Having a hard time getting to 225F

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by chitownbbq, Jul 10, 2008.

  1. chitownbbq

    chitownbbq Newbie

    Ok, so first off, I have a Char Griller Smokin Pro, with firebox, no mods. Yes I did remove the football shaped piece of metal from the smokebox. My problem is I'm having a hard time getting the temp to 225. First smoke I did ribs, and had no major problems. The heat did run out a bit too early (I was expecting every hour, turned into every 45 minutes), but I managed that without much problem. Second smoke it only got above 200 once.

    What I did differently....first smoke was 2 slabs of babybacks and 4 ears of corn. Second was a couple fatties, a couple chicken breasts, and 6 snicker apples. The first time the apple cider in the water pan boiled off and ran out completely (I only started with a half bottle), so the second time around I used water and kept it full. Air temp was pretty much the same both times, if not hotter the second time around.

    I'm using lump charcoal, Royal Oak brand, started in a chimney starter. Hickory chunks for smoke (not sure if that matters at all). And I am using the factory temp gauge...so I suppose it's possible that it's not accurate.

    Any ideas? I'll be smoking again this weekend, so I won't have time for any mods. Plus I use this for grilling too so I don't want to completely change it around. I am thinking about extending the chimney down to grate level in the near future, as well as sealing up any leaks. Can't spend a ton of money either... all this food and fuel aint cheap ya know. lol
  2. bbq addict

    bbq addict Smoke Blower

    A new thermometer and lowering the chimney, sounds like you're on the right track...try kck.com for the therm.
  3. cinnamonkc

    cinnamonkc Smoking Fanatic OTBS Member

    I would extend the chimney even if you use an empty can for now.
    I would also not rely on the factory temp guage, mine is consistently off 50 degrees or more.

    If you're still not achieving temps and can't do mods before the weekend, add more charcoal...
    I have not had any problems reaching temp, if anything I had to learn to keep it down.

    I'll be interested to hear if it's the temp guage...
  4. teeotee

    teeotee Smoking Fanatic

    Understand the food and fuel thing [​IMG] .

    I'm thinking it's very probable the factory therm isn't accurate [​IMG]. A good digi therm (or two) is a must. Wally world does one for $15 (mixed reivews in here about them), Lowes now has a Taylor remote therm for &20.00. Add a couple of dial therms at grate level too. Home depot do some for around $8.00.
    Extending the stack down will help with heat retention. I did seal mine up around the smoke chamber and that helped a lot with holding heat. Had to re-learn how to use it.

    Good luck with future smokes.
  5. geek with fire

    geek with fire Master of the Pit OTBS Member

    As Rob mentioned, most likely you are going by the stock temp gage, which is a piece of garbage; just ignore it. You'll need something to get smoker temp, though, and a cheap digital probe will work fine; something in the $15-$20 range from Wallyworld or Lowes is your best bet.

    Also, of you do nothing else, buy the $8 dryer vent and extend the stack down. It will run much more stable and more efficient.

    Finally, you need to do something in your firebox to get the charcoal grate higher. You can build a basket, but you mentioned you didn't want to spend much. That being the case, at least stick something like a couple large rocks under the grate to lift it up. If you don't, ash buildup will smother your fire, and you will have greif.

    Hope this helps.

    ON EDIT: Looks like KC, TEE, and me have formed some sort of Mega Brain.....3 nearly exact posts in less than a couple of minutes of each other........carefull all....you will be assimilated....resistance is futile!
  6. fireguy

    fireguy Smoking Fanatic

    what every one else said about the thermo.... the one that came on my cgsp is bout 100 deg off...

    I had the same prob when I started with mine not gettting over 225... even with a good thermo...added a coal basket and never had that prob again...coals need more O2 under or on the side, than over them. Good luck.
  7. ibsmoking

    ibsmoking Smoke Blower

    One thing that I do is fill my firebox with two or three chimney of unlit charcoal Lump, keep it away from the air vent so you will have a good air supply. Also did anyone say to open the chimney vent wide open and firebox wide open should get about 3hr with that.
  8. jbchoice1

    jbchoice1 Smoking Fanatic

    fireguy has it nailed. coals need air from the bottom
  9. meowey

    meowey Master of the Pit OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    The stock thermo in my CharGriller is off by over 50°. I measure my temps with a digital probe thermo clipped to the grates.

    You can see the thermo in the lower right corner of the pic.

    Hope this helps!

    Take care, have fun, and do good!


  10. chitownbbq

    chitownbbq Newbie

    I think I'll need to make a trip to the hardware store this weekend, haha. I'll let you all know if it works. For all I know I could have been at the right temp all along and the factory therm is wrong.

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