Char-Griller Smokin Pro - Using without Mods

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by flyfish, May 29, 2014.

  1. flyfish

    flyfish Fire Starter

    Just wanted to provide what I did with the smoker on my last smoke that turned out really good with no real modifications.  Hoping to pay back a little for all the help I have gotten.  Wish I would have taken pictures and hope I described this in enough detail. 

    My first smoke was a disaster.  Food came out ok eventually but had to finish in the oven.  Couldn't maintain temps, went through a bag an 1/2 of charcoal.....

    Did a lot of reading and this is what I did with no purchase or mods:

    Flipped the charcoal pan upside down and hung at the highest level.  This formed a barrier from the heat blasting out of the SFB and really distributed it evenly across the main body.  I put aluminum foil on top of the charcoal pan to make it easier to clean up.  Also put some aluminum foil where the SFB meets the main body about 1 ft long and tucked it over the side and below the right grate on top of  charcoal pan.  This I thought would keep the heat down and not blast up the right side.  Temps measured even between the right and left sides of the grates in the front of the main body.

    I had a huge issue with not being able to keep the temps up on my last smoke, mainly due to the coals being choked out.  This time I built the fire on top of the cast iron grates.  Bought a chimney to start the charcoal (was using lighter fluid since that's what my dad always did) and put one unlit chimney and dumped a lit chimney on top of that.  When the coals were all lit, I closed down the SFB vent to about 1/4 open and kept the chimney vent wide open.  After about 1 1/2 hours, added another chimney of lit coals and did so about another 1 1/2 in.  Total use about 4 chimneys, a lot less than the first time.  Used just Kingsford charcoal and some apple trimmings for smoke.  The SFB got pretty hot and burned a lot of the paint off the top.  Had to also dump the ash tray about 1/2 way through (3.5 hrs) to make sure there was good air flow.

    The main body leaked pretty good so I just folded up aluminum foil and stuffed it along the back.  Will try and seal this up better, since every time I opened the lid it fell out.

    The stock thermometer read the same as a cheap oven thermometer at grill level and maintained 220-225 with no issues.  I'm sure this won't last and a digital is on the horizon.

    I am planning on cutting the grate that came with the grill to place the charcoal on in half an putting it at the front of the SFB on top of the grates to prevent coals from falling out when dumping them in.  It got warped pretty good from my first cook so it is either that or pitch it.

    Hope this helps someone out there.
  2. I also use the char griller with only aluminum foil with no problem. After a few hours I take the charcoal pan and place on the lip above the sfb door. This seems to help some what. I have used the grates and lost paint just like yours. I'm going to try to build a charcoal bin instead. Good luck with CG.
  3. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    If you check the threads, the mods to this unit over the years have been endless.

    All I have done is to suspend a coal basket in the SFB and extend the chimney down to grate level.

    Rather than flipping the pit fire pan, I put a mini loaf pan of water in the pit where the pit and the SFB join.

    I should add that I use disposable aluminum drip pans for eaiser cleanup, and they do help in controlling air flow and heat distribution. The drip pans probably equal about 50 to 75% of the grate area. I change the pans every two or three smokes, depending on the accumulation of drippings.

    My temp differential across the grate runs a pretty consistent 5 to 10 degrees, which is quite acceptable.

    Adding fuel is about every 1 1/2 to 2 hours depending on ambients.  I could go longer if using briquettes, but I prefer lump for smokes.

    If your stock therm is correct, you are quite lucky.  Mine reads a good 70 degrees cooler than the actual pit temp as measured with a remote digital probe.

    Good luck and good smoking.
    Last edited: May 29, 2014
  4. flyfish

    flyfish Fire Starter

    Thanks for the tips.  Great site and tons of info.  Will keep playing and tweeking things. 
  5. Some random thoughts on the Smokin' Pro and mods.  I did lot of reading, including great info here, and had an epiphany - so I bought a Char Griller  Side Fire Box. I also decided it needed a few mods first raising the inside  and thus the grates by 1 1/2 inches, added a couple of removable heat deflectors, and food safe RTYV to seal it (lesson from first smoke and the aluminum foil plugs:) so I have a nice looking small smoker with room for a water pan and a chip box. It actually makes a great little smoker, but the "little" part meant  I needed something larger, and I found a used SP.  I also have a neighbor pretty much burned out his SFB trying to use it for the main heat source. Reading about all the mods, that seems to be ac  common thread - using heat shields/deflectors/diverters to use the FSB as the main heat source when that IMHO is not necessary.  My plan is to use the FSB as just my source of smoke, and the adjustable grates in the main body for the cooking heat source. I will also be using the RTV sealing  to reduce leaks - or more correctly importantly, uncontrollable air sources which can thro off my temp adjustments with the vent and stack. The smoke diverter tube also seems like a good idea, so will add that. Plus some decent sized wheels  from a furniture dolly  to make it easier to move. At this point, until I actually sue it and learn its quirks and the heat source height vs air adjustments, that is about all I can see  IMHO being necessary, which means in the somewhat near future I will update this with the results.

    Another random comment - Not sure there is that big an issue as far as and smoker mounted thermometer. I figure after using it and seeing what it says my grill temps are, and using an instant read for t he meat, I can just infer  the actual grill temp from experience. I also did use a grill top thermometer with the grill level thermometer, and they were close enough to get a good quality final product, so now I use the little grill topper on the gas grill which came with no thermometer at all.

    Look forward to y'all experts constructive comments.......................
    Last edited: Jul 20, 2014

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