Proper fuel for sidebox smoking with a Chargriller sidebox 2424

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by maestrojed, Aug 4, 2013.

  1. maestrojed

    maestrojed Newbie

    I am new to smoking and am really impressed with all the information I have found here. Looks like a great community.

    I put a sidebox on my Chargriller pro. I haven't taken pictures yet but this thread has some nice photos, my set up is similar.

    Also, I have not completed all of these  mods but I have read them, done some, and plan on most of them.

    What I wanted to discuss here is the fuel. The fire. What do people typically use? Charcoal briquettes with wood chips? Actual split wood, something else?

    I have only done a dry run so far. I used Kingsford hickory briquettes and every now and than threw soaked hickory chips directly on the coals. I kept adding briquettes from time to time to keep the fire going. I noticed decent temperature control but it seems like very little smoke. When I add the chips, they smoke but burn very quickly. I think if I tried this again I would try putting the chips in aluminum foil pouches.

    But I would like to know what you all would do? What would you use for fuel in a sidebox setup?


  2. Hello and welcome to SMF! 

    I see this is your first post, so would you mind dropping by Roll Call  and introduce yourself so we can give you a proper SMF welcome!

    I have an electric smoker and a propane smoker, so I really can't help you with the particulars of what to use in yours. I will say that instead of chips, you might try some chunks of wood in your side fire box. 

    Hopefully someone with more experience will come along and give you a better answer.
  3. cliffcarter

    cliffcarter Master of the Pit Group Lead OTBS Member

    I use lump charcoal to start my fire and the switch to wood splits when I put the meat on.

    The wood splits on the left in the fire box are warming up so the will flame more quickly and minimize excess smoke-

    I generally cook at temps ranging from 240° to 300° depending on what I am cooking and add wood when the temps head down toward the low end of the range I want.

    Lump charcoal is probably the preferred fuel for most who use the fire box, when I cook with lump I use 1 1/2 to 2 fully lit chimneys of charcoal placed in the FB, I keep the intake vents open until I overshoot the high end of the temp range I want then I close the intake vent fully. The cook temp will settle back to the cooking temp and maintain for 60-90 minutes. YMMV.

    I strongly suggest that you switch from briquettes to lump charcoal because briquettes produce a lot of ash, especially on long cooks, and make maintaining proper cooking temps difficult.

    You should also switch from wood chips to wood chunks, soaking is not necessary(and really doesn't work unless you soak for days)
  4. I 2/3s fill my minion basket with Ozark Oak lump, then use a 3/4 full chimney of the Kingsford Blue to get everything going. The basket sits toward the intake side of the box and my chunk wood goes between the basket and the outlet to the cook chamber for heat and my desired smoke profile. I will periodically add small amounts of OO lump and chunk wood to keep temps up. The chunk wood I lay on the top of the firebox to warm it up before adding to the pit to minimize smoldering/creosote.

    Here's a pic of it running the OO (right) and citrus chunk (left, flaming) yesterday. Notice the flames 'leaning in' to the cook chamber inlet. That's a sign of good draw:

    I am of the opinion that the TMLE has a slightly too small side FB for the volume of the cook chamber, so briquets/lump just can't cut it for long smokes. Not sure if the Char-Griller has this issue.
    Last edited: Aug 5, 2013

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