Smoke Box & Heat

Discussion in 'Charcoal Smokers' started by dadsjoy, May 5, 2010.

  1. I have a Char-Griller with smoke box. All my smoking has been small portions for the family. So I have just used indirect heat in the main chamber, using 1 - 2 chimneys of characoal and soaked chips applied right to coals.I have never used my smoke box. This summer we are having a family reunion and they want a BBQ. So I am wondering if I can get enough heat out the smoke box, so I can use my full grilling surface. I have bought about50lbs of hickory logs.Can I just burn the logs in the smoke box and will that provide enough heat, should I soak any of the logs, or use a combination of logs and coals? Any advise would be appreciated. I am doing a trial run this weekend.[​IMG]
  2. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    I've never used logs in my CG although according to the manufacturer it is designed to be a stick burner. I use charcoal with a few wood chunks mixed in and have never had problems getting up to & maintaining temps.

    I use a basket in the SFB to help hold the charcoal closer together & to allow for dumping of ash during a long smoke to keep good airflow. I use a shaker basket made by Charbroil & sold at Lowes. It fits in the SFB & hold enough charcoal to get steady 225-250 temps. You need to suspend the basket high enough to allow the ash drawer to be pulled out underneath without disturbing the basket. Stainless steel bolts, angle iron or an old grill grate (what I use) all can be used to hold the basket at the proper height. If you search the forums for CGs you will probably find several threads with pics on how baskets are used.

    You could also start a base fire with charcoal & use your wood as fuel during the cook. There may be some here who burn mostly sticks in a CG who can give you better answers. Charcoal may be easier & provide more stable temps than wood for your first run using the SFB.
  3. richoso1

    richoso1 Smoking Guru OTBS Member SMF Premier Member

    I'm sure you'll get some more good feedback on your question. I moved your thread to charcoal smokers in the hopes of you getting more replies. It's all good my friend.
  4. In my CG w/ SFB, using charcoal only (kingsford standard), I can only get my temps up to just a tad over 200 degrees.

    For higher temps, I use 2 to 3 sticks of pecan or hickory on top of one full chimney of burning charcoal. That way, I can adjust it with airflow to get just about any temp I need.

    Hope that helps?
  5. barbqjim

    barbqjim Fire Starter

    Don't rely too heavily on the themometer on the lid. My CG W/SFB will say 200 on the lid and be 275 -300 at the grill surface.
  6. Heck no, I have two calibrated thermos installed at each end at grate level. I use the factory-installed thermo for an apron hanger....
  7. caveman

    caveman Master of the Pit SMF Premier Member

    I have a Char Griller as well. Now, I have had to fight my smokes, tooth & nail. Smokers like Olewarthog always made me jealous when then talk about how their model performed. [​IMG] I think my model was dropped on it's head when it was a baby. Having said all of that, here is my $0.02 for what it is worth, regarding "Only My Experiences Alone with My Model." I really don't belive the recovery time for temps on this model is good. When you open that chamber, you let out all of your hard earned temp. Looking is not cooking, so only check / peek / look when necessary & be quick about it. Use themo's for everything if you can, especially for monitoring that temp at the grill level. If you don't have your warming rack installed, use the hole on the side for the probe. I like it better as it saves on crimping the cable on your probe. And plug any leakage of potential smoke & heat escaping out of the back with foil inside the chamber along the entire length of the smoker. Keep that top vent open & throw in some lump for extra heat temp bursts, if necessary. Like Warthog stated, I haven't used mine as a stick burner, ever. Coal & lump should get you through as long as your fire is not choked out by the ash.

    Now, I am not discounting Warthog's comments. I am adding my own experiences to the excellent points he made. (I think Warthog should have traded his smoker with me. Then I would've been happier with mine.)

    +2. What he said, twice.
  8. coyote-1

    coyote-1 Smoking Fanatic

    The CharGriller's performance is directly related to ambient conditions.

    70 degrees, no wind? Has no trouble retaining heat.
    30 degrees, windy? Different game. You can still be successful, but it takes more thought and effort.

    You're coming into late spring-summer at this point. You should be able to get the smoke chamber to hold pretty steady 250 or higher on most days.

    I also burn logs - actually, split logs. It does this quite well.
  9. I would like to thank everyone for the reply's and the tips, a special thanks to oleworthog for doing a search of CG. This is a great site and I am already learning more than I new. Again thanks to all who have replied.
  10. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    I will admit that the south GA climate has a lot to do with my success at holding temps. I also have my smoker in an area that is protected from the wind. Even moderate wind can severely effect temps in the CG. If you cannot protect your smoker from the wind, be sure to turn it so the wind is blowing towards the side vent on the SFB. Even then you can get some blow back thru the stack. Even as protected as mine is from wind, I have on occasion had to fashion a stack deflector out of foil. A lot of people with CGs will cover the main chamber with old blankets, sleeping bags, etc when cooking in temps below 50.

    I have found two things have really helped me with temp issues. First using a basket for my fuel source & having it high enough so the air is drawn up & thru the fire instead of blowing across the top of it. The second is using foil gaskets to seal small gaps around the MC, SFB lid & ash drawer.
  11. Hi Dadsjoy,

    I have a CG w/ sfb too, and I've never tried using only wood as the fuel. I usually go with 1.5 chimney's of charcoal to make a base, and then use a mix of wood and coal going forward.

    I think if you used only wood, it would work just fine, but you'd have to turn the charcoal trough in the main chamber upside down and use it as a baffle to deflect the head coming out of the sfb.

    If you give it a try, let us know how it goes!

  12. Hey there SmokeyDrewsky, thanks for the heads up. I have been on a thread the last two days at work and got some great ideas.Thank god my boss likes the BBQ I bring in on Mondays, or I would probably be out of a job. I read about using an old cookie sheet as a baffle, I am going to try that out first. I have the slotted vent between the SFB and main chamber, I was wondering if I should knock that out so it is just an open whole, what ya think?
  13. Well after reading so many great and informative posts, I am going to make some mods to my CG , just small at first. I am going to try and make a baffle out of and old cookie sheet and I will also put the dryer vent hose on my smoke stack. Baby steps as they say. We will see how it goes, I am going to smoke up 6 slabs of spareribs on Sunday.
  14. Hi Dadsjoy, I was offline all weekend. How'd the spares go? Got any qview?
    I like the idea of a vented opening between the sfb and main chamber. With that, you may not need to work as hard to baffle the heat.
  15. olewarthog

    olewarthog Meat Mopper

    Yes, you should have a football shaped opening between the main chamber & the SFB. The football knockout on the main chamber can be tough to remove. A lot of folks have used dremels to cut the spot welds, etc. I used a chisel & a pair of channel locks to work the knockout free.

    I use the charcoal tray flipped upside down as my baffle. An old cookie sheet would work. I have even used disposable oven liners as baffles. They are cheap & can be cut to size easily

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