Char-Griller Smokin Pro with firebox- Mods

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by mossymo, Oct 22, 2007.

  1. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Jasot217, solid find on the boxes at Lowes.  I don't want to talk about what I spent on the sheet of expanded metal I bought to build my charcoal basket.    

    Here's one to put on your radar because you're going to need to address it soon.  The charcoal grate that comes with the smoker is crap.  It will be warped beyond recognition soon.  I've been using expanded metal (several pics in post #235 on page 12, this thread).  It's worked well.

    And I just noticed in your pics that you haven't punched out the football shape between the cooking chamber and SFB.  I don't know how this will impact things.  I guess if you're getting consistent temps, you're not doing anything horribly wrong.  But it does seem like I read somewhere that having inadequate flow from SFB to cooking chamber can produce problems.  Anyone else that knows this stuff better have any input?

    Also, to address the problem of the paint and primer burning off the SFB and to prevent rust, I've been hitting it with a layer or two of vegetable oil while it's at temp.  I figure if it works to season and protect my dutch ovens, it should work here as well.  Using a spray can is best since one time I did this my SFB was apparently above the flashpoint of canola oil.  My brother thought that was pretty funny.  If I would have been brushing it on by hand, it could have been a problem.  I'm not sure if this is the best solution so if someone else has a better one, I'm interested.
     
  2. You need to knock out the football. You will get better airflow and use a whole lot less fuel.
     
  3. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Sorry, I just noticed these two posts.
     
    I've been happy with the mods.  My two smokes since the mods have both been in cold weather (never warmer than 35 ambient temp).  Some breeze as well.  The walls of the smoker are pretty thin, so I think it doesn't take a lot of wind to pull the heat right out of it.  I'm still working on a way to shield it from the wind.  On calm days, I can usually use the tuning plates and dial it down to have the temps within 10 degrees of each other across the grill.  But when it's breezy, it's not uncommon to see temps pretty inconsistent.  I'm curious to see how it will perform in warmer temps.

    If you're having trouble keeping temps up, I bet a larger charcoal basket will help a ton, especially if you're in colder temps.  My last smoke was in cold, breezy weather.  I think it was around 30 or lower for most of that smoke.  I filled my basket almost all the way full, using a mix of lump and briquettes and wood chunks scattered through the pile.  I got an easy 6 hours out of it, and had another 1, maybe 2 hours left if I needed them.  The one thing you have to be mindful of is that with so much fuel in the SFB waiting to burn (I use the Minion Method as well), you've got to really cut back on airflow or you're going to have a meltdown on your hands soon.  

    What does your wok look like?  In addition to capacity, you might have an airflow problem too if it's solid.  I'm still very much a newbie to smoking, but I'm no stranger to fires in stoves.  You've got to have airflow below them and a place for the ashes to go to avoid stifling out your fire.  This could be part of your problem too, depending on what your wok looks like.
     
    http://assets.smokingmeatforums.com/8/85/859c3480_Permatex_High_Temp_RTV_Silicone.jpeg

    I used this to hold the fiberglass rope on.  I just pushed a thin bead, evened it out with my finger then held the rope on with clamps until it had cured.  The gap is big enough that I don't think I could use this stuff to make a custom gasket.  I also moved it from the bottom to the lid of the cooking chamber.  So far it's holding up just fine.  Way better than the adhesive that came with the rope.

    I've also used it to seal off the seams inside the cooking chamber lid and around the smokestack.  So far it seems to be working like a champ.
     
     
  4. Morman smokes,
    Thanks for the heads up on my assembly oversight. I will attempt to remove this week. Hopefully not too much disassembly will be needed.
    Thanks
    Jason
     
  5. I may be over thinking this, but does it matter was size the diamonds are in the expanded metal and what grade or size it is? Alos' use stainless stee?
     
  6. Big enough so when you shake it all the ashes go down.
     
  7. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    ^^This.^^

    It might be hard to find stainless expanded metal, and if you do it is sure to be expensive.  I don't see any reason to spend money that you don't have to spend.  Just go with regular old steel.  Look for it at Lowes and Home Depot where they keep all their metal.  They usually package it in cardboard, so it winds up looking like an air filter for a home furnace.  And don't let an employee tell you they don't have it without looking first.  Every kid I've asked for expanded metal at HD or Lowes didn't know what it was and told me they didn't have it when they really did.

    Most importantly, wear gloves when you're handling it.  Unless you like stitches.  It'll cut you if you look at it wrong.
     
  8. I had a Lowe's guy say the same thing. "Aww shucks. We don't carry that, Sir." The Lowe's up the road did though.
     
  9. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Earlier in this post, you will find pics where guys used the Char Broil shaker basket, as I did.  Less than $20. I got mine at Lowes, but they are available on the net. Remove the handle and cut off the loops.  Fits my box perfectly.  I cut two pieces of 7/16 rolled steel rod to fit the racks in the fire box.  Run them through the top of the basket on each side and the unit sits on the rails with plenty of space below for ashes to collect.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2012
  10. Did a Boston Butt over the weekend (you can check out my pics). I smoked from 11 pm to 4 pm the next day (did some chicken thighs also). It was windy sat. night 10 - 15 mph, temps around 30-35ish. I went through a bag of apple chunks and 3/4 of pecan (3/4 cu. ft. is the size), and about 9 lbs. of charcoal (lump and Stubbs briquettes). Added some small logs of hickory along the way (I think about 4). Is this normal for this smoker? This seems like a lot of fuel. I tried to keep it between 220-240. My father in law had a old refrigerator shelf, I modified it to fit my fire box, so it is up a lot higher than the "stock" grate that comes with it. 
     
  11. bruno994

    bruno994 Master of the Pit

    Maybe, but in those temps and with the thin walled chambers of the Chargriller, it's probably about right.  Mine is a fuel hog as well.  I smoked a 9.5 # pork shoulder this past Saturday night,  put it on about 6 PM and smoked until 8 AM Sunday.  Used 16# of Kingsford, a few pounds of lump mixed in along with about 6-8 split small logs of mesquite.  Outside temps were between 45-55 degrees, with a light breeze.  This is nornal for a long smoke with me.  I have upgraded my charcoal basket from a stainless wok to an expanded metal box (12 x 12  x 6), it works much better than the wok due to about twice the capacity.  I fill it about halfway full of unlit and then pour a chimney full of lit on top.  Once they get going good, I start feeding my mesquite logs to the fire, about once an hour or so.
     
    Last edited: Feb 7, 2012
  12. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I would say that is about right, especially in those temps.

    It does sound like quite a bit of smoke tho.  Personal preference item.

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  13. alvasin

    alvasin Newbie

    Very large grilling area. You could smoke a whole cow. I smoked a Butt, Brisket, and 2 Chickens the first time out and only used half the grilling surface. The temp was a little hard to control, the main area was hard to get up to the temp I wanted but made a few adjustments and got it to where I wanted it. I suggest filling all the extra holes for attachments that are not used with nuts and bolts to make controlling the Temp easier. Clean up was easy and fast. The meat itself was very tender and tasty and after a few more times I will have worked all the kinks out and expect the meat will be just the way I want it. It was really close the very first time. Used a lot of wood chips due to the extreme heat in the firebox and would advise large chunks of wood. All in all a great purchase for my needs. The 70 people at my office that I treated had no complaints!

    [​IMG]
     
  14. Mine had the flared lip on the exhaust stack as well. What i did was bought a piece of aluminum flashing in the vent area at lowes. I then cut it lengthwise and wrapped it around the pipe and clamped it with a hose clamp. As i tightened the clamp it formed a tight seal. Then i was able to bend it to shap and was able to force the dryer vent over the aluminum, then i clamped that with another hose clamp. I need to find the pics i took when i did this mod. The aluminum piece was only a couple of bucks.
     
  15. thsmormonsmokes

    thsmormonsmokes Smoking Fanatic

    Solid mod idea.  A bit more elegant than my idea of using channel locks, swearing at it a bit and bending the flare back to where the hose will fit over it.  But I'd be cautious about using hose clamps without burning them first.  I think they're typically galvanized.
     
  16. Okay first time post here. I have the Grillin' Pro 3000, not the Smokin Pro but maybe someone can help. I've done many mods to the smoker and the grill. I made an expanded steel charcoal box and sealed around the entire door with stove rope. I made a baffle that connects to the right side of the main chamber angled down to about 4 inches under the grill. I had to do this to clear the burners. Then I made several 4 inch baffles to sit on a couple of rails like in many of the pictures. Then I put gasket material all around the bbq. A smaller one on the front and a larger rope one around the sides and back. There is still a little bit of smoke coming out the sides but none from the front or back. Then I put the 3 inch ducting from the left-most chimney to the front right about 1 inch from the grill, secured with a wingnut. I noticed that the firebox baffle had a small (about 1") gap on each side at the top so, rather than making another one, I just put a thick layer of aluminum foil over the gaps to seal it. I placed a temperature probe in the center of the right side grates and one in the center of the left side grates. During the testing, I placed a pan of water on the furthest right side of the grill. Then I adjusted the baffles to regulate the heat across the grates. I had to push all 3 of them to the right to seal off any opening from the firebox baffle and that left about a 4" opening on the left side. When the firebox came to full heat and things started to level out, I was getting 234 on the left side and 235 on the right! Seemed pretty ideal and this could be maintained for several hours.

    Then I put the meat on. Just a simple test with some pork chops I had. I used my special rub and put them on the grill. I brought the heat back up to around 225 but now I noticed that no matter what I did, the right side of the grill was much hotter than the left (by about 20 degrees)! I made sure the sensor wasn't too close to the meat but I'll be damned if I could never get that 234 and 235 again. It was more like 245 on the firebox side and 225 on the left grill side. No matter what I tried, I could never get them close again. So I guess my question is: How is this possible? Could it be that the meat just made that side of the grill colder? I can't imagine that could be since the pork chops were small. My baffles were still all in place and the seals were pretty tight. Blue smoke was pouring out of the chimney so the air flow was good but the firebox side just stayed 20 degrees hotter when food was on the left side. When the chops were done in a couple of hours, I took them off and closed the damper. Hours later now, there are still coals burning hot in the firebox and the thermometer I installed on the lid still sits at around 500 degrees. The left side of the grill can be touched with my hand but the left side is still pretty hot. I can really feel the difference in heat from one side to the other now.

    Why would this change from perfect temps for hours to 20 degree differences when not a lot of meat was added? The pork chops by the way came out killer but I spent a lot of time doing these mods and want it perfect for smoking. Is this grill (propane) just not capable of smoking like the Smokin Pro? One thing I didn't do is take out flame shields. Maybe I should have done that on the left side but I don't think that would make any difference.  Once it cools off, I will include some pictures of my mods. Any help would be appreciated.
     
  17. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    I can't help you with gas.  I use charcoal.

    One thing I have noticed is that the temps across the grate will be much different based upon the average temp in the smoker.  Hard to explain and make it make sense?  At a 250 average temp, the temp difference from right to left will be higher or lower than when the average temp is 200 or 210.

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  18. Thanks for your reply. The average temp is about in the middle according to the gauge which is actually pretty accurate for an OEM. I wonder if a gas grill with more little holes here and there would cause more problems. I sealed the bottom with foil and the holes for the spit. Do most of the grills do this, even Smokin Pro's?? I guess I can get used to it. It's just that it was so damn accurate without any meat in it and then it was off 20 degrees with meat. Maybe that is no big deal unless I am going to cook a lot of meat which I don't??
     
  19. venture

    venture Smoking Guru OTBS Member

    Mine usually runs at about a 10 degree differential depending on the average temp.

    I don't think 10 or even maybe 20 degrees will kill you as long as you know what is going on in there?  On big smokes, I often put meat at different places on the grate depending on that differential.

    Hang in there, you will get it down, and you will be rewarded for your patience and diligence!

    Good luck and good smoking.
     
  20. Sorry I haven't posted here in a long time. I have the Char-Griller Super-pro w/side fire box. To address the leak of heat/smoke from the back where the top meats the bottom (a good gap in places). I use a piece of 3/8 rope gasket 28" long. I tear of a piece of foil 28.5" long. I lay the rope on the 28.5" edge of foil & roll it----more like try to roll it about 3 or 4 rolls. Don't worry of wadded-up in areas. I then hang the roll off the back of the bottom chamber, with the remaing foil on the inside of the bottom chamber,, so it level with it (so when the top will mash the "roll" when closed) and form the remaining foil along the lip where the grates sit & form  the rest on the inside of the bottom chamber. The grates hold this in place & you can open/close all you want. The foil keeps the rope clean so ypou can re-use the rope over & over...just rplace the foil if you think its too dirty.......

    Now I'm going to read through this thread again.....and try more experiments this coming year ! love this forum.
     

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