed.... not sure if I would do the garage thing.... but that's just me.

    One idea if you wanted to pre-heat your air. Figure out a way to attach heavy duty dryer ductint to your intake vent on the firebox. Then bend it back and run it under and agains the main body of the smoker. The heat from the smoker would then heat the intake pipe and pre-heat your air.
  5. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    Great idea from a conceptual standpoint. But.... odds are that if you want to use pre-heated air that way, you'd need a fan assist. The draw of a smoldering coal bed in a small smoker just won't be enough to pull air through a few feet of duct. Then you'd have to find a way to move the exhaust next to that intake long enough for significant heat exchange to occur.

    There just isn't enough power generated by one of these smokers. But I could be wrong... try it anyway, and report the results!
  6. danmcg

    danmcg Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I like the idea, I think it would be worth a try.
  7. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    Yeah... not sure how it would actually work with the draw. If the rest of the smoker is sealed up real well, then it should have a good draw, but as most of us with Char-Grillers know.... they leak like a sive. [​IMG]

    A fan would increase air flow, but I think the air would then be moving to fast to pick up any significant heat before it hit the firebox. But if you can find the thread that Geek with Fire did, he has a bolt on fan for the CG firebox that super heats the coals by faning them. No ductwork needed, just a fan to kick on when you want to up the temps.
  8. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

  9. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Please forgive me. Having problems with photobucket. Kicks me off net everytime I try to go to the site. Let me try an attachment.
  10. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Getting back to air preheater concept. You would only need to raise the temp to about 65-70 degrees F. And a low speed fan would not be a bad idea either. BBQ Guru and Stoker use the same concept. Heck, I even had a small blower my dad used to start his BBQ up with. I think my biggest issue was the fuel though. Low air temps didn't help, but I had a lot of small pieces in the lump (RO) I was using. Hindered airflow through the fuel itself.
  11. marty catka

    marty catka Meat Mopper

    Space blankets again.
  12. jirodriguez

    jirodriguez Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    LOL... looks like an old 50's Sci-Fi special effects.... "The Smoker from Planet 9!"

    I have been kickin an idea around to make a fited cover for my chargriller, just have to work out how to make it removeable for cleaning and what not.
  13. warthog

    warthog Smoking Fanatic

    Welders blankets will also work.

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